Columnist Michael Barone coined the term “gangster government” to describe the White House’s ignoring bankruptcy law by putting its union buddies ahead of the creditors who were legally owed money during the auto bailout. Two more examples of the habit of ignoring laws unpleasant to the administration are noted in columns today.
Karl Rove points out that President Obama is disregarding a law requiring him to send to Congress a plan to correct the situation if Medicare trustees forecast that the program will require general revenue for more than 45 per cent of its spending. The president hasn’t bothered. Rove notes:
The president, a former University of Chicago lecturer on constitutional law, sees the statute books as a legal cafeteria from which he can pick laws he will and won’t follow. A largely compliant media and acquiescing congressional Democratic allies let him get away with making a mockery of his pledge of “transparency and the rule of law.”
Whatever you think about the War Powers Act, it is the law. Or it was the law before President Obama decided to dispense with it. It required that a president obtain congressional approval within sixty days of launching any military action. The Libyan conflict began 80 days ago. In the past presidents may have gotten around the law, but they found ways to humor Congress. Nobody just ignored it-until President Obama came along. Rich Lowry notes:
President Obama is dispensing with all pretense. He’s simply ignoring the law. This is the kind of highhandedness that Dick Cheney was always accused of, although the Bush administration was old-fashioned enough to get prior congressional approval of its wars.
Obama launched the Libya War on his say-so, and doesn’t even want to bother to explain to Congress why the War Powers Act doesn’t apply to a conflict begun some 80 days ago. On Libya, the Obama administration is making a gigantic rude gesture to Congress and all the liberal professors and national-security experts who have made such a fetish of the War Powers Act through the years.
Rich, incidentally, believes the War Powers Act should be a “dead letter,” but Jeffrey Anderson strongly disagrees. (While we’re on the subject, did I mention that we’re also in a fourth war in Yemen? Shhh–it’s a secret. The president plumb forgot to mention it.)
If a new president is inaugurated in 2013, the first order of the day must be to restore adherence to the law-probably the second should be to get rid of a lot of laws that require a great deal of meaningless red tape for citizens. But restoration of the rule of law comes first.