The Swing Is The Thing

Can there be a more demonstrable revelation of character than the President’s performance on Tuesday?

Following what passes for a bi-partisan effort to address immigration reform growing out of the Senate, including staunch supporters of the President in the person of Senators Schumer and Durbin, the President absolutely had to wade in; simply could not help himself. “Let no event or situation pass absent my speechifying”.

One can visualize the orders to staff. “Quick, I need a speech on immigration reform, I can’t let those bastards in the Senate expedite my lame duck status by getting ahead of me; we can’t actually have what we’ve been begging for; bi-partisanship, that simply won’t fly. I’m trying to kill off Republicans and Congressional Democrats are making common cause, on immigration of all things. Unacceptable, get me that speech”. Superman dons his cape and soars to the teleprompter.

People who understand leadership would have supported the effort by Congress to address the issue and pledged White House support by way of a Press Secretary, it would not be necessary to jump into the middle, having done little more than politicize the issue during the campaign. That, however, is not our Presidents modus operandi; it has to be about him. Reporting has it that Democrats begged the President not to get involved, especially at this point in time. To my Democratic friends I say again, the President is focused on ……. wait for it……. the President!

Sorry it’s not about you, it’s about him. The genesis of an Imperial presidency writ large is a question of attitude and perception and we have the seed corn for that unacceptable possibility sitting in the White House. Yesterday’s demonstration was yet another example of the President’s need for an audience, nothing new of substance to contribute: no actual legislative proposals, no newly creative thinking on how to address the issue. Just another unnecessary speech, and an excuse to hit the road!

Again, to my Democratic friends stop, think and ask yourself a simple question. What happens if the President succeeds in bending the Constitution to his will and expands the realm of executive powers? What happens to your perception of those powers when the pendulum swings and a Conservative takes the White House with the same executive powers that President Obama desires?

It’s not party or ideology, it’s the protections of the Constitution that are in all of our interests. Politics is transient, things swing both ways. Democrats demonized President Bush and his application of executive power, the President aspires to go well beyond that. Our history tells us, without question, that the political winds change, the only bulwark against overreach in either direction is a renewed understanding and embrace of Constitutional limitations.

There will never be a permanent political majority in America despite best efforts by both parties to achieve that goal; Carter to Reagan/Bush to Clinton to Bush to Obama. Quite a swing there over thirty years and there is no reason to think the swings will end with President Obama.

What looks and sounds good now could easily be in your opponents hands in the future, where it won’t look or sound so good anymore!