Barack Obama is the first president of the democracy that John Adams warned us about.
Democracy never lasts long,” Adams famously said. “It soon wastes, exhausts and murders itself…”
…[T]he United States is not going to fall for a strongman government. Instead of delegating power to a would-be president-for-life, we delegate it to a bureaucracy-without-death. You do not need to install a dictator when you’ve already had a politically supercharged permanent bureaucracy in place for 40 years or more…Barack Obama isn’t the leader of the free world; he’s the front man for the permanent bureaucracy, the smiley-face mask hiding the pitiless yawning maw of total politics…
Congress’s supine ceding of its powers, and the Obama administration’s usurpation of both legal and extralegal powers, is worrisome. But what is particularly disturbing is the quiet, polite, workaday manner with which the administration goes about its business — and with which the American public accepts it. As Christopher Hitchens once put it, “The essence of tyranny is not iron law; it is capricious law.”
And please pay particular attention to this last paragraph:
Barack Obama’s administration is unmoored from the institutions that have long kept the imperial tendencies of the American presidency in check. That is partly the fault of Congress, which has punted too many of its legislative responsibilities to the president’s army of faceless regulators, but it is in no small part the result of an intentional strategy on the part of the administration. He has spent the past five years methodically testing the limits of what he can get away with, like one of those crafty velociraptors testing the electric fence in Jurassic Park. Barack Obama is a Harvard Law graduate, and he knows that he cannot make recess appointments when Congress is not in recess. He knows that his HHS is promulgating regulations that conflict with federal statutes. He knows that he is not constitutionally empowered to pick and choose which laws will be enforced. This is a might-makes-right presidency, and if Barack Obama has been from time to time muddled and contradictory, he has been clear on the point that he has no intention of being limited by something so trivial as the law.
There is a fascination with what Obama has done because it is so strangely audacious and yet it seems to evaporate almost as soon as it occurs, at least in the mind of the majority of the American public. His genius is to do outrageous things so disarmingly they seem to have put the public to sleep. Or maybe the public was already lulled to sleep by a combination of mass media, education unworthy of the name, and the distraction of vapid and often offensive entertainment.
I’ve described it, thousands of other pundits and bloggers and commenters on the right have described it, and yet description will not rescue this country, although description/understanding is a necessary first step. And the IRS abuses were a dramatic wakeup call in the power of the “liberal” bureaucracy to stifle actual liberty. “Phony” scandal, indeed.