Jewish World Review June 30, 2014 / 2 Tammuz, 5774
Speaker's suit against Obamalikely to backfire
By Joseph Perkins
JewishWorldReview.com | John Boehner plans to sue President Barack Obama. That’s a terrible idea.
Not because the House Speaker’s accusation that “the president has not faithfully executed the laws” of the United States – as required under Article II, Section 3 of the Constitution – is without merit.
Indeed, Obama is precisely the kind of chief executive the historian Arthur Schlesinger warned about in his 1973 tome, “The Imperial Presidency.”
A man who would be king, who upsets the balance of powers the nation’s founders instituted, who appropriates the powers “reserved by the Constitution and by long historical practice to Congress.”
The tell-tale signs of Obama’s imperiousness revealed themselves not long after the former constitutional law professor moved into the White House, deciding his first order of business would be enactment of economic “stimulus” legislation.
When Republicans didn’t blithely go along with the president’s proposed $787 billion in deficit spending, he decided he needn’t trouble himself to get their buy-in since his fellow Democrats controlled both the Senate and the House.
So the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act became law over near unanimous GOP opposition.
Then came the president’s proposed makeover of the U.S. health care system, representing one-fifth of the nation’s economy.
Republicans expressed reservations about the legislation. And, again, the president decided it wasn’t worth his time to seek bipartisan support from the loyal opposition.
So the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act became law with no GOP support.
In the 2010 midterm election, the Nancy Pelosi Democrats lost control of the House and Obama could no longer count on getting his legislative agenda rubber-stamped by Congress.
But rather than reach out to Boehner and the House Republican majority, to find policy issues on which there might be common ground, Obama bashed the loyal opposition in the lower chamber every opportunity he got.
And when House Republicans still refused to get their minds right, Obama decided he would advance his policy agenda by issuing executive orders that had the force of law, effectively abrogating the constitutional power reserved solely to Congress.
So the party of Boehner has a legitimate grievance against the president.
Nevertheless, it would be a huge mistake for the House speaker to pursue his threatened lawsuit against Obama.
That’s because such a legal action would set off a highly partisan, bitterly divisive, uncivil war that Republicans don’t need right now. Indeed, there is an old saying that advises, “When your enemy is in the process of destroying himself, stay out of his way.”
Indeed, Obama is a dead man walking, politically speaking. His disapproval rating is 55 percent, according to the latest Gallup poll. That’s the worst of his presidency.
“Should Obama's approval rating not improve between now and the fall,” said Gallup, “that would certainly weaken Democrats' ability to retain control of the U.S. Senate in this fall's elections.”
So what might help the president improve his approval by the midterm? If Republicans unwisely overplay their hand, unwittingly making Obama a sympathetic figure in the eyes of the American people.
Such was the case for Bill Clinton back in 1998-99.
He was impeached by Boehner and his fellow House Republicans on charges of perjury and obstruction of justice. And he was acquitted by the Senate after its Republican majority came nowhere close to mustering the two-thirds vote necessary to turn Clinton out of the White House.
So turned off were the American people by the GOP-driven impeachment proceedings against Clinton that his approval rating rose to 73 percent, the highest of his presidency.
A Republican lawsuit against Obama may not generate as much goodwill toward the Democrat president as the Republican impeachment did for Clinton.
But it could very well improve Obama’s approval rating to the point that his fellow Democrats manage to hold on to the Senate.
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© 2014, Joseph Perkins