Even as he stood before the nation seizing power no president possesses rightfully under our Constitution, in a speech so fact-challenged that even the mainstream media has taken note, Barack Obama couldn’t resist trying to goad Republicans. It is the nature of the man.

In his fifteen minute speech on immigration last night, Obama lectured Republicans:   

[D]on’t let a disagreement over a single issue be a deal breaker on every issue. That’s not how our Democracy works, and Congress shouldn’t shut down our government again just because we disagree on this.

He said this even as incoming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has declared that a government shutdown is off the table and Obama knows a shutdown is unlikely. But goading, dividing, and belittling are what this man knows how to do.

Fred Barnes notes this morning that, if there is one thing Obama should have learned from his first term, it is that going it alone on a strictly partisan basis never works. But he never learns.

Senator Jeff Sessions says that with this order Obama is “endangering our entire constitutional order.”

Peggy Noonan declared last night's speech an "act of nihilism."

Keith Koffler of White House Dossier captured the profound sadness of yesterday in a post headlined simply "Today Is a Sad Day:"

As the news broke Wednesday that President Obama would finally do what he has been threatening to do for months, the emotion that gripped me was not the one I expected. It was not anger, not frustration, not sarcasm, and not contempt.

It was just sadness. It was a feeling that something had died.

This is a turning point. This is a new nation. Fundamentally changed.

If we are indeed to become a country in which the chief executive ignores laws and does as he pleases, then we are finished.

Along these lines, I’d like to recommend a book—Anthony Everitt’s Augustus: The Life of Rome’s First Emperor. It is about the fundamental transformation of an earlier republic. You may think that Augustus one woke up to find himself declared emperor. But the changes Augustus wrought were both subtle and unsubtle. His great-uncle Julius Caesar had begun the process of transforming Rome, and the task was complete by the end of Augustus's life. I think of this book often nowadays.