I, Barack Obama

Christian Whiton Christian Whiton was a senior adviser in the Donald Trump and George W. Bush administrations. He is a senior fellow at the Center for the National Interest.
Font Size:

We learned two things today: President Obama can apparently nullify laws he dislikes and he doesn’t much care for questions from mortals, especially the uppity journalists at the Daily Caller.

First off, how un-cool are those reporters? They would have never been allowed into the Choom Gang. And how un-intellectual? They didn’t even edit the Harvard Law Review like a younger Mr. Obama did. It’s a pretty easy job too. He showed you don’t even have to write a single piece to be the editor. Only suckers do that.

Next, how terrific is it that federal law is now just a vague suggestion for presidents? With Mitt Romney having a decent shot of driving the pain train over President Obama and his Democrats in elections this November, we conservatives should start drawing up lists of laws to ignore. For starters, how about the tax code? If President Obama can pick and choose which illegal aliens are exempt from immigration law, why can’t future President Romney decide which taxpayers are exempt from high tax brackets?

For example, President Obama said that illegal aliens who are “dreamers” will be exempted from immigration law by his decree. But what about people who dream of hiring more employees and sending their kids to good schools? It only follows logically that a President Romney could liberate “dreamers” toiling under a crushing federal tax burden set to rise in January.

Think of the good that would come by decreeing all Americans (and illegal alien “dreamers”) are henceforth in the 15% tax bracket? Billions would be saved each year on compliance costs. Massive economy-wide investment would result from an end of the war on wealth-creators. And the fact that you don’t need to bother with Congress is just icing on the cake for the boss man at 1600 Pennsylvania.

What about Americans who dream of getting through the airport without lining up to get groped or imaged in the nude? Surely the law creating TSA can now be bent or ignored as necessary to exempt these dreamers.

And how about the increasingly desperate farmers in central California who dream of surviving despite having their water cut off at the behest of radical environmentalists to preserve the minnow-like Delta Smelt. In the old days, you might have to make the case to Congress that we should take back some of the power handed to the opponents of modern human activity. But now, it takes but the stroke of a pen and a slick — if uncouthly interrupted — speech in the Rose Garden.

And we needn’t be partisan on matters like this, or necessarily confine ourselves to the affairs of government at the federal level. If Democrat John Kerry — undoubtedly a bona fide “dreamer” in his own right — dreams of not paying excise taxes on his $7 million yacht, then presto chango, future President Romney can give him a pass on that law too. See how easy that was?

Maybe we are being too hard on Mr. Obama. He probably has a lot on his mind and he did previously forget that the Supreme Court has the power to nix laws — not him. Perhaps he was drafting a never-published law review article the day they taught law at law school.

Sarcasm aside, this dangerous precedent, which goes against democracy, the rule of law and our Constitution, is also deeply hypocritical. A major battle cry of liberals leading up the election of President Obama was that his predecessor in the White House had aggrandized too much executive power. An opinion piece published by the left-wing New York Times in 2008 summed up the liberals’ theology on the matter: “One of the biggest challenges that will be facing the next president: bringing the United States government back under the rule of law.”

In reality, the rule of law was in much better shape before Mr. Obama’s tenure. His use of White House czars — powerful and unaccountable to the Congress — is worrisome. The passage of Obamacare wasn’t exactly a lesson in transparent, deliberative democracy. He has previously turned his back on laws he dislikes (e.g., the Defense of Marriage Act) rather than seeking their repeal. And now this.

But it was a pretty good day if you’re Obama’s kind of “dreamer” and you were previously impeded by some mere federal law.

Christian Whiton is a former U.S. State Department senior advisor and is a principal at DC International Advisory.