The Obama Inner Circle has raised political diversion to a high artistic level. Whenever news breaks on some inconvenient item, scandal, or crack-brained policy gone awry, the OIC dependably produces a juicy news event which pushes the earlier story off the front pages and down the Memory Hole of Forgotten Scandals (MHOFS). Of course, Mr. Obama didn’t exactly invent this tactic. Whenever one of Bill Clinton’s “bimbo eruptions” occurred, he would order a milk factory to be bombed or a religious compound burned to divert the media’s attention. A 1990s film called “Wag the Dog” celebrated the technique.
The Big O’s political apparatchiks know that the Mainstream Media’s memory-span stretches only until the next big news item breaks – usually a matter of a few days, possibly mere hours. But the public, generally speaking, remembers very little that’s not right out in plain sight on tonight’s news. Some can’t even recall that much. If you’ve ever watched Jesse Watters’ interviews on the street with clueless Ivy League students, you’ll know what I mean. Some of our “brightest and best” have no idea what’s going on or who is running things. The potheads look like they hardly know where they are. It’s not an encouraging prospect for the country’s future. Some of these fools will be in charge in a few years.
Previous articles in this space have discussed some of the diversionary scandals pushed by the Obama White House. There was no shortage of diverting possibilities to draw from: e.g., the IRS targeting of conservative political groups; the Fast and Furious gun-running operation conducted by Eric Holder’s DoJ; spying and warrantless collection of ordinary citizens’ metadata by the NSA; investigation of Fox News reporter James Rosen (who was charged with no crime after his personal correspondence was seized); release of five terrorists from Guantanamo in exchange for apparent Army deserter Bowe Bergdahl; Hillary Clinton’s use of a private e-mail server while she was Secretary of State; payments of billions of dollars by foreign governments to the Clinton Foundation (also while Mrs. Clinton served at State); etc., etc.
Some of these almost certainly involved illegal acts, but none has been truly investigated by Mr. Obama’s Department of Justice. Instead, Attorney General Eric Holder was cited, personally, for Contempt of Congress over his refusal to turn over requested documents pertaining to the Fast and Furious operation. (No legal repercussions ensued for the AG.)
Each new scandal, however, served its purpose of crowding previous scandals out of the news spotlight. There were simply too many scandals for serious journalists to keep up with them. Liberal shills (posing as serious journalists), however, welcomed the flood of scandals as a smokescreen for the Obama presidency. Whatever the Obama Gang wanted to hide would soon become “old news” – just as they intended.
Mr. Obama has been a virtuoso player of the cards in his political deck: i.e., the Race Card, the Heartless Republican Card, the Millionaire/Billionaire Card, and both the Evil George Bush Card and the Stupid George Bush Card. These have allowed him to blame all of the country’s problems, foreign and domestic, on persons or factors outside of his control:
- A poor economy? It’s because of “income inequality” fostered by greedy rich people who refuse to pay “their fair share” of taxes (i.e., 100%) and who hate anyone who doesn’t ride ride around in a limo.
- Trouble abroad? It’s due to George Bush’s policies, including his unnecessary wars.
- Unrest at home? Blame the GOP’s “War on Women” and a deeply ingrained racism that simply won’t let a “person of color” succeed. How Mr. Obama actually gained the presidency in such a racist country is a mystery so profound that he has not even attempted to explain it. (Maybe voters thought he was a just well-dressed but deeply tanned white guy.)
The problem with the scandal-o-rama strategy is that it’s like a drug addiction. Over time, an addict finds that he needs stronger and stronger drugs to achieve the desired effect. This is why marijuana users often move to cocaine, crack and even heroin in their endless search for that nirvana high. Perhaps this explains why Mr. Obama has finally gone after the “big game” in his recent diversionary moves. Instead of floating more garden-variety scandals, he has attacked the federal courts – including the Supreme Court.
Mr. Obama target in the lower courts is the ruling of a Pennsylvania district court judge who blocked the president’s executive order that stopped deportation of illegals and granted them legal status in the USA. In this matter the president had acted entirely on his own authority, without benefit of a Congressional change in standing immigration law.
Pittsburgh-based U.S. District Court Judge Arthur Schwab was the first judge to rule on the legality of Mr. Obama's executive overhaul of immigration law. Judge Schwab ruled that President Obama's order halting deportations for millions of undocumented immigrants violates both the Constitution's separation of powers and its "take care clause" – i.e., the stipulation in Article II, Section 3 that the president “shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed…”
The judge wrote that the president’s action “…goes beyond prosecutorial discretion because: (a) it provides for a systematic and rigid process by which a broad group of individuals will be treated differently than others based upon arbitrary classifications, rather than case-by-case examination; and (b) it allows undocumented immigrants, who fall within these broad categories, to obtain substantive rights.”
Soon after Judge Schwab’s ruling in December 2014, an Obama Justice Department spokesman blasted the opinion, saying it was “unfounded, and the court had no basis to issue such an order.” And recently at a press conference in Germany, Mr. Obama said, “With respect to immigration, obviously, I'm frustrated by a district court ruling that now is winding its way through the appeals process.”
On a Supreme Court case concerning a disputed clause in his signature Affordable Health Care Act, however, the president did not wait for a ruling. Instead, he launched a pre-emptive strike just days before the Court issues its decision on whether AHCA subscribers may receive benefits if they are enrolled through a federal exchange. Although the law’s text clearly prohibits this, the IRS has been issuing subsidies to all enrollees who qualify financially, without respect to whether they enrolled via a federal or state exchange.
Should the Court rule for a strict reading of the law, some 7 million subscribers in 36 states could lose the federal subsidies of their insurance premiums. Some analysts believe a ruling against those subsidies by the Court could actually crash the entire system, since many of those subscribers might no longer find unsubsidized premiums affordable.
In recent statements, Mr. Obama criticized the Court for taking the case at all: “This should be an easy case. Frankly, it probably shouldn’t even have been taken up.” He went on to say that a ruling against the law’s current mode of operation would amount to a “contorted reading of the statute” and a “twisted interpretation.” He warned that such a ruling could cost millions of people their affordable health care coverage, adding that he expects the Court to “play it straight” and approve the law as is.
This is not the first time Mr. Obama has “warned” the Supreme Court not to oppose the legislation he considers his flagship legacy. In 2012 he issued similar statements about to the Court when it was considering Obamacare’s Constitutionality. Although eight of the justices voted as expected, the surprise vote came from Chief Justice John Roberts, who wrote an uncharacteristically convoluted opinion by way of declaring that the law passes Constitutional muster. Despite serious issues related to the law – including a requirement that citizens purchase insurance, as well as the question of whether the law’s fees are really “taxes” – Justice Roberts let the law go through, as written. Why an ostensibly conservative justice would do this remains one of the great political mysteries of our time.
But a deeper question is what went on behind the scenes that propelled the Chief Justice to rule in favor of one of the most controversial laws in history. Was he blackmailed into supporting the law by a threat to reveal an indiscretion from his past? Probably not.
A more likely scenario, in my opinion, might have featured a raspy-voiced Obama operative (perhaps named Guido or Vito) issuing a far more dangerous threat to the Chief Justice – namely, word that Mr. Obama planned to overrule or simply ignore an adverse ruling from the Court. He would implement the law, as planned, and the Court would be powerless to stop him. This would create the Mother of all Constitutional Crises and throw the country into complete turmoil. Charges of racism would be hurled at the justices. The reputation and credibility of the Supreme Court might suffer a mortal wound. Was Mr. Roberts willing to risk all that over a 5-4 vote on an obscure point of law? It’s not hard to see the Chief Justice taking the safe road to protect the Court “for the sake of the country.”
This is pure speculation, of course – including some fairly wild imagination in the “grassy knoll” vein. I don’t insist on it, although it does explain the unexplainable better than many theories – including the one about the Chief Justice being visited by an angel in a dream.
Mr. Obama has shown a tendency to ignore court rulings with which he disagrees. When a court ruled in 2010 that he lacked authority to order stoppage of oil-drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, he responded to the ruling by issuing a new order along the same lines.
It’s not difficult to imagine that POTUS might ignore a ruling by the Supremes on some issue that really matters to him. Obamacare’s continuance could be that issue. If he decides to take that step, all hell will break loose – right on the edge of actual civil war. There’s no telling what might happen, but things will go way beyond polite arguments in the courts. However, you can’t say Mr. Obama didn’t warn the Court. Clearly, he did.
We’re sailing into dangerous, uncharted waters. Batten down the hatches and prepare for a storm.