By Alan Caruba
The Founding Fathers, authors of the Constitution, were obsessed with any form of government that could become too powerful, too willing to use force to oppress citizens. They had cause. They had fought a long war against the greatest power of their age, ruled by a king with nearly absolute power. They fashioned an instrument designed to ensure that the President could not rule by edict and defused power among three branches of government.
We have a President currently running for reelection against Congress, Wall Street, Republicans, and the right of citizens to be free of an overly intrusive government.
Article I, Section 1 of the Constitution says: All legislative powers herein granted shall be vested in the Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives.
All appointments of the President must be approved by the Senate while it is in session and the Senate, even over the Christmas and New Year’s vacation has remained in session, if only in a pro forma, technical manner. Every three days it has been convened to assert its powers.
Even so, President Obama has announced several “recess” appointments, all clearly a challenge to the Senate and all clearly a tyrannical power grab. He appointed Richard Cordray as the first director of the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, a new function that puts government between the lender and the citizen. In theory, all loans in the future will be subject to government approval. This is Communism, not Capitalism.
In addition, he appointed three members to the National Labor Relations Board, intended to arbitrate disputes between unions and corporations. None of them have appeared before a Senate committee for vetting. It was this board that demanded Boeing shut down its new factory in South Carolina, one of many “right to work” states that empower workers with the right to determine whether they want to join a union or not.
Neither Obama, nor any president who preceded him can make appointments without the “advice and consent” of the Senate. (Article II, Section 2). As recently as the first week of the year, referring to the Senate, Obama asserted that “I have an obligation as President to do what I can without them.” He has no such obligation. Those are the words of an incipient tyrant.
These actions put me in mind of Niccolo Machiavelli, famed as the author of “The Prince”, a book of advice to Lorenzo de Medici who was the ruler of the former republic of Florence, one of many city states in Italy. Born in 1469 and died in 1527, Machiavelli living during the early years of the Renaissance, a period that saw the flowering of literature, science, art, religion and politics. Historians consider it a bridge between the Middle Ages and the modern era.
The renaissance was a period of social and political upheaval, one in which the various princes ruled so long as they could protect their principalities against wars by others seeking to expand their powers. “The Prince” is largely seen as advice on how a prince may have to resort to the methodical use of brute force and deceit to hold onto power, but it was more than that. It was a guide to ruling people with a minimum of oppression.
“It should be borne in mind,” Machiavelli wrote, “that there is nothing more difficult to handle, more doubtful of success, and more dangerous to carry through than initiating changes in a state’s constitution.” Obama is engaged in an attack on the U.S. Constitution.
Of princely power, Machiavelli wrote, “The people are everywhere anxious not be dominated or oppressed by the nobles, and the nobles are out to dominate and oppress the people. These opposed ambitions bring about one of three results; a principality, a free city, or anarchy.” The Constitution ensures a free nation with limited federal powers and is a guard against anarchy.
Evidence of Obama’s narcissism and drive for complete power is ample. He is on record as saying the Constitution is composed of “negative” limits on power. Others regard the Constitution as the ultimate protection against the unlawful use of power. This is particularly evident in the Bill of Rights which was appended to the Constitution because several of the first States would not ratify without it.
In his advice to Lorenzo de Medici, Machiavelli raised the question of “whether it is better to be loved than feared, or the reverse. Within the context of the time, he said, “it is far better to be feared than loved if you cannot be both.” In the run up to Christmas, Americans bought guns in record numbers which suggests there is considerable fear of Obama and the results of his policies over the past three years.
We have witnessed and been victimized by a Democrat-controlled Congress that forced Obamacare on an unwilling public. We have seen the rise of Islamic fanaticism as the result of his failed policies toward Iran and the Middle East. We have had record breaking debt imposed on us by his failed “stimulus” policies. We have seen continued efforts to reduce our military power and to thwart access to our ample energy resources of oil, natural gas, and coal.
It is a long list of usurpations of power that endanger the nation domestically and internationally. Whether it was done out of stupidity or a deliberate effort to harm the nation can be debated, but the most outstanding attribute of Obama has been his continual lying and Machiavelli notes that “the deceiver will always find someone ready to be deceived.”
In this effort, Obama has been greatly aided by the mainstream media with a few notable exceptions. The trust that once reposed in the nation’s print and broadcast media has been eroded and will be hard to regain. The trust given Obama is long gone by all but a few ignorant and lazy citizens content to have their lives ruled by an over-reaching executive branch of government.
The election process will rid us of Obama and likely many of those Democrat legislators who have supported his policies. The House is controlled by the Republicans and the Senate is likely to follow.
Meanwhile, we must guard against the present occupant of the White House. Americans waged a war against oppression in the past and will, if necessary, do so again.