UPDATED: Senator Byrd (!!) Seems To Agree.
Putting on the “Analyst Hat.”
I swore I was not going to join the “Obama Derangement Syndrome” bandwagon, but the historian in me is seeing dangerous things which need to be monitored very carefully. If they move forward, Impeachment Proceedings would need to follow, and quickly. That may sound extreme. However, if these same actions were taken in, say, Eastern Europe, or Turkey (where Erdogan is actually moving to rapidly consolidate power), or any of the other places our spooks watch like a hawk, the analysts’ articles would already be hitting the presses.
- RAT in the Stimulus Bill. The legal language appears to have been changed per Volokh, but the political ramifications remain clear: such boards remain political and legal cover for a politically-motivated IG to go to town, and legally to delay the IG’s investigatie work during a board hearing which could be dragged out interminably, and, as I read it, w/o any recourse on the IG’s part.
That by itself would be mere overreach, except for both:
- The Office of Urban Affairs , to wit:
Obama and Biden will create a White House Office of Urban Policy to develop a strategy for metropolitan America and to ensure that all federal dollars targeted to urban areas are effectively spent on the highest-impact programs.
This is a direct assault on the authority of state governments, and in setting up such an office, the President explicitly violates the federal-state contract guaranteed in the Constitution. On its own, it might be discounted, were we not informed that the stimulus bill contains provisions expressly intended to bypass State executive authority. These manuvers have not gone unnoticed, and the Oklahoma House of Representatives has already declared that it intends to assert its rights as protected under the 10th Amendment,
- Yesterday’s speech delivered to a Council of Mayors, delivered by Obama, which I believe must be taken at face value.
Emphases in the following are mine:
We will use the new tools that the recovery act gives us to watch the taxpayers’ money with more rigor and transparency than ever. (Applause.) If a federal agency proposes a project that will waste that money, I will not hesitate to call them out on it and put a stop to it.
And I want everybody here to be on notice that if a local government does the same, I will call them out on it and use the full power of my office and our administration to stop it.
Given that the definition of “wasting resources” is defined on an inherently political basis, this is a direct threat to city mayors (and was even reported as such on ABC newswire after the speech). Given that the President has
- obtained legal power to order or hinder audits while requiring IG to justify counter-actions against the board (thus providing full legal cover to blatantly political auditing, known to have been abused on a widespread basis in both the 80s and 90s — Elizabeth Dole even made a joking reference to the practice on Letterman during her husband’s electoral run).
- President Obama has instituted an executive-branch office bypassing state authority
- President Obama has informed the nation’s mayors that he intends to exercise direct federal oversight of their budgeting.
He has violated his Oath of Office by directly moving to Undermine the Separation of Powers inherent to the Constitution.
This doesn’t inherently mean we need to get all paranoid, or buy into the wilder of the tinfoil-hat theories floating around. Obama’s “private army,” for instance, was almost certainly mere campaign rhetoric, and essentially harmless rhetoric at that.
If one were a tinfoil hat type, one could posit that the banking crisis has been engineered specifically to create the “unusual circumstances” justifying the FDR-like rhetoric and unusual political moves (including the unheard-of instance of Congress rubber-stamping the president by voting on a bill wildly increasing federal authority, which just coincidentally they did not realize and were not provided time to read about ahead of time). Even combined with the unheard-of move to put the Census, and thus the balance of political power, directly into the hands of an appointed political operative (this being the likely reason for Gregg’s “resignation,” as his position would have been completely untenable), we could be seeing significant coincidence at stake. One should never assume conspiracy if incompetence and overreach explain things sufficiently.
That said, the United States has gone fascist in the past under Herbert Hoover, (e.g., the proto-Orwellian CPI )and while the US was fortunately able to roll that back during Harding’s “Return to Normalcy,” the precedents are here; the President has taken actions which would allow him to pull a Weimar on the U.S., should he obtain the political muscle to do so.
That he will do so, does not seem likely. That he has obtained the means to do so — recall that electoral backlash can be effectively neutered if one party alone controls the (incredibly important) Census — potentially paving the way for one-party rule, is unnerving, but possibly coincidental. That he seems to have intentionally sought the means to do so while speaking in a manner consistent with those actions, is cause for legitimate concern, no matter where on the political spectrum an individual citizen may lay: potential for abuse written into law tends to be maximally exploited over time, and even some liberal critics of the push for the renewal of the “Fairness Doctrine” have noted that it has been used in the past by both major parties to muzzle their critics.
Have a good day.