The Right Opinion

Obama Power Grabs on the Horizon

How the Democratic Party will show its totalitarian face in the coming weeks.

By Arnold Ahlert · Jan. 9, 2013

Leftists and their media advocates, well aware that the tragedy of Newtown must be exploited before Americans regain their emotional balance, are pulling out all the stops. Almost a dozen new gun control bills were introduced on the first day of the new congressional session. Joe Biden's task force continues its frenzied pace of activity, even as it broadens its scope far beyond the reinstatement of the ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, moving into such arenas as universal background checks for gun buyers, a national database tracking the movement and sale of weapons and measures that Obama could enact by executive order. Yet such an imperious manner of governance will not be limited to gun control. Obama and Democrats are embracing the same strategy with respect to raising the debt ceiling, absent any genuine spending cuts. In short, they're acting like Republicans are irrelevant.

Yet the administration is well aware that its “never let a crisis go to waste” approach is on tenuous ground regarding gun control. The Washington Post notes that “as the shock and sorrow over the Newtown, Conn., shooting fades, the tough fight facing the White House and gun-control backers is growing clearer.” The paper then reminds Americans of several gun-related tragedies, such as the Gabrielle Giffords shooting, the Aurora movie theater massacre, the shooting at the Sikh temple in Wisconsin, and one at an army base in Texas, “all of which occurred during Obama's first term,” even as none of them elicited “national progress on curbing gun bloodshed." The Associated Press also speaks to the urgency of getting comprehensive gun control legislation through Congress as quickly as possible, because "as the shock of the Newtown shooting fades, so, too, will the prospects that pro-gun lawmakers will work with the White House to tighten restrictions.”

The implications here are obvious: a president facing reelection was “powerless” to take on “entrenched interest groups,” as in law-abiding Americans who support the Second Amendment. Now that the election is over, Obama, much as he promised Russian President Dmitri Medvedev with respect to foreign policy, can be more “flexible” in his approach to gun control. Furthermore, because of the emotionalism necessary to sustain such broad (and likely unconstitutional) changes, time is of the essence. Ergo, Obama will be entirely justified in taking whatever steps are necessary as quickly as possible, even if that means pushing the boundaries of executive power – or stepping over them.

Such brinksmanship is hardly accidental. Although the president and Democrats knew as far back as August 2011 that the combination of tax increases and spending cuts engendered by the last debt ceiling debate would kick in on January 1, 2012, serious negotiations were put off until the very last minute – and beyond. This intransigence was intentional. The Democrat-controlled Senate tabled every spending bill sent to them by the Republican-controlled House, and failed to enact any budget for more than three-and-a-half years. The same party that completely derided the extension of the Bush tax cuts in 2010 as an unconscionable addition to the national debt, suddenly favored them. Yet in the end, the so-called “grand bargain” was a farce, producing little more than an additional $3.9 trillion dollars of debt over the next ten years, according to the CBO.

Furthermore, even as negotiations were ongoing, America once again reached its borrowing limit on December 31, as the national debt climbed to more than $16.3 trillion. On December 26, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner warned he could take “extraordinary measures” to prevent America from defaulting on its obligations for a couple of months.

Now one might be inclined to think that national default would trump gun control as the most pressing issue of the day. Republicans certainly think so. “The biggest problem we have at the moment is spending and debt,” Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said last Sunday. “That's going to dominate the Congress between now and the end of March. None of these issues will have the kind of priority as spending and debt over the next two or three months.” Yet once again, the president has indicated that he will push the envelope. “While I will negotiate over many things, I won't have another debate with this Congress on whether they should pay the bills we racked up in the past,” he said on January 2.

And just like they are doing with gun control, Democrats are urging the president to run over congressional Republicans, using executive authority. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has reportedly told other Democrats he supports such a move, using the 14th Amendment as a vehicle. Nancy Pelosi echoed that assessment. “I've made my view very clear on that subject: I would do it in a second,” said Pelosi on January 4. They are joined by Steny Hoyer (D-MD) and James Clyburn (D-SC), the second- and third-ranking Democrats in the House, as well as Senator John Kerry (D-MA) and former president Bill Clinton, who claimed he would do it “without hesitation and force the courts to stop me.”

Section 4 of the 14th Amendment states that “the validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned.” Harvard law professor and former Obama advisor Laurence Tribe underscores the arrogant nature of Democrats' thinking. “We shouldn't fool ourselves into thinking the 14th Amendment gives [Obama] this authority,” he warned. “It's just a fantasy.” John Yoo, a former legal adviser to President George W. Bush, agreed. “The Framers wanted the president to exercise emergency power in response to national security threats, not over domestic affairs where Congress and the president have had plenty of time to deliberate and figure out a solution,” he wrote in an e-mail.

Obama himself has said he will not bypass Congress and invoke the Amendment, but given the president's track record of lying and/or changing his mind at the last minute, Americans should take no comfort from the statement. What Americans should take from this issue, and the issue of gun control, is that Democrats are more than willing to do whatever it takes to get what they want, and “force the courts to stop” them, even if it necessitates creating one of the most divisive atmospheres Americans have ever endured in the process.

That is the essence of imperiousness and brinksmanship. Thus, while they are rushing gun control legislation while emotions are still raw, they will delay debt ceiling negotiations until they can gin up a similar level of public frustration on that issue. That is why Obama, despite getting his tax increases on the “rich,” wants to re-negotate tax increases. “Now, if Republicans think that I will finish the job of deficit reduction through spending cuts alone … then they've got another think coming. That's not how it's going to work,” he said, two days after the fiscal cliff deal was made. “It's going to have to be a matter of shared sacrifice, at least as long as I'm president. And I'm going to be president for the next four years.”

And for the next two years at least, Republicans will control the House of Representatives. In a logical world, that would mean Democrats have to find some common ground with the GOP. Yet somehow the president and his party have convinced themselves that Republicans are an obstacle – not a partner – in solving America's most pressing problems. No doubt a large part of their arrogance is due to the reality that, when Americans get utterly disgusted by this continuing spectacle, they have the utmost confidence the mainstream media will blame Republicans for any and every debacle.

Yet that odious arrangement may be far more tenuous than both Democrats and their media sycophants realize. A substantial number of Democratic voters were shocked to discover that their taxes went up when the temporary payroll tax deduction enacted in 2009 went back up from 4.2 percent to 6.2 percent. For many of them, that may have been one of the first indications that the “raise taxes on the rich” narrative promoted by the unholy Democrat-media alliance was a fraud. If the president and his party continue to push the envelope on imperious governance and brinksmanship, it won't be the last shock they receive. Not by a long shot.

Arnold Ahlert is a columnist for FrontPage Magazine.

11 Comments

Rod in USA said:

*"A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."*

Let's examine, shall we?

**"A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state"**
This part is why they have the amendment in the first place. Some might argue that this part means the National Guard, well-controlled by the governors or the government. However, you could also easily argue that since the definition of militia involves "army composed of ordinary citizens rather than professional soldiers", and given that the King exercised tyrrany over the colonies, the founding fathers had in mind the right of free men to preserve their own freedom **against** the tyrannical govvernment. One only has to read the declaration of independence to ratify this line of thought.

**keep and bear arms**
Very important. The people have the right to keep arms. The people have the right to bear those arms. Nowhere does it limit the kind of arms or where they may be kept or where they may be beared/carried. More on that next.

**shall not be infringed.**
Two definitions found when googling for a definition of infringe:
1.Actively break the terms of (a law, agreement, etc.): "infringe a copyright".
2.Act so as to limit or undermine (something); encroach on: "infringe on his privacy".

The latter deinfition is very important. This is where I saay the founders did not have to imagine mass murder by a deranged individual or the invention of automatic weapons. Theyir intent was that we would not be limited. **at all**.

So I should be able to carry anywhere I wish, and limiting my ability to do so is un-constitutional. I should also not be limited in the kind of weapon nor have to have limited capacity magazines.

There is a host of regulation that is un-Constitutional if you just examine the words with honesty, and not an attempt to pervert or twist the words to suit your purpose (e.g., "find a loophole").

Wednesday, January 9, 2013 at 8:30 AM

Alex in NJ replied:

Team Obama needs to contact team Google and Wikiedia and have the meaning of militia officially changed.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013 at 10:33 AM

Rod in USA replied:

LOL. That thought occurred to me - I don't put it past "them".

Wednesday, January 9, 2013 at 11:45 AM

veritaseequitas in Fightertown, USA said:

"In short, they're acting like Republicans are irrelevant."
They are acting like the American taxpayers and voters are irrelevant. Who couldn't see this coming? Ah yes, the people who voted for him of course. Full steam ahead and damn the consequences.
I fully expect at some point that we will have an armed insurrection in this country because of the thing that sits in the Oval Office. His intentional policies to bankrupt America and make her unexceptional (since American exceptionalism bothers him so intensely), will eventually catch up to him and the rest of the flotsam that is in charge of our nation. Certainly one of the reasons they are moving to abolish the 2nd Amendment.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013 at 9:55 AM

billy396 in ohio replied:

An armed insurrection is exactly what this country needs, as it's very clear that the courts and the media will allow this charlatan in the White House to do whatever he wants. It's more than unfortunate that the majority of our fellow citizens seem to be blind and deaf, as well as stupid. This is evidenced by their ignorance of anything of importance regarding Bozo and Moochelle. This "man" will continue to ignore our Constitution, our laws, and anything else that gets in his way. Chicago thug MOB rule has arrived in D.C., and it's going to be hell to stop. The lazy, blind, ignorant sheep of this nation have damned us all.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013 at 10:16 PM

wjm in Colorado said:

They will go too far, and even the useful idiots now realizing they have been lied to might just wake up. This regime is treasonous, and should be impeached and jailed with their jihadi friends. My home is well defended, not registered to any entity but to God, and should they come they better bring an army.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013 at 10:24 AM

Wayne in Hinesville, GA said:

It's my opinion the uninformed idiots who voted for Odumbo should get what they deserve. They already are going to pay more in taxes, the price of food is going up, and who knows what else the Liar in Chief will do to really screw the so-called middle class. Keep them stupid and on the plantation. I'm with Mac, I will never surrender my weapons willingly nor will I register them if told to do so. The government has no right to take any of my personal belongings. This is not a question of using public domain to take personal property from an individual for the good of the community. It is nothing more than an excuse to disarm the public so only government entities and criminals will be armed.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013 at 10:40 AM

Trudy in huntsville said:

Have you ever noticed that people who say "It's the right thing to do" rarely do the right thing? Same with those who say "Have a blessed day"--they're lying to you as they speak.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013 at 12:54 PM

Eleanor in AK said:

Every one of the Executive Orders issued by this President should be closely reviewed.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013 at 1:27 PM

rab in jo,mo replied:

They are as illegitimate as his presence in the White House.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013 at 3:35 PM

M Rick Timms MD in Georgia said:

The underlying questions we face is -- When does the abuse of "executive privilege", rise to the level of tyranny? When does the breakdown of the legislative process, such as when Harry Reid refuses to address bills from the House, rise to the level of tyranny?

Tyranny thrives on "crisis", and "extreme measures" taken by rulers "for the good of the country". These are indeed desperate times - and things are not looking up.

The Constitution, should of course, be our guide. But in the face of an imperious President, and a complicit Senate, the judicial review process has proven to be slow and ineffective in restraining the executive over-reach.

Those who would restrict the 2nd Amendment to the Militia, should look closely at the 1st. The "people" or "individuals" are not mentioned except in regard to assembly and redress of grievances. "Abridging the freedom of speech, or of the Press" could certainly suggest that "free speech" is limited to the Press, much as some would restrict guns to the Militia only.

Similarly, if rights to bear arms can be "infringed" by regulations limiting the size, type, usage of "arms" and requiring registration, then without question it would hold that the right to free speech can be "abridged" to limit the size type and usage of "words", and require the registration of "speakers", following the payment of a mandatory fee and a background check of course. This is absurd, you say? Besides, "words don't kill, but guns do."

If that is true why does use of the greeting "Sieg Heil! Heil, mein Führer!" still carry a criminal offense in Germany, Austria, the Netherlands and the Czech Republic? Wake up America It is happening right here!!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013 at 10:49 PM