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On recent occasions we have noted that several of President Obama’s public actions reflect a disdain for the traditional American view of the governmental process. Most stunning perhaps was his threat to the Supreme Court that it had better come out his way on Obamacare, or else. Having steamrolled the legislation through Congress (urging, it will be recalled, violations of longstanding procedures if necessary) he issued his challenge to the Supreme Court despite its constitutional duties to pass on the law’s constitutionality.
Similarly, in July 2009, the president surprised many with his comments about an incident in which Harvard historian Henry Louis Gates, Jr., who is African-American, was confronted by police outside his home after a neighbor notified them that someone was trying to break into a nearby home.
The door had jammed and Mr. Gates was pressing against the door to try to force it open. The officer asked for proof from Mr. Gates that he lived there and Mr. Gates showed him his ID, which satisfied the officer. However, Mr. Gates then insisted that the officer identify himself and they came to words, after which Mr. Gates was arrested.
President Obama conceded that he didn’t really know the facts, but went on to say that the police “acted stupidly in arresting somebody when there was already proof that they were in their own home.” And he proceeded to offer a discourse on race relations in America.
Nearly three years later, after the fatal shooting in March of Trayvon Martin, a black teenager, by a white member of a neighborhood watch group, Mr. Obama spoke out – even though the facts were (and still are) far from in on what actually happened – and seemed to allude to race as a factor. He spoke of the “absolute…imperative that we investigate every aspect of this and that everybody pulls together, federal, state and local, to figure out how this tragedy happened.”
He went on to say, “You know, if I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon…. All of us have to do some soul-searching to figure out how does something like this happen. And that means that we examine the laws and the context for what happened as well as the specifics of the incident.”
Again the facts were not in and there certainly should have been a presumption of innocence for the shooter, but that is not the way this president operates.
There were these and other, less dramatic, episodes. But it all came together in a lengthy article that appeared on the front page of Monday’s New York Times. The piece, “Shift on Executive Power Lets Obama Bypass Rivals” confirms that President Obama does not share traditional notions about our country’s political process. Here are some revealing excerpts:
One Saturday last fall, President Obama interrupted a White House strategy meeting to raise an issue not on the agenda. He declared, aides recalled, that the administration needed to more aggressively use executive power to govern in the face of congressional obstructionism.
“We had been attempting to highlight the inability of Congress to do anything,” recalled William M. Daley, who was White House chief of staff at the time. “The president expressed frustration, saying we have got to scour everything and push the envelope in finding things we can do on our own.”
….Branding its unilateral efforts “We Can’t Wait,” a slogan that aides said Mr. Obama coined at that strategy meeting, the White House has rolled out dozens of new policies…. Each time, Mr. Obama has emphasized the fact that he is bypassing lawmakers. When he announced a cut in refinancing fees for federally insured mortgages last month, for example, he said: “If Congress refuses to act, I’ve said that I’ll continue to do everything in my power to act without them.”
Aides say many more such moves are coming. Not just a short term shift in governing style and a re-election strategy, Mr. Obama’s increasingly assertive use of executive action could foreshadow pitched battles over the separation of powers in his second term, should he win and Republicans consolidate their power in Congress.
The article goes on to describe an incident in January 2012 involving the issue of presidential power to make recess appointments when the Senate is not in session. The president was intent on installing several people in jobs that needed Senate confirmation, but whose nominations had stalled. As the Times described it:
….Mr. Obama bypassed the Senate confirmation process to install four officials using his recess appointment power, even though House Republicans had been forcing the Senate to hold “pro forma” sessions through its winter break to block such appointments.
Mr. Obama declared the sessions a sham, saying the Senate was really in the midst of a lengthy recess. His appointments are facing a legal challenge, and some liberals and many conservatives have warned that he set a dangerous precedent.
….“I refuse to take ‘no’ for an answer,” Mr. Obama declared, beneath a “We Can’t Wait” banner. “When Congress refuses to act and – as a result – hurts our economy and puts people at risk, I have an obligation as president to do what I can without them.
Of course, previous presidents have also tried to aggrandize the powers of the presidency or attempted to end-run Congress. Indeed, the Times article points to such other instances. Significantly, however, while prior presidents may have acted with respect to a particular issue or appointment, Mr. Obama stands out with his single-minded determination to bypass other branches of government when he fears they won’t work to further his agenda.
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Shepherding in the Shomron isn’t your usual kind of shepherding – despite his business-minded beginnings, Eli has discovered that a strong ideological impetus powers the job.
I said to myself, “This story has got to be told. We’re losing this generation of World War II and if we don’t listen to them now, we’ve lost it.”
His entire existence was about spreading simcha and glorifying G-d’s name on a daily basis.
At some point we need to stop simply defending and promoting Israel and start living in Israel
“We Jews are the only people who when we drop a book on the floor pick it up and kiss it.”
Though Zaide was the publisher of The Jewish Press, a big newspaper,I always remember him learning
Speaker Silver has been an extraordinary public servant since his election to the Assembly in 1975 and has been an exemplary leader of that body since 1994.
He spent the first leg of his daylong visit to the French capital at Hyper Cacher.
Drawing Congress into the Iran nuclear debate is the last thing the White House wants.
Great leaders like Miriam and like Sarah Schenirer possess the capacity to challenge the status quo that confronts them.
Obama’s foreign policy is viewed by both liberals and conservatives as deeply flawed
Many journalists are covertly blaming the Charlie Hebdo writers themselves through self-censorship.
He spent the first leg of his daylong visit to the French capital at Hyper Cacher.
According to Natan Sharansky, director of the Jewish Agency for Israel, France was the largest source of Jewish emigration to Israel last year and he believes as many as 15,000 French Jews may make aliyah in 2015.
Despite the president’s respectable anti-terrorism record, he doubtless has little interest in being identified with anything that might suggest, however tangentially, criticism of Muslims or Islam.
One wonders what connection that rejection has with turning to the ICC, which would allow the Palestinians to bring war-crime charges against individual Israelis and is certainly one more step away from seeking a negotiated settlement.
In the NPR interview, Mr. Obama said Iran could become a “very successful regional power” if it agreed to a long-term nuclear deal.
Thus, despite the increasingly serious problems for the mayor arising out of the current anti-police protests, Mr. de Blasio apparently will be cut no slack by those who seem to be aiming for a significant role in running the city from the streets and who will do whatever they can to prevent their momentum from ebbing.
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