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The imperial president

Cal Thomas's picture

One definition of “imperial” on is, “of the nature or rank of an emperor or supreme ruler.”

At his news conference Monday, a petulant, threatening and confrontational President Obama spoke like an emperor or supreme ruler. All that was missing was a scepter, a crown and a robe trimmed in ermine.

This president exceeds even Bill Clinton in his ability to evade, prevaricate and dissemble. I didn’t think that possible.

Not only did he supply long answers to relatively easy questions, but much of what he said bore no relation to reality.

He spoke of having had the debate over the economy during the 2012 campaign and boasted, “... the American people agreed with me.” By the way, can we now retire the phrase “the American people”? Too many politicians overuse it, including Speaker John Boehner.

Forty-seven percent of voters supported Mitt Romney and other Republicans in the last election. Ninety-four million people eligible to vote didn’t vote. Can Obama really claim “the American people” agreed with him? The president won the election, but he has yet to win the debate over smaller vs. larger government, and more vs. less spending.

The question Major Garrett of CBS News posed to the president on raising the debt ceiling in tandem with spending cuts exposed his hypocrisy and that of many congressional Democrats:

“You yourself, as a member of the Senate, voted against a debt ceiling increase. And in previous aspects of American history, President Reagan in 1985, President George Herbert Walker Bush in 1990, President Clinton in 1997, all signed deficit-reduction deals that were contingent upon or in the context of raising the debt ceiling. You yourself, four times have done that. Three times, those were related to deficit reduction or budget maneuvers. What Chuck (NBC’s Chuck Todd) and I and, I think, many people are curious about is this new adamant desire on your part not to negotiate when that seems to conflict with the entire history of the modern era of American presidents on the debt ceiling and your own history on the debt ceiling. And doesn’t that suggest that we are going to go into a default situation, because no one is talking to each other about how to resolve this?”

The president dissembled, talking again (he repeated this at least three times by my count) about how Congress had authorized all the spending and how we must now “pay our bills.” But as Garrett noted, the president had a different view of the debt ceiling when he was an Illinois senator and voted against raising it. In 2006, he said, “The fact that we are here today to debate raising America’s debt limit is a sign of leadership failure.” Except when he’s the leader, then it’s someone else’s failure.

In 2003, during another debate over raising the debt ceiling, Sen. Max Baucus, D-MT, said, “The federal debt is like the family credit card. Sooner or later you have to pay down the debts that you have already incurred. If you don’t, your credit rating will suffer. The way the government raises the debt limit is also like a family who just keeps calling the bank every time they hit the credit limit and asks the bank over and over again for an increase in their credit limit without regard to anything else. Rather than pay down their debt, they just keep on asking for a higher debt limit.”

Many other Senate Democrats, including Senators Harry Reid, D-NV, and John Kerry, D-MA, shared Baucus’ concerns, but that was during the George W. Bush administration.

The president says he will reduce debt with a “balanced approach,” by which he means offsetting higher taxes on the wealthy with spending cuts, which will never materialize. It won’t work. Whatever tax revenue government manages to save, Congress will always find a way to spend it.

The president has submitted a budget to Congress for each fiscal year he’s been in office, not always on time, in violation of the law, and never without spurring contentious debate in Congress. That’s a staggering repudiation of his leadership.

President Obama will not negotiate about raising the debt ceiling? Not surprising. Imperial leaders don’t negotiate.

[Cal Thomas is America’s most widely syndicated op-ed columnist, appearing in more than 600 national newspapers. He is the author of more than 10 books and is a FOX News political contributor since 1997. Email Cal Thomas at] ©2013 TRIBUNE MEDIA SERVICES, INC.


PTC Observer's picture

“We have always understood that when times change, so must we; that fidelity to our founding principles requires new responses to new challenges; that preserving our individual freedoms ultimately requires collective action. For the American people can no more meet the demands of today’s world by acting alone than American soldiers could have met the forces of fascism or communism with muskets and militias.” President Obama’s Second Inaugural Speech, January 21, 2013.

The message is clear, inviting the opposition to change, he declares with certainty that the founding principles are simply misunderstood by the “opposition”, and they have nothing to do with individual rights only collective rights. They have nothing to do with enduring principles or God given rights, only the collective and pervasive rights of the masses. Rights that are controlled by the majority. It is within some faceless mob called the State where your real power rests he asserts and to survive you must join. It is the state that matters, not the individual you must surrender your individual rights on the altar of re-distributive collectivism to build together a better tomorrow! Each individual must contribute according to their means to those in need and be forced to do so by the state by any means.

The irony could not be more apparent, that on the day that was set aside to honor a man that lead his people out of being second class citizens that were forced to shop, eat and travel in certain ways in American, his protégé pledges to enslave all citizens to the will of the state. That to fight this notion is as outmoded as facing a modern army of collectivists ideas with muskets and militias.

As Mr. Obama left the podium, he turned and looked longingly at the massive adoring audience one last time in front of him, what could have been going through his mind? Could it be a passing thought that sums up his democratic philosophy?

“What good fortune for governments that the people do not think.”

Freedoms once lost are nearly always recovered by blood and suffering, let's pray following the next four years of unbridled theft that we can recover them peacefully.

S. Lindsey's picture

... 2013 is going to be the telling year. We are seeing a major shift away from the individual to the State and Obama is leading the Lemming line.

"Whoever claims the right to redistribute the wealth produced by others is claiming the right to treat human beings as chattel."

-Ayn Rand

What if the country we thought we were serving no longer exists, and the Republic has become the very evil we have been fighting to destroy?

S. Lindsey's picture

...and disagree with most of what he does.

"Whoever claims the right to redistribute the wealth produced by others is claiming the right to treat human beings as chattel."

-Ayn Rand

"You didn't build that!"
"I think when you spread the wealth around, it's good for everybody."
"I mean, I do think at a certain point you've made enough money."
"What do you think a stimulus is? It's spending - that's the whole point! Seriously."

S. Lindsey's picture

...Obama knows the Truth like a Methhead knows the dentist.

He says all the Right things, well sometimes, but then does just the opposite. This 4 years will see the end of that. I expect him to just come out and say he is a Socialist and so what.

"Whoever claims the right to redistribute the wealth produced by others is claiming the right to treat human beings as chattel."

-Ayn Rand

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