When I was growing up we used to make fun of countries in Central and South America for the flimsy governments that were run by two-bit dictators who made up the script as they went along. In fact, we made so much fun of these operations that Woody Allen made a movie in 1971 called Bananas which parodied the governments and their haphazard operations. It is probably considered insensitive today to even refer to our southern friends in such terms. More importantly, the question is: How much are we becoming a similar operation?
This is not to state that the root cause of this problem is President Obama. Presidents have been at odds with Congress regarding the powers of the presidency since time began (1789). Early on it was more a process of defining who could do what. In recent times, it has seemed to people and scholars on both sides of the aisle that executive power has expanded at the expense of the Congress with a short turnaround in the mid 1970’s in the aftermath of Watergate. However, the current president has exerted executive power to the 10th degree bringing us the edge of a constitutional crisis.
Since January 2011 when Mr. Obama no longer had a majority in both houses of Congress, he has told the Congress on too many occasions that he will do what he wants and they cannot stop him. Instead of attempting to negotiate a deal with the Republicans who very actively want to structure a multi-faceted immigration reform program, Mr. Obama told them to stick it in their ear and “legalized” five million people here in America illegally. That caused 26 states to sue him and have the program put on hold. He followed that up by negotiating an agreement with a dangerous adversary, Iran, and made blatant he intends to circumvent the Congress.
What fascinates me is how some members of Congress are willing to take this kick in the teeth and some will actually defend being emasculated. Members of the House, like Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Luis Gutierrez (D-IL), encouraged Mr. Obama to steal their power. In the Senate, there is a bill still pending called Corker-Menendez which would allow Congress 60 days to review any nuclear deal struck with Iran before its implementation, but the White House immediately issued a veto threat. It has been announced the sponsors have 64 supporting senators. What are the other 36 senators thinking? It is their right under Article II Section 2 of the Constitution to advice and consent on this agreement. Why would they abdicate this responsibility? Why does the Senate even have to have such a bill since their obligation is in the Constitution? If this is not evidence of us becoming a banana republic, then what other evidence does one need?
A number of senators, instigated by Tom Cotton (R-OK), signed a letter addressed to the Iranian leader telling him the deal he is negotiating has no validity beyond January 20, 2017, when a new president can kill it if it is not “ratified” by the U.S. Senate. Other than being called traitors, they were also called wrong by some pusillanimous scholars for using the word ratify. In plain speak, the agreement, treaty, or friendship melding does not have any standing in the United States unless approved by the two-thirds of the U.S. Senate. The “traitors” got the Obama Administration to come clean and not only say they don’t intend to negotiate a real treaty and they are taking it to the U.N. and not the U.S. Senate for approval. Yes, we appear to be becoming a banana republic where the President circumvents Congress and the courts.
We, the public, are responsible more than the politicians. Recently Paul Begala, who was an adviser to then-President Clinton and now shops his wares on CNN, stated this in Politico about the Hillary email controversy: "Voters do not give a sh--. They do not even give a fart ... Find me one persuadable voter who agrees with HRC on the issues but will vote against her because she has a non-archival-compliant email system and I'll kiss your ass in Macy's window and say it smells like roses." I am not quite sure he is correct, but for many people his statement rings true.
That anyone would not question why she wiped clean a hard drive that she was supposed using in coordination with a former president baffles me. That she did something that anyone else does only when disposing of an old computer is prima facie evidence of her culpability. It also defines how low her regard is for the American people and their concern for the Republic.
It boggles the imagination that anyone would give this woman a pass on such a significant flaunting of her responsibility to provide a trail of her activities to the American people. Quizzically, she believes that she could function in such an essential position and keep her communications on her own system. That her desire to control the nature of such communications was so paramount that she was willing to expose her communications to international hackers from questionable adversaries such as North Korea, China, or Iran and that someone might find that acceptable lowers our body politic to depths I never conceived possible.
All of this with barely a peep from Obama who knew she was using a private email address the entire time she was his secretary of state – he received her emails.
We will survive as a nation beyond this president. But the harm that is being caused to our constitution will be permanent. Many will rue the day that let Obama take our country down this road.