The Cartman Presidency: There Is No Check On President Obama
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The Cartman Presidency: There Is No Check On President Obama

“As promised, President Obama is using executive actions to impose gun control on the nation, targeting the top-selling rifle in the country, the AR-15 style semi-automatic, with a ban on one of the most-used AR bullets by sportsmen and target shooters. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives this month revealed that it is proposing to put the ban on 5.56 mm ammo on a fast track, immediately driving up the price of the bullets and prompting retailers, including the huge outdoors company Cabela's, to urge sportsmen to urge Congress to stop the president… The inexpensive 5.56 M855 ammo, commonly called lightgreen tips, have been exempt for years, as have higher-caliber ammunition that also easily pierces the type of soft armor worn by police, because it's mostly used by target shooters, not criminals. The agency proposes to reclassify it as armor-piercing and not exempt.”

Just another day in the Eric Cartman presidency. Practically speaking, today’s Left finally has the situation it wants: a sufficiently progressive president in his second term is, in effect, an unchecked dictator. The only checks and balances the constitution provides are money, nominations, and impeachment. The political and media climate have removed impeachment as a viable option; nomination disruption is a pathetic response to a president committed to Caesarism – “oh, are you going to block my nominees to DOJ, fine I’ll just ban bullets.” That leaves funding, and Republican leaders have publicly committed themselves not to using that leverage at all.

Barack Obama is basically operating now without any congressional checks and balances whatsoever. There is the Judiciary and nothing else preventing him from doing anything he wants. And there is no reason to believe he will abide by court rulings. Federal law is such a thicket now, and litigation so complicated, that for every door the Courts choose to close, there are dozens of cracked-open windows the Executive can try to pry open. It’s a game of constitutional whack-a-mole, and by the time the court rulings come down, you have to deal with the consequences of the illegal steps the president has taken in the meantime.

Imagine this scenario: what would happen if, tomorrow, President Obama seized control of the Internet, imposed a cap-and-trade scheme, opened the Southern borders, raised the minimum wage, and imposed ENDA through executive fiat? The country might lose its mind – temporarily, until the media assured everyone it was no big deal. But what would Congress do? What could it do? They’ve proven they won’t defund down the relevant agencies. They won’t impeach him. They probably would block Executive and lower-court nominations – though not to the degree of SCOTUS. All that would really happen is that private and state actors would sue him, and Republican leaders would do no more than hope the American people punish Democrats at the polls.

There is a description for such a leader, but it is not a president: it is a monarch, a king who is unchecked by any legislature or bound by any commitment to the rule of law, divorced completely from constitutional limited government. What the Republican Party doesn’t grasp is that Obama is not an outlier – he is the fulfillment of what his backers want. On every assertion of extra-constitutional executive authority, the Democratic Party is on board with what the president is doing. And that is the real danger for the future.

Ben Domenech is the publisher of The Federalist. Sign up for a free trial of his daily newsletter, The Transom.
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