As Purim approaches, thousands of Israeli children and families grapple with poverty
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.
The president’s approach to governance, in a nutshell: Make society and its institutions do what you think “the people” are entitled to and forget such silly things as precedent and rules.
Plainly, Mr. Obama has not forgotten what he learned in community organizer school.
About the Author:
If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.
Comments are closed.
Values at the very heart of the UN are threatened by extremist ideologies targeting our way of life
Any Jew who ties his fate to Israel should be able to vote in Israel’s elections-even before aliyah
Israel’s full sovereignty over a united Jerusalem is the only path for true peace in the region.
The president has made clear – I can’t state this more firmly – the policy is Iran will not get a nuclear weapon.
Obama has an apparent inability to understand Islam in particular and Mid-East culture in general
Pesach is a Torah-based holiday whose fundamental observances are rooted in Torah law; Purim is a rabbinic holiday whose laws and customs are grounded in the rabbinic tradition.
In honor of Prime Minister Netanyahu’s successful speech before Congress.
Mr. Spock conveys a message with painfully stark relevance to our world today, especially in the context of PM Netanyahu’s speech to Congress.
Obama created the “partisan politics” by asking Dem. party members to avoid Bibi and his address
Enough is enough. The Jewish community has a big tent, but the NIF should have no place in it.
The real issue is that in many respects the president has sought to recalibrate American values and our system of government.
Gone are the days when an anchorman sitting in a New York studio could, after sharing 22 minutes of carefully selected and edited news items, trumpet in stentorian tones, “And that’s the way it is.” No it wasn’t. It never was.
President Obama has frequently cautioned that Americans should take great care to avoid fomenting anti-Muslim passions in our reaction to the murderous activities regularly being perpetrated by terrorists in the name of Islam. One wonders why, though, he seems to have no concern with the potential for anti-Semitic fallout from his full-court press against Israeli […]
Typical of the administration’s milquetoast approach is the lack of any call for a substantial increase in military resources in order to crush ISIL, only a tepid mention of the need to “ultimately defeat” it.
He spent the first leg of his daylong visit to the French capital at Hyper Cacher.
In this particular case, the issue was whether the Arkansas prison system could prohibit, for security reasons, a devout Muslim’s maintaining a beard of a certain length as a matter of religious practice.
Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/editorial/the-community-organizer-in-chief/2012/04/25/
Scan this QR code to visit this page online: