Possibly the most illuminating lesson is this past week’s White House threat to veto legislation delaying the Obamacare employer mandate for one year. That legislation would accomplish lawfully what the administration claims to have already done by unilateral executive fiat, that is, illegally.
We can think of one reason for such superficially bizarre behavior. To sign such a bill (it passed the House 264-161 last Wednesday (with 35 Democrats joining majority Republicans,) would be to admit that rewriting federal law requires congressional action; it can’t be done at the whim of a—dare we say it?—dictator.
The Obama administration’s daily misconduct raises legitimate questions as to whether they are actually incompetent, ignorant of the rule of law and constitutional separation of powers, or whether they’re fully cognizant of those things and betting the ranch they can press forward with lawless, unconstitutional abuses without fear that anyone will have the political fortitude to stop them.
Episodes like last week’s veto threat point strongly toward the latter; an administration that clearly understands it must bluff its way past any restraint on its powers, lest it forfeit the chance to carry out its agenda of anti-constitutional lawmaking by presidential decree.
In modern Western societies, dictatorships don’t spring into being overnight, nor can they take root if at some point people say, “You have too far and will go no farther.” People who fear the risk and inconvenience of taking a stand more than they fear living at the whim of a dictatorship tend to get one.