President Barack Obama, once a seemingly laid-back, autocratically minded, economically confused, deceptive, politically klutzy, often naive Big Government worshipper, has changed since an election in which voters said they were dismayed at his doings.
He is not laid back anymore.
Consider, for instance, his frenzied, constitutionally dubious determination to disregard congressional objections with an executive order granting deferred deportation to 5 million illegal immigrants.
Then consider how he himself has previously said immigration laws are “very clear,” that his job is to “execute” these “congressional mandates,” that the “easy way out” would be for him to violate the laws, but that he was “not the emperor of the United States.”
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Those words are from utterances he made on a number of past occasions, as recently reported by The New York Times.
Though Obama has said that he was referring to a comprehensive revamping of immigration law, the Times says he was responding to questions specifically referring to the kind of action he is now talking about.
So instead of heeding his own admonitions or being brought to reasonableness by a midterm election that should at the least have encouraged attempts at compromise with a new Republican-controlled Congress, he is taking the “easy way out.”
He is turning to “emperor”-like executive fiat that can squeeze through the courts only as a result of legalistically strained machinations winning out over “very clear laws.”
There is no hurry, there are additions to his plan that are badly needed for the country’s sake, and, in acting with a defiance no precedent equals, he is setting one himself that jeopardizes democracy.
This is not the only Obama piece of detrimental foolishness since the election.
He has told us, for instance, that a blessedly propitious Keystone XL pipeline would not bring down oil prices because the oil would be sold all over the world.
Excuse me, but the more oil supplied on the global market, the cheaper prices generally are.
Next we have our busy president asking the Federal Communications Commission to regulate the Internet as a public utility to salvage something called net neutrality, meaning equal treatment of customers by service providers.
Allowing these providers to treat some users differently from other users as a matter of market sense in a competitive industry appears to be little if any threat at all to average users.
The government’s scarcely infrequent overkill in regulatory schemes, however, could well be a terrible threat.
Then there’s the climate-change deal ever-scrambling Obama made with Chinese officials.
China told Obama — wink, wink — that something nice might happen with its greenhouse gas emissions in 2030 and Obama in effect said America would itself try harder to emit less, meaning we will sacrifice more and compete less.
What this is about is lots of hope and very little change from what China would do anyway and what Obama already had in mind.
The upshot of all of this is a president fixed in his error-prone ways and giving political battle priority over negotiation.
Jay Ambrose is an op-ed columnist for Tribune News Service. email@example.com