A lame duck country?
Pundits are pointing to President Barack Obama's recent decline in public opinion polls and saying that he may now become another “lame duck” president, unable to accomplish much during his final term in office.
That has happened to other presidents. But it is extremely unlikely to happen to this president.
Once the country becomes disenchanted with a president during his second term, Congress has little incentive to cooperate with him — and, once Congress becomes uncooperative, there is little that a president can do on his own.
That is, if he respects the Constitution.
President Obama has demonstrated, time and again, that he has no respect for the Constitution's limitations on his power.
Despite his oath of office, to see that the laws are faithfully executed, Obama has unilaterally changed welfare reform laws by eliminating the work requirement passed by Congress during the Clinton administration.
He has repeatedly and unilaterally changed or waived provisions of the ObamaCare law passed by Congress during his own administration.
Obama has ordered Border Patrol agents not to carry out provisions of the immigration laws that he does not like. We see the results today in the tens of thousands of illegal immigrants entering the country unimpeded.
Why do we have a Constitution of the United States if a president can ignore it without any consequences?
The Constitution cannot protect our rights if we do not protect the Constitution. Freedom is not free, and the Constitution is just some words on paper if we do not do anything to those who violate it.
What can ordinary citizens do?
The most important thing voters can do is vote against anyone who violates the Constitution. When someone who has violated the Constitution repeatedly gets re-elected, then the voters are accomplices in the erosion of protection for their own freedom.
Laws without penalties are just suggestions — and suggestions are a pitiful defense against power.
After voters have failed to protect the Constitution, the last-ditch remedy is impeachment. But Barack Obama knows that he is not going to be impeached.
Who wants to provoke a constitutional crisis and riots in the streets? And, worst of all, end up with Joe Biden as president? Some cynics long ago referred to Barack Obama's choice of mental lightweight Biden to be his vice president as “impeachment insurance.”
With neither the Constitution, nor the voters, nor the threat of impeachment to stop him, Barack Obama has clear sailing to use his powers however he chooses.
Far from seeing his power diminish in his last years, President Obama can extend his power even beyond the end of his administration by appointing federal judges who share his disregard of the Constitution and can enact his far-left agenda into law from the bench, when it cannot be enacted into law by the Congress.
If Republicans do not win control of the Senate in this fall's elections, a Senate controlled by Majority Leader Harry Reid can confirm judges who will have the power to extend Obama's agenda and complete the dismantling of constitutional government.
Far from being a lame duck president, Obama can make this a lame duck democracy.
Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Pirates inquire about Red Sox LHP Lester
- IceoPlex owner indicted, accused of avoiding $1M in payroll taxes
- Former walk-ons may lose scholarships under Penn State’s Franklin
- Police investigate how woman fell onto CMU apartment roof
- Police: Westmoreland women stole thousands to pay for dog show hobby
- McCandless OKs land development plan for potential Wal-Mart
- U.S. Steel’s 2Q loss beats analysts’ estimates
- Some Carnegie residents without Verizon landline service
- Pittsburgh Brewing tries to reconnect with region, return to glory days
- Steelers hoping that youth movement breathes life into team
- Water main break closes Upper St. Clair road