A system of checks and balances only works if the participants are bound by some higher code than ideology. Ethics is no longer a defining code. Neither is Americanism or democracy or any of the other things that politicians made speeches about back in the 19th and 20th. The infrastructure of the left has eclipsed all other bonds and connections. It has collective goals and a power structure that runs through public and private organizations mobilized for a common purpose.
That renders the old rules mostly meaningless. Suggestions to be considered, if the various organs, the oversight groups, the bureaucracies and the media are in the mood. And if they are, then they may pay a little attention to the latest abuse of power. If they’re not, they won’t.
It’s easy to compare Obama to Nixon, but the comparison is wrong. Nixon had lost faith in the entire idea of rules. He had floundered in a corrupt system for so long that he had to sacrifice everything he believed in to get ahead only to still be hemmed in on all sides. Obama never believed in rules and never compromised on anything except on a temporary basis. Nixon was angry, but Obama is blithe.
It’s not a post-rules world. But it’s a world where force determines which rules apply to whom.
Obama will illegally and unilaterally impose rules and laws on others, but he won’t follow any rules or laws, even those in the Constitution. It’s tyranny, but handled with a post-everything flair as if abuse of power is a dot com thing like not having a business model. Using the IRS to suppress rival political organizations is treated like one of those new data management techniques. Just another clever out-of-the-box tool in a game of everything goes.
And why shouldn’t everything go?
Government isn’t really an institution anymore, it’s a toolset. If you break the tools, they can be replaced. Fire some people, hire consultants to rebrand or rename an entire agency and then you’re back in business. History doesn’t matter. Neither does the public trust. Everything exists only to fulfill the goals of the moment.
In the old politics, maintaining the institutions of government was the greater goal. In the new politics, government is a means to an end. The end may still be government, but it isn’t a thing of institutions, but of ideologues. It doesn’t matter whether it’s 200 years or 200 minutes old. The 200 minutes old one is more likely to be up on the latest trends in nudging people into the right corners.
Technocrat ideologues don’t value existing institutions and the left justifies its existence by destroying whatever exists in the name of reform.
Forward! means that are constantly moving ahead without looking back, except when it comes time to blame some current shortcoming on George W. Bush and his evil regime. It means that we are constantly destroying in the name of building. Everything must go so it can be remade in the more perfect image of the Harvard professors who know just how to do everything even if they have never done a thing in their life.
Obama is not a creature of the old partisan politics of a balance of power. He prefers imbalances. He chooses chaos. By exercising power he destroys and in his ideological sphere, that destruction is creative. Destroying health care will usher in national health care. Destroying public trust in government will usher in an even more oppressive government.
There is nothing American about the new partisan politics. They are purely Post-American, a breath of hot air from the coming system that will have no rules except power and no law except force. And this game is one in which the lack of a binding ideology is fatal.
To assume that your opponents have any decency, as the Republicans habitually do, is to be left behind in Politics 1.0. In Politics 2.0, the utter lack of decency is proof of integrity. To truly believe, you must have no ethics. To truly care about people, the environment, little children in the ghetto, polar bears, recycled rubber shoes, corporate welfare and LGBT workplaces, you must not have any standards when it comes to what you do.