It was merely a joke, of course, delivered with the President's trademark ear-to-ear grin, but the sentiment no doubt reveals more truth about his mentality than he intended.
For those who missed it, President Obama cracked a joke during French President Hollande's visit to Monticello this week. According to the official White House Press Pool report:
“At 4:45 POTUS and president Hollande walked out from a portico and strolled in Front of your pool with Leslie Bowman, president of the Monticello Foundation. Looking at a terrace she said that Jefferson loved to admire the landscape from there. POTUS said that he’d like to take a look and seemed delighted to 'break the protocol'.
“'That’s the good thing as a President, I can do whatever I want' he quipped, walking to the terrace with his guest and Ms. Bowman. Pool now in the mansion as the leaders will come and visit Jefferson’s study.”
It was merely a joke, of course, delivered with the President's trademark ear-to-ear grin, but the sentiment no doubt reveals more truth about his mentality than he intended. After all, this is the same President Obama who used his State of the Union address to pledge that he will act “with or without Congress” to further his political agenda for the rest of his lame duck term. This is not idle talk, either. So far in his five years in office Obama has issued 168 executive orders (presidential decrees that circumvent the legislative process).
As former Congressman Ron Paul writes in a scathing piece excoriating these executive orders this week:
“Sadly, his [Obama's] pledge to use his pen to implement laws and policies without the consent of Congress not only received thunderous applause from representatives of the president’s party, some representatives have even pledged to help Obama get around Congress by providing him with ideas for executive orders. The Constitution’s authors would be horrified to see legislators actively aiding and abetting a president taking power away from the legislature.”
And Obama's claimed authority as President goes even further. This is the president, after all, who signed the NDAA 2012 with its provision allowing him (and any future president) the power to have the military detain anyone (including American citizens), anywhere (including on American soil), and to hold them indefinitely. This is also the president who has weekly meetings to discuss a secret kill list, which includes the names of American citizens who have been deemed “threats” to the country and whom he claims the power to kill on command without trial.
These are not the powers of a president, but a Caesar.
If only all of this could be blamed on Obama or on the Democrats, then perhaps there would be some hope. But as Paul, a former Republican, goes on to note in his piece, the concentration of power in the executive branch is by no means limited to Democrats or Obama personally, and in fact is most obviously flaunted by the neocons, who continue to scheme for the Oval Office in 2016.
These are dark days for the American Republic, and we can only echo the sentiment conveyed in the title to Ron Paul's essay: “Will No One Challenge Obama’s Executive Orders?”