Pollak: Joe Biden, Democrats Loved Obama’s Abuses of Presidential Power

Obama Biden BFD (Win McNamee / Getty)
Win McNamee / Getty

Former vice president Joe Biden drew criticism for his “sleepy” speeches in Iowa on Tuesday, which confirmed critics’ concerns about his age and energy.

More than the style and delivery, however, what was wrong with Biden’s addresses was the substance. Not only did he cite the “very fine people” hoax from Charlottesville, but he also made the ridiculous claim that he wanted to run against President Donald Trump because he opposed excessive use of executive power.

If that were Biden’s actual motivation, he should have resigned from President Barack Obama’s administration and run against him instead.

No president in living memory did as much to violate the Constitution’s checks and balances as Obama did — and proudly so, threatening Congress with his “pen and phone.” When Obama signed the constitutionally dubious Affordable Care Act, Biden infamously praised it as a “big f*cking deal.”

And that was just the beginning:

1. Obama encroached, repeatedly, on congressional powers. Once Obamacare was the law of the land, the Obama White House kept re-writing it without congressional authorization. The Obama administration even spent money to reimburse health insurance companies. It had no right to do so, and the House successfully challenged Obama in court. So, too, did the Senate, when Obama unilaterally declared it in recess; he was slapped down 9-0 by the Supreme Court.

2. Obama usurped the legislative powers of Congress entirely on immigration. Rather than negotiate with Congress, Obama enacted the so-called “Dream Act” by fiat in 2012 when he announced the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. After Democrats lost the Senate in 2014, Obama added the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA) program. Both were unconstitutional and DAPA has been struck down by the courts.

3. Obama defied the Senate’s powers to ratify foreign treaties. President Obama knew that the Iran nuclear deal was a failure. So instead of presenting it to the Senate for ratification, he took it to the UN Security Council. Democrats backed up his unconstitutional maneuver by quashing an attempt by the Senate to vote on a review of the deal. Obama repeated his unconstitutional tactics in negotiating the Paris Climate Accords, which were written to avoid the Senate.

4. Obama administration officials repeatedly lied to Congress. Whether it was Attorney General Eric Holder lying to Congress about the administration’s pursuit of journalists, or National Intelligence Director James Clapper (later a main instigator of the Russia collusion hoax) lying to Congress about the National Security Agency’s (NSA) spying, Obama’s senior officials showed their contempt for congressional oversight by covering up the truth, over and over.

5. Obama administration officials abused their power to target opponents. Under Obama, the Internal Revenue Service wrongfully pursued conservative non-profit organizations, effectively knocking them out of the crucial 2012 election. Then, ahead of the 2016 election, Obama’s law enforcement appointees let Hillary Clinton off the hook while spying on the Trump campaign in pursuit of bogus Russian collusion, one of the worst abuses of power in U.S. history.

6. Obama frequently ignored court decisions he did not like. When a federal judge blocked Obama’s attempt to impose a moratorium on oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, the administration ignored it, leading the judge to hold the administration in contempt. Similarly, a federal judge threatened the administration with contempt after it ignored an injunction limiting work permits for illegal aliens. Obama also scolded the Supreme Court in front of the entire nation over its decision in the Citizens United case, and later publicly attacked the Court’s power of judicial review itself.

7. Obama attempted to use “executive action” to implement gun control. In a frontal assault on the Second Amendment, President Obama vowed to use his executive powers to implement gun control policies — even though none of them would have likely made any difference in stopping school shootings or radical Islamic terror attacks.

In contrast, Trump has restored the respect that the executive branch has shown the other two branches. He has often met with congressional leaders — with the cameras rolling — to negotiate. When Democrats have challenged his policies in court — such as the “travel ban” and the wall funding — they have usually lost. And while Trump has complained about judicial decisions that don’t go his way, he has won praise from the courts for complying with them.

Biden also recited a list of now-familiar complaints about President Trump’s rhetorical style. He moaned that Trump calls the (fake news) media the “enemy of the people.” But Biden said nothing when Obama did the same, calling Fox News “destructive to [America’s] long-term growth,” and otherwise abusing the press (which loved him nonetheless).

The former vice president also slammed the way Trump insults his opponents — forgetting that Obama set the standard, at one point even claiming preposterously that Republicans had made “common cause” with America’s worst enemies.

Biden also accused Trump of dividing America along racial lines. Not only has Trump done exactly the opposite — most recently with criminal justice reforms that have undone some of Biden’s destructive legacy — but Biden has a history of overtly racist remarks, and told black voters in 2012 that Republicans would “put y’all back in chains.”

What’s left of Biden’s grievances is the fact that Trump is resisting congressional subpoenas related to the Russia hoax. But Trump fully complied with several congressional committees, and held nothing back from the special counsel. It is Congress, under the Democrats, that has overstepped its authority.

The truth is that Biden and his party do not care at all about the Constitution’s checks on presidential power. They are simply upset that a Republican is wielding it.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.

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