Obama builds his own ‘imperial Presidency’

Candidate Barack Obama promised to eliminate the imperial Presidency of George W. Bush but President Obama has become an extension of the expanding power of the executive branch. He is trapped not only by a Presidency he did not create but also by one he cannot control and now uses to his political advantage.

Bush reinterpreted laws with widespread use of “signing statements.” Obama ordered federal workers to ignore Bush’s signing statements and then started issuing his own. His first signing statement give him the right to bypass provisions and limitations of a $410 government spending bill he signed into law.

Obama is bypassing Congressional review of his nominees through the use of “czars” that do not require confirmation. He has no qualms about using the power of his office when it serves his needs.

It is a trap that Bush fell into into and now appears to have snared a compliant and willing Obama.

Writing in The New York Review of Books, journalist-historian Garry Willis concludes:

George W. Bush left the White House unpopular and disgraced. His successor promised change, and it was clear where change was needed. Illegal acts should cease—torture and indefinite detention, denial of habeas corpus and legal representation, unilateral canceling of treaties, defiance of Congress and the Constitution, nullification of laws by signing statements. Powers attributed to the president by the theory of the unitary executive should not be exercised. Judges who are willing to give the president any power he asks for should not be confirmed.

But the momentum of accumulating powers in the executive is not easily reversed, checked, or even slowed. It was not created by the Bush administration. The whole history of America since World War II caused an inertial transfer of power toward the executive branch. The monopoly on use of nuclear weaponry, the cult of the commander in chief, the worldwide network of military bases to maintain nuclear alert and supremacy, the secret intelligence agencies, the entire national security state, the classification and clearance systems, the expansion of state secrets, the withholding of evidence and information, the permanent emergency that has melded World War II with the cold war and the cold war with the “war on terror”—all these make a vast and intricate structure that may not yield to effort at dismantling it. Sixty-eight straight years of war emergency powers (1941–2009) have made the abnormal normal, and constitutional diminishment the settled order.

The truth of this was borne out in the early days of Barack Obama’s presidency. At his confirmation hearing to be head of the CIA, Leon Panetta said that “extraordinary rendition”—the practice of sending prisoners to foreign countries—was a tool he meant to retain. Obama’s nominee for solicitor general, Elena Kagan, told Congress that she agreed with John Yoo’s claim that a terrorist captured anywhere should be subject to “battlefield law.” On the first opportunity to abort trial proceedings by invoking “state secrets”—the policy based on the faulty Reynolds case—Obama’s attorney general, Eric Holder, did so. Obama refused to release photographs of “enhanced interrogation.” The CIA had earlier (illegally) destroyed ninety-two videotapes of such interrogations—and Obama refused to release documents describing the tapes.

8 Responses to "Obama builds his own ‘imperial Presidency’"

  1. woody188  September 29, 2009 at 12:11 am

    I’ve been aware for nearly a decade, though I was unsure and afraid until 2004. I thought I was paying attention but turns out I was just a willing pawn.

    No one individual should shoulder all the blame. They’ve been at it long before we were even born. But it’s time to man up and take responsibility. I’d rather lose it all a free man than continue a slave.

  2. bryan mcclellan  September 28, 2009 at 10:01 pm

    To use their words,
    There be few coats of many colors amongst us, though we appear to have many while you’re not looking in. We’re trying to put color into what is plain black and white, and you now see the result of it with zero power to say boo.
    In and of that crime it is known the simple effort of splitting reality and flinging it past the masses is an easy sell with unparalleled success, a non deliverable pair of realities, matter – anti-matter are getting dimensionally nearer by way of , wedging peoples betwixt indentured, and broke.
    When followed to the letter of the Constitution the tool as it is has become dull, proving it still takes craftsmen to keep it sharp.
    I should be horse whipped for not paying better attention.

  3. almandine  September 28, 2009 at 10:08 pm

    Not to worry, there’s plenty of horse whipping left to go around.

  4. Carl Nemo  September 29, 2009 at 1:19 am

    Hi Woody188,

    Woody, it’s near impossible to organize a nation of unread, uninformed, docile “chickenheads” to revolution.

    This paradigm is going to fail as a function of a failed currency; ie., hyperinflation, huge civil unrest as a function of a busted buck with finally the statues being toppled; ie., the very pillars of our nation’s Capitol, no different than the Berlin Wall rent asunder by a rabidly angry populace with intent to render justice upon these knaves that we call leaders.

    We’re in the countdown mode to midnight! Our criminal leaders and their shadowy controllers have sown the wind; unfortunately we are “all” soon to reap the whirlwind of their criminal behavior and our collective passivity…! : |

    Carl Nemo **==

  5. woody188  September 29, 2009 at 2:07 pm

    That is their plan Carl. I’m hoping to be a part of a movement that will resist violence and turn things around without the loss of our country. I believe once the poo hits the fan and the truth becomes undeniable that it won’t be so hard to motivate folks. I am certain we will be countered with violence. I am certain some will sacrifice their very lives. But I’m also certain it’s worth the sacrifice to maintain our rights under God.

    Just look at all those out there already aware despite the propaganda. Gives me hope.

  6. Carl Nemo  September 28, 2009 at 11:41 am

    Maybe the President and our rogue Congress should start wearing robes, sandals and laurel wreaths upon their heads in order to create the proper ambiance for this engineered, imperial presidency…no?! /:|

    Carl Nemo **==

  7. Warren  September 28, 2009 at 4:36 pm

    Constitutional government in the U.S. seems to be on a slippery slope with little hope of climbing back up and no ledges on the way to the bottom. When a ‘president’ can act outside of constitutional checks and balances with impunity he becomes a ruler, not a president. He may be a benevolent monarch at best, a tyrannical dictator at worst – but he is not a president.

    —W—

  8. woody188  September 28, 2009 at 9:25 pm

    This leaves the People as the last check according to our Constitution. Those that have been around here no I’m not talking about voting. Will we demand a return to law and order?

    Or will we be “good Americans” and just let things continue?

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    Our Liberties We Prize and Our Rights We Will Maintain

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