There’s an old joke that the definition of quandary is when your mother-in-law drives off a cliff in your new car.
But since I’m not married, I can’t use that joke.
Besides, I’m a policy wonk, so the type of quandary that catches my attention is when the Obama Administration delays big parts of Obamacare (hooray!), but does so by cavalierly deciding to disregard the law (boo!).
Unfortunately, this isn’t a joke.
I wrote about this topic last month and asserted that one of “the defining characteristics of a civilized government is adherence to the rule of law.”
Why is this important? Here’s some of George Will’s analysis of how Obama is subverting the law.
President Obama’s increasingly grandiose claims for presidential power are inversely proportional to his shriveling presidency. …at last week’s news conference he offered inconvenience as a justification for illegality. …Serving as props in the scripted charade of White House news conferences, journalists did not ask the pertinent question: “Where does the Constitution confer upon presidents the ‘executive authority’ to ignore the separation of powers by revising laws?” The question could have elicited an Obama rarity: brevity. Because there is no such authority.
Will then cites the infamous example of Nixon arguing that, “when the president does it, that means it is not illegal” and compares that to Obama’s lawlessness.
Nixon’s claim, although constitutionally grotesque, was less so than the claim implicit in Obama’s actions regarding the ACA. Nixon’s claim was confined to matters of national security or (he said to Frost) “a threat to internal peace and order of significant magnitude.” Obama’s audacity is more spacious; it encompasses a right to disregard any portion of any law pertaining to any subject at any time when the political “environment” is difficult.
And he also dings Obama for creating – out of thin air – a special handout for members of Congress and their staffs.