One of the striking things about the Left is just how much they model their tactics on those they swore Nixon used against them back in the last Great Liberal Awakening. Even forty years ago, when the Left was in a panic over Tricky Dick, their charges sounded more like a revenge fantasy than plausible reality. By that, I mean they were accusing Nixon of what they would do if only they were in his position.
A good recent example is Obama’s “Executive Amnesty” that was just blocked by the courts. This is reminiscent of Nixon’s use of impoundment, the power of the executive to not spend appropriated funds. In theory it gives the executive the opportunity to reign in nutty ideas funded by Congress. In practice, it was simply a way for a president to block spending on something he did not want.
The paranoia of the Left about Nixon, the imaginary one not the real one, led to the Impoundment Act of 1974. This stripped the power from the executive. Like most of what the Left claimed about Nixon, they imagined he was doing what they would do if they had the chance. In reality, Nixon’s use of impoundment was trivial.
The Left claimed Nixon was trying to be an emperor, which is always a concern in our form of government. There’s a balance between the executive, legislative and judicial. Giving the president too much power runs the risk of sublimating the other two branches to the whims of a temporary dictator. A degree of paranoia about what the executive is doing or planning is probably healthy.
Of course, no such paranoia exists now because Obama is the leader of the Cult of Modern Liberalism. The Führerprinzip has always been very strong with American Progressives. Just look at how they rallied to defend Bill Clinton, despite knowing he violated holy writ. With Obama, it is off the charts because they truly think he is Chocolate Jesus. There’s nothing the man could do to shake their faith in The One. Naturally, they are defending his lawless amnesty to the last man.
Yesterday I got home and flipped on the news. A Greg Gutfeld show was on and one of the people on the set with him was repeating the old line about Obama’s amnesty relying on the precedent of Reagan. It is nonsense and a lie, but the Cult believes it so they keep chanting it nonetheless. The striking thing about what the woman was saying is just how much it reminded me of the Nixon years. Nixon was no Boy Scout and he often justified his actions by comparing them to past liberal presidents. This tactic sent the Left into a frenzy. He was trolling them, in a way.
Here we are forty years later and the Cult is doing all the things Nixon did, plus the things they imagined Nixon wanted to do , but never got around to doing. The IRS scandal is a good example of how Obama is making Nixon look like a piker. Having the DOJ harass reporters as Obama has done would have led to massive protests in the 1970’s, championed by every news organization in the country. Today they defend it because it is their cult and that’s how cults work.
This amnesty stuff is more striking in that it gets to the heart of the liberal brief against Nixon. That is, an Imperial President inevitably leads to an Emperor. It was not what Nixon did that warranted removal; it was what he could do that warranted removal. The justification for pushing through The Impoundment Act was that Nixon, in the midst of Watergate, could not be trusted with that power.
Fast forward forty years and we have Obama claiming he can re-interpret laws in ways that clearly contradict the letter of the law. In this case, he says can direct federal agencies to not enforce certain criminal statutes and direct other agencies to ignore certain legal requirements. There’s no discussion of a limiting principle, which means there is no boundary to this authority. Logically, what they are claiming is the president could stop the FBI from arresting bank robbers and order prosecutors to drop all their criminal cases. In short, he can re-write the laws as he sees fit.
Interestingly, someone in the administration sees the problem and the risk of such an approach. If you read the judges ruling, it appears Obama never actually signed an executive order, which is a legally recognized document. Instead, he ordered DHS to issue a memorandum. The judge wrote that “both sides agree that the president in his official capacity has not directly instituted any program at issue in this case.”
Later he writes, “Regardless of the fact that the Executive Branch has made public statements to the contrary, there are no executive orders or other presidential proclamations or communiqué that exist regarding DAPA. The DAPA memorandum issued by Secretary Johnson is the focus in this suit.”
This is something even Nixon, the imaginary one concocted by the Left, was never able to conjure. Here we have the president saying he has issued an order, when in fact he did not. Of course, the reason for lying to the public is to deceive, something Tricky Dick was accused of in the Articles of Impeachment drawn up by Congress. Not actually issuing the executive order is an obvious attempt to shield the president from legal jeopardy. Again, that’s a degree of slipperiness Nixon could not imagine.