The greatest enemy that exists to freedom is tyranny. Tyranny is above the law, ignores the law, makes up its own rules, steals power from others elected to govern, and defends the actions of lawless men. President Obama has increasingly shown himself to be a lawless man, whether its failing to enforce laws he doesn’t approve of (see DOMA, immigration) or making up his own rules. We are either a nation of laws or a nation of men. We can’t be both.
The president’s recent appointment of unvetted candidates to head bureaucratic agencies with broad regulatory authority without the advice and consent of the U.S. Senate is just the latest example that he is turning us from a nation of laws into a nation of men. This skirting of the Constitution is not only unprecedented in our history, but it fits the very type of executive fiat that is almost exclusive to banana republics.
Liberals, leftists, and apologists for the Democratic Party have tried to downplay the concern by confusing the issue and slyly spinning the president’s non-recess “recess appointments” as some ambiguous legal matter open to broad interpretation. It’s not. The arguments they have mounted are weak and ill-advised. They are made not out of a desire to defend America’s Constitution or the Republic for which it stands, but to defend one single ruler with which they sympathize. President Obama’s actions and their successful defense of them could be the downfall of our representative democracy, bringing an end to the checks and balances that keep our government from abusing power.
The left’s first inclination is to compare anything President Obama does to George W. Bush, because of course Barack Obama ran on four more years of governing exactly like Bush. But any comparison to President Bush’s appointments falls flat. President Bush never made a recess appointment during a pro forma session. In fact, the pro forma sessions were started by Harry Reid to prevent President Bush from making recess appointments. Even Harry Reid won’t dispute this.
The left has also attempted to justify Obama’s actions by blaming Republicans. This argument goes something like, “well, he tried to do it the right way, but Republicans are too much of obstructionists, so he had to bend the law.” Okay, first off, either you have principles or you don’t. You don’t just have principles when its convenient. Secondly, Democrats used the same tactics to bottle up President Bush’s appointments, and yet the conservative leader most vilified and despised by the left in the last 30 years, called everything from “illegitimate” to “Hitler”, never felt compelled to make such an overreach.
More importantly, two of the appointments President Obama made to the NLRB were new names that have not had a chance to be interviewed by the U.S. Senate. In other words, their appointments hadn’t stalled anywhere.
While recess appointments have been ruled constitutional, that doesn’t mean they aren’t ripe for abuse. It’s true that both President Clinton and Bush made over 100 of them, but none occurred while the U.S. Senate was actually in session (pro forma or not). Further, it has been generally agreed by legal advisors to the last three presidents, including Obama’s own Justice Department, that a recess must last longer than three days for a president to enact his recess appointment authority.
Frighteningly, President Obama has thrown all the rules out the window and challenged the Senate’s power to approve any presidential appointment at all. Based on this new logic, he could make an appointment while the Senate adjourns to lunch. Not needing any votes of confirmation, one supposes he could even appoint whomever his leftist heart desires to the Supreme Court. Sure, it all sounds like fun and games to clowns like Jon Stewart, but some of us take this kind of fundamental shift in power seriously.
The left has never been a big fan of the Constitution, seeing it as an obstacle to all the Big Government they are sure we must desire, but let’s take a look at it anyways. Article 1, Section 2 is very clear:
“He (the President) shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur; and he shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States, whose Appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by Law.”
Since the nation’s founding, the U.S. Senate has had the power to reject poorly vetted presidential appointees. Even the great George Washington’s nominees faced scrutiny, proving no one is above reproach.
By skirting the U.S. Senate, President Obama has challenged the very core of our system of government, and it was not by accident. If he had acted just one day sooner, the president could have tempered this crisis by at least making an intersession appointment. While still shorter than the usually agreed-upon three day recess, he would have at least had Teddy Roosevelt’s precedent from 1908 to stand on, albeit under completely different circumstances. Instead, the president waited to make an intrasession appointment during the shortest of short recesses. There’s only one logical reason for this, and that’s to permanently seize power from a legislative branch that has repeatedly been a roadblock to much of his socialist-progressive agenda.
If Obama’s actions are allowed to stand, it opens the door for him or any future president (should we be so lucky) to appoint whomever he wants to any bureaucratic or judicial position without the consent of any other elected representatives. Congress, the closest government body we have to the voice of the people, will be weakened to a whisper, and the president will be more empowered to act like a monarch or despot. The decisions of 1 man will be greater than the voices of 535 members of Congress, greater than the voices of 50 states, and yes, greater than the people. Tyranny has a friend in the Oval Office and his name is Barack Obama.