|Obama's Lawlessness Fuels Civil Disobedience and Record Government Distrust|
By Timothy H. Lee
Thursday, January 14 2016
If Barack Obama refuses to follow the rule of law, how can he expect others to do so?
That's a disturbing but perfectly legitimate question to raise as each day witnesses another scheme by the Obama Administration to circumvent established laws and constitutional mandates, and as an increasing sense of lawless chaos prevails both domestically and abroad.
Just how bad has the situation become? Two new Gallup surveys cast a worrisome scene.
When asked to name the nation's greatest threat as we enter the 2016 presidential election year, Americans by a record margin overwhelmingly say "big government." Particularly notable is the fact that the percentage of respondents holding that position has skyrocketed from 53% when Barack Obama entered office to 69% today. Thus, the man who so desperately endeavored to reverse Ronald Reagan's legacy by convincing Americans to welcome governmental power over our lives has ironically accomplished the direct opposite effect through his actions.
In a related but separate new survey, Gallup also finds that a record 75% of Americans believe that corruption is "widespread" in the U.S. government:
"A staggering 75% of the American public believe corruption is 'widespread' in the U.S. government. Not incompetence, but corruption. This alarming figure has held steady since 2010, up from 66% in 2009... Protests are growing in cities and campuses all around the country. Students and citizens have generally lost faith in their national institutions - the biggest and most powerful of which is, of course, the federal government. The last presidential election had an estimated 5 million fewer voters than turned out in 2008, and the 2014 midterm elections saw the lowest turnout in 72 years (36.3%). At alarming levels, citizens - when invited to participate directly in their own democracy - are taking a pass and staying home. Or taking their frustrations to the streets.
"The perception that there's widespread corruption in the national government could be a symptom of citizen disengagement and anger. Or it could be a cause - we don't know. But it's very possible this is a big, dark cloud that hangs over this country's progress."
One needn't search far for the proximate cause of that alarming record level of public distrust and hostility.
When Obama entered office, he possessed an overwhelming majority in the House of Representatives, and a filibuster-proof Senate majority. Accordingly, he could have introduced any among his litany of extremist proposals on whatever issues he wanted - climate change, labor unions, gun control, immigration, closing of Guantanamo, treaties with Iran or anything else.
But he didn't.
Only when his own actions created a backlash and caused Americans to elect Republican House and Senate majorities not seen since the 1920s did Obama miraculously find it appropriate to begin imposing his agenda by extra-constitutional means.
Obama's behavior toward Iran provides a perfect and particularly dishonorable recent example, when he sculpted his capitulation in the form of an executive agreement because it became clear that he could not muster anything close to a two-thirds Senate majority to ratify a treaty as the Constitution requires. In order to scrape together the bare minimum 40 Senators of his own party to avoid a filibuster, he pledged to reimpose sanctions should Iran violate the terms of the agreement he so desperately sought. Then, just days ago, we learned that Iran had indeed violated the agreement by testing missiles capable of delivering nuclear payloads. The Obama Administration promptly promised to bring sanctions. But then literally minutes later, it cavalierly reversed course, saying that it preferred to address the situation in its own confidential, diplomatic manner.
With this week's detention of American sailors, we've witnessed another humiliating illustration of how badly Obama's lawless behavior has backfired to our peril.
Meanwhile, we have learned that the Obama Administration spied on our close ally Israel, as well as members of Congress, a coequal branch of government, to advance its diplomatic opening to Iran.
Obama has infamously behaved just as lawlessly in other areas, such as unilaterally declaring the Senate to be in "recess" when only it has the power to do so, the swap of hardened terrorists for deserter Bowe Bergdahl in violation of his explicit duty to inform Congress beforehand, arbitrarily suspending and imposing ObamaCare regulations for political purposes, job-killing and punitive environmental regulations, IRS persecution of conservative organizations and now a commitment to impose gun regulations that he could have introduced into Congress back when he possessed overwhelming Democratic majorities.
Throughout his presidency, Obama has simply chosen to disregard constitutional and political constraints in order to impose his agenda. It can therefore come as no surprise that increasing instances of reciprocal lawlessness and disrespect for his own authority pop up everywhere from domestically to the Middle East to Ukraine to the South China Sea. He cannot expect others to demonstrate a respect that he himself does not show.
This nation was founded by men far wiser than Obama in the philosophy of individual freedom, not government fiat. Candidates hoping to enter the White House in one year would do well to understand that reality, and Americans increasingly disgusted and alarmed by government overreach would do well to translate their sentiments into electoral action.