Consider, for instance, his frenzied, constitutionally dubious determination to disregard congressional objections with an executive order granting deferred deportation to 5 million illegal immigrants. Then consider how he himself has previously said immigration laws are "very clear," that his job is to "execute" these "congressional mandates," that the "easy way out" would be for him to violate the laws, but that he was "not the emperor of the United States."
Though here assembled in one sentence, those words are from utterances he made on a number of past occasions as recently reported by The New York Times. Though Obama has said that at those times he was referring to a comprehensive revamping of immigration law, the Times says he was responding to questions specifically referring to the kind of action he is now talking about.
So instead of heeding his own admonitions or being brought to reasonableness by a midterm election that should at the least have encouraged attempts at compromise with a new Republican-controlled Congress, he is taking the "easy way out." He is turning to "emperor"-like executive fiat that can squeeze through the courts only as a result of legalistically strained machinations winning out over "very clear laws." There is no hurry, there are additions to his plan that are badly needed for the country's sake, and, in acting with a defiance no precedent equals, he is setting one himself that jeopardizes democracy.
The immensity of this issue is worth pondering, but don't suppose it represents the only Obama piece of detrimental foolishness since the election. He has, for instance, tried very hard to catch up with Hillary Clinton's absurd utterance that businesses don't create jobs. Even while she tried to back up from this anti-capitalist blunder, he was telling us that a blessedly propitious the XL Keystone pipeline would not bring down oil prices because the oil would be sold all over the world.
Excuse me, but the more oil supplied on the global market, the cheaper prices generally are, and, by the way, years of scientific research show this job-producing project is safe and that its product would be hardly a wisp of an environmental problem.
Next we have our busy president asking the Federal Communications Commission to regulate the Internet as a public utility to salvage something called net neutrality, meaning equal treatment of customers by service providers.
It's complicated, but allowing these providers to treat some users differently from other users as a matter of market sense in a competitive industry appears to be little if any threat at all to average users. The government's scarcely infrequent overkill in regulatory schemes, however, could well be a terrible threat. The way of visualizing it is to imagine sitting down at your computer and finding no changes for the worse and sitting down at it and finding the screen mostly covered with irremovable strips of red tape.
Then there's this climate-change deal ever-scrambling Obama made with Chinese officials whose way of keeping promises is not to. China told Obama wink, wink that something nice might happen with its greenhouse gas emissions in 2030 and Obama in effect said America would itself try harder to emit less, meaning we will sacrifice more and compete less. What this is about is lots of hope and very little change from what China would do anyway and what Obama already had in mind to quiet that noisy energy boom.
The upshot of all of this is a president fixed in his error-prone ways and giving political battle priority over negotiation. It would be ruinous if a Republican-controlled Congress responded in kind.