President Obama was not the first.
He is, however, the worst.
Jonathan Turley, a liberal in the old fashioned sense and not a librul, opines in an article titled A Question of Power: The Imperial Presidency that although He did not start the trend to an imperial presidency, President Obama has expanded it, in spades. Worse, few seem to care — including even our “honorable’ members of the Congress and our equally “honorable” members of the Federal judiciary. Even worse, few members of the general public seem concerned.
Here are a few of Mr. Turley’s observations:
[M]any Americans misunderstand the separation of powers as simply a division of authority between three branches of government. In fact, it was intended as a protection not of institutional but of individual rights, by preventing any branch from assuming enough power to become tyrannical. No branch is supposed to have enough power to govern alone. Once power becomes concentrated in the hands of a president, citizens are left only with the assurance that such unchecked power will be used wisely – a Faustian bargain the framers repeatedly warned us never to accept. Benjamin Franklin said it best when he warned that “they who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.” [Emphasis added.]
. . . .
Four decades ago, Nixon was halted in his determined effort to create an imperial presidency with unilateral powers and privileges. But in 2013, Obama wields those very same powers openly and without serious opposition. [Emphasis added.]
. . . .
Nixon was known for his attacks on whistleblowers, using the Espionage Act of 1917 to bring a rare criminal case against Ellsberg. He was vilified for this abuse of the law, but Obama has brought twice as many such prosecutions as all prior presidents combined. Nixon was accused of putting a few reporters under surveillance. The Obama administration has admitted to putting Associated Press reporters, as well as a Fox reporter, under surveillance. [Emphasis added.]
. . . .
Nixon was cited for various efforts to obstruct or mislead congressional investigators. The Obama administration has repeatedly refused to give evidence sought by oversight committees in a variety of scandals. In one case, Congress voted to move forward with criminal contempt charges against Attorney General Eric Holder, which Holder’s own Justice Department blocked. In another case, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper lied before Congress on the surveillance programs, and later said that he offered the least untruthful statement he could think of. The Obama administration, however, refuses to investigate Clapper for perjury, let alone fire him. Recently, the administration was accused of searching Senate computers in an investigation of the CIA and trying to intimidate congressional investigators. [Emphasis added.]
. . . .
While Congress clearly retains powers, its members are increasingly finding that discretionary funds and powers blunt efforts to change government programs. Even Congress’ power of the purse has become discretionary with the president. When Congress resisted demands of the president on health care, Obama simply shifted $454 million in funds from the purpose mandated by Congress to his own purpose. When he decided not to consult with Congress on the Libyan war, he simply spent roughly a billion dollars on a war neither declared nor funded by Congress. [Emphasis added.]
Such circumvention – and the new presidential powers – create a perfect storm within the Madisonian system. It raises the very prospect the framers thought they blocked through the separation of powers: a president who can effectively rule alone. [Emphasis added.]
Have we simply become desensitized?
Are there other reasons for our general apathy? Here are some possibilities, in no particular order:
TV programming that merges fantasy with reality? Do we prefer to fantasize about attractive women in scanty clothing, such as Beyonce, rather than deal with substance and reality?
Information overload? Boredom? “I’ve got mine, screw you?” Do we want “our” benign Government to care for us from birth until death? Too busy? Everything that seems bad is a right-wing conspiracy hoax so we need to place our trust in Government? Hell. It’s the only thing we all belong to!
Obama has a “people pleasing personality” and Nixon didn’t? Is political correctness winning to the point that a Black President is immune to policy-based criticism? Has the word “integrity” become obsolete? Have lies become easier to accept than truth?
I don’t know why most are apathetic, just that they seem to be. In consequence, “our” unelected and usually unaccountable bureaucracies continue to breed, expand and fester, rather like those of the European Union. “Our” elected representatives continue to encourage them to do just that, by passing amorphous bills that give them virtually unlimited power.
What’s a conservative blogger to do?
Writing at my blog is a form of preaching to the choir. The same is likely the case with other conservative bloggers. Would posting otherwise irrelevant photos of scantily clad attractive women help? It sells shampoo, cars and probably refrigerators. Why not?
I think it’s fair to say that we have failed thus far. However, just as success can breed failure, so can failure breed success. Perhaps we need to continue trying until we begin to get it right, begin to succeed, not get all excited about it and continue to grind it out and to explore what made us fail and then to begin to succeed. And then increase and accelerate that which works. Tip of the hat to NEO for the YouTube video.
Trying is well worth the effort and there is little if anything to lose, except perhaps a guilty conscience.