Are we watching the meltdown of Barack Obama, soon to become a radioactive pile from which voters will run come November? Or are we instead witnessing the stirrings of a kind of political phoenix heretofore unseen in American history?
By any traditional measure, news in the past week or two alone should sink Barack Obama's chances for a second term. First, Obama biographer Stanley Kurtz reported new and definitive proof that, as a 34-year-old embarking on his political career, Obama belonged to the anti-capitalist -- indeed, socialist -- New Party, a phase of his political development he has not only never repudiated but also has hidden from the American people. By any traditional measure, such news would at least intensify any Obama meltdown. But wait. Kurtz and other researchers discovered this fact back in 2008, only to be smeared by the Obama campaign as not wrong but "crackpot." They were right all along and deserve an apology. (Don't hold your breath.)
Do Obama and his campaign get away with lying about this key entry in the president's political resume? Does Obama get away with having masked his early efforts to socialize America? So far, even against the backdrop of imploding European socialism, the answers are "yes."
Next, there was the president's Rose Garden amnesty of June 15. That's when the president seized legislative powers by declaring a brand-new law to exempt an entire class of illegal aliens -- those 16 to 30 years old -- from deportation laws enacted by Congress. Frankly, revolutions have started over shorter dictatorial overreach. As kids in elementary school should know, but aren't taught -- no time with all those sex-ed and "green" energy requirements -- the executive branch doesn't make law; it executes it. Even Barack Obama has repeatedly made the point.
What changed? The conventional wisdom, assuming the White House is in political "panic," explains this presidential diktat as a desperate act of pandering to anti-immigration-law Hispanic voters. No doubt. But as Mark Krikorian noted at National Review Online: "One needs to ask why the White House thought it could get away with such a shocking power grab. And the answer is that no one stopped them before, so they figured ... they could go further."
Was the White House right? Opposition hasn't coalesced -- let alone any volcanic eruptions of good, old-fashioned outrage -- and that's putting it mildly. Thus, 130-plus days from the election, the New Party emeritus president has grabbed powers that not only tighten the already constricted job market for the American unemployed, but make mincemeat of the Constitution, trample national sovereignty and advance the erosion of our once-beloved English-speaking culture (the love that really dares not speak its name). Meltdown, right?
Nope. The only villain of the piece to emerge is Neil Munro of The Daily Caller, who interrupted the president's press audience (no questions, please) to hurl the issue of jobs for Americans (not for foreigners already illegally exploiting the U.S. taxpayer) into the mix. Off with his head, cried the prObamedia, echoes reverberating. To his everlasting credit, Munro's editor, Tucker Carlson, defiantly announced he would instead give Munro a raise. The echo-chamber narrative, however, was set. Obama did the right thing, "everyone" said, notwithstanding all that rude, right-wing "heckling."
Which brings us to this week. After House Republicans on the Oversight and Government Reform Committee took the unprecedented step of voting Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress for withholding documents relevant to its investigation of the Fast and Furious "gun-walking" operation, President Obama invoked "executive privilege," dropping the dubious mantle of secrecy over all the documents in question.
This time, House Republicans and media conservatives hit the roof. But what of the great national echo chamber?
It hit the mute button. The Washington Post, still brushing Watergate anniversary confetti from its hair, reported on Page A1 that this assertion of presidential privilege at the climactic moment of Congress' 16-month investigation simply "reignited a long-running Washington debate over the limits of White House power." In other words, ho-hum. The story sits low in The New York Times' online queue, with a headline winding up the perfect PrObamedia pitch: "House Panel Vote Steps Up Partisan Fight on Gun Inquiry." "Partisan fight," of course, is New York Times-ese for "heckling."
So is the president melting down or rising like a phoenix? For a socialist with dictatorial inclinations -- or is that a dictator with socialist inclinations? -- he's shockingly buoyant in the polls. Watch out, lovers of constitutional liberty: Unless We, the people, make ourselves heard, this rara avis could still take flight.