Can Obama Sink Any Lower?
by Chip Wood
Did you listen to Barack Obama’s State of the Union speech on Tuesday night? It was amazing to hear him tell Congress that he was going to do whatever was necessary to circumvent them — and to see them leap to their feet and applaud him for saying so.
That’s right. The Democrats in Congress actually cheered the President when he said he wasn’t going to wait for them to pass legislation. He’s ready to proceed without them. Here is how our imperial leader put it: “But America does not stand still – and neither will I. So wherever and whenever I can take steps without legislation to expand opportunity for more American families, that’s what I’m going to do.”
Watch for yourself. He makes that comment at the 0:07:32 mark.
The threat of unilateral action didn’t take anyone by surprise. White House officials had been promising for days that this would be an important part of El Presidente’s remarks.
Obama didn’t waste any time putting his threat into action. He’s been badgering Congress for months to raise the minimum wage. He wants it increased from $7.25 an hour to $10.10. He doesn’t seem to know — or care — that ordering businesses to give low-wage earners a 39 percent increase in pay might cause some of them to fire some workers. After all, the more something costs, the less of it you get. And that definitely includes jobs.
In most cases, the President can’t just order a business to pay its employees more. But there is one area where he can: those with federal contracts. In his speech, he said he was going to order all such firms to increase the minimum wage for their employees to $10.10. And he urged other businesses to do the same thing voluntarily, before they are required to do so by law.
All of this was too much even for some Democrats. Alaska Senator Mark Begich told CNN: “You have to be very careful of how far you extend those executive powers. … I would encourage the President to work with us, not just have a slew of executive orders, because I think that’s going to upset the balance and also create a lot of controversy not just from Republicans, but some of us that are much more moderate and view this careful balance that we have a role here. … If they go too far, you’ll clearly hear push back from me. There’s no question about it.”
Begich joined a growing list of Democrats who said he had no interest in having Obama campaign for him in the coming elections. And no wonder. Back in 2008, when Begich first won his Senate seat, Obama lost Alaska by 22 points. Clearly, the President is not the most popular guy in the State.
As you’d expect, the harshest criticism of Obama’s arrogant posturing came from Republicans. Representative Steve King (R-Iowa) said on CNN’s “New Day”: “This threat that the president is going to run the government with an ink pen and executive orders, we’ve never had a president with that level of audacity and that level of contempt for his own oath of office.”
Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) was even more blunt. In an op-ed piece in The Wall Street Journal the day after Obama’s State of the Union speech, the Tea Party favorite declared: “Of all the troubling aspects of the Obama presidency, none is more dangerous than the president’s persistent pattern of lawlessness, his willingness to disregard the written law and instead enforce his own policies via executive fiat.”
No surprise that the No. 1 example of Obama’s cavalier attitude toward the law is Obamacare. Cruz wrote: “There is no example of lawlessness more egregious than the enforcement–or nonenforcement–of the president’s signature policy, the Affordable Care Act. Mr. Obama has repeatedly declared that ‘it’s the law of the land.’ Yet he has repeatedly violated ObamaCare’s statutory text.”
Cruz listed several other examples of Obama’s abuse power: “When Mr. Obama disagreed with federal immigration laws, he instructed the Justice Department to cease enforcing the laws. He did the same thing with federal welfare law, drug laws and the federal Defense of Marriage Act.”
Cruz pointed out that “11 state attorneys general recently wrote a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius saying that the continuing changes to ObamaCare are ’flatly illegal under federal constitutional and statutory law.’”
In their letter, the attorneys general wrote that “the only way to fix this problem-ridden law is to enact changes lawfully: through Congressional action.” Don’t hold your breath waiting for anyone in the White House to agree with that.
So how can we put the brakes on this imperial President? Clearly, so long as the Democrats hold a majority in the U.S. Senate, there isn’t a chance of getting remedial legislation passed. Heck, as long as the petty and vindictive Harry Reid (D-Nev.) serves as Majority Leader, such legislation won’t even be allowed to be brought up for a vote.
Hopefully, this unhappy situation can change this November, when Republicans have a chance to win control of the Senate. That will depend on getting decent candidates, getting them adequately funded and then making sure that they focus on the right issues.
According to the latest Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll, there is no question what the key issues are … and aren’t. When asked what should be an “absolute priority” for the President and Congress this year, the top two issues, by a wide margin, were creating jobs and reducing the deficit.
And what topics were down at the bottom of the public’s wish list? Again, I don’t think you’ll be surprised. In descending order, they included reducing income inequality, passing new immigration legislation, and addressing climate change.
Needless to say, Barack Obama gave a shout-out to all three in his State of the Union address.
No wonder the same poll said that 51 percent of Americans disapprove of Obama’s job performance, while only 43 percent approve. An even larger number, 63 percent, say that the U.S. is “off on the wrong track.” And almost as many say they are uncertain, worried or pessimistic about the chances that Obama will do a good job in the remainder of his Presidency.
For once, I find myself agreeing with the majority — although “uncertain, worried or pessimistic” isn’t nearly strong enough. During the remainder of his Presidency, I am absolutely certain that Obama will do everything he can to expand government, increase spending and push this country even further to the left.
The rest of the President’s address was pretty much a tired rehashing of prior failed policies. If you didn’t listen to it, you didn’t miss much. He even put closing the prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, back on his to-do list.
Obama did toss in a few lines that would appeal to conservatives, such as cutting the bureaucracy and reducing the deficit. They not only sounded like something a Republican would say, but a former speech writer for George W. Bush says they were. Marc Thiessen, who was the lead writer on Bush’s 2007 State of the Union address, told Fox News’s Megyn Kelly that parts of Obama’s speech were eerily similar to what he wrote seven years ago.
“So Barack Obama has gone from blaming George W. Bush to plagiarizing George W. Bush,” he said.
So an increasingly unpopular President continues to push increasingly unpopular policies. Is anyone surprised?
Until next time, keep some powder dry.