In response to If Congress Wants to Stay Relevant as an Institution, They Should Not Stand Idly By And Let the President Take Their Power Away:
I remain comforted by my serene conviction that we can end the imperial presidency by electing a Republican. I have to chuckle a bit when I hear dire warnings that Democrats will come to regret supporting so many unconstitutional super-powers, once President Rand Paul is using them to lop chunks of flab off the Leviathan State. I’d love to see that, but it ain’t gonna happen. As soon as any Republican assumes the Oval Office, all Obama powers will instantly become null and void. The media will rise as one in bloody-minded 24-hour crisis-coverage outrage the instant President Marco Rubio announces that he wants to delay part of ObamaCare.
Heck, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Obama’s current delays abruptly terminated as soon as a Republican enters the Oval Office. The Beltway establishment will be happy to make President Jeb Bush issue all those insurance cancellations.
A Democrat minority will fight like wildcats to restore congressional prerogatives and minority-party rights, and the media will back them every step of the way. Guys like Mitch McConnell will go on Sunday shows to marvel at how they were lectured on the urgent need to lie down and let Obama walk all over them, for the good of the nation, but suddenly Democrat minority leaders are portrayed as equals of the President. “Bipartisanship” will make an astounding comeback.
It shouldn’t require such a partisan struggle to restore checks and balances, of course. The idea of defending principles in the abstract, with absolute insistence, has gone out of vogue. Too many people have been persuaded over the past five years that benevolent dictatorship is worth a shot. Before that, too many of them had come to agree with the notion that arbitrary restraints on government power are foolish. If something seems like a good idea, and a majority of the current electorate wants to give it a try, why should zombies in powdered wigs have anything to say about it?
The Obama era should provide schoolkids of the future with some definitive answers to that question. There must be absolute restraints on power, which are not subject to passing political fortune. And one very good reason for those restraints is that it keeps the public from signing off on boondoggles they can never escape.
Time and again I’m struck by the Left’s insistence that ObamaCare is eternal, no matter how badly it fails (until they’re ready to go for single payer, of course.) That’s ridiculous. The public was not told in 2009 that its Democrat representatives were signing a suicide pact, a contract that could never be escaped, no matter how badly the government failed to live up to its end of the bargain. Now they’re getting weekly lessons in how little the government respects anything in that contract. If Americans held the principles of their Constitution more dear, they never would have gotten into this mess.
I hope Rep. Gowdy and his colleagues rediscover that power of the purse, but we’re learning that lawlessness inevitably favors the central executive, the supreme power that no one in Congress can match. Remove the rule of law, and the accumulation of power in a single, central dictator inevitably accelerates.
That’s a typically fine piece from Charles W. Cooke you quoted. I’d quibble with this part:
“One party is intransigent” serves as no good excuse for imperialism at the best of times. But the cry falls especially hollow when one considers that all of the delays and modifications that Obama has deemed to be in the national interest would have been supported by a significant number of members of both parties.
He’s right about how the hollow the “intransigence” charge rings, and we all know that Mitt Romney would be savaged for imposing any of the delays King Barack has ordered. But there’s an important reason why Obama’s not going to bring any of his duct-tape ObamaCare fixes before Congress: he wants to avoid the machinery of representative democracy. Open up a “Fix The Affordable Care Act of 2009 Act of 2014” debate, and who knows what Republicans would say? The Democrats got this turkey by leveraging the hell out of a very brief window of total executive and congressional power; they have no illusions about its ability to survive contact with a divided Congress.