President Obama seems determined to leave office ungracefully … spending his lame duck time igniting a steam of transitional stink bombs to welcome the President-elect.
Or, as pundits like to say (when somebody other than Obama is doing it): “taking unprecedented unilateral action”.
Those who are gleefully cheering him on, should keep in mind that what goes around, comes around.
Some day, Trump may be in a lame duck period with a Dem president-elect ready to launch.
When he starts complicating life for the president-to-come, today’s cheer squad will have no legitimacy to whine.
Obama’s recent power plays reminded me of a “must read” opinion piece in the Washington Post archives.
The article was penned by left-leaning GWU law professor Jonathan Turley
Turley has long been warning that Dems may think it is clever and appropriate when Obama circumvents the Congress and courts to implement his partisan policies, but that they should be forewarned that what goes around, come around.
Specifically, he says:
Democrats have supported President Obama’s claims of unchecked authority in a variety of areas.
Obama has been particularly aggressive in his unilateral actions.
From health care to immigration to the environment, he has set out to order changes long refused by Congress.
Thrilled by those changes, supporters have ignored the obvious danger that they could be planting a deeply unfortunate precedent if the next president proves to be a Cruz or Trump rather than a Clinton.
While the policies may not carry over to the next president, the powers will.
The Obama model will be attractive to successors who, although they may have a different agenda, have the same appetite for unilateral decisions.
Here are some specifics that he cites:
Most of the GOP candidates oppose the Affordable Care Act.
Assuming that Democrats have enough votes in Congress to prevent a repeal, the next president might be tempted to refuse to defend the law against court challenges, under the view that the law is unconstitutional.
The Obama administration did that with the Defense of Marriage Act, announcing in 2011 that the Justice Department would no longer defend the statute.
President-elect Trump wants to cut corporate income taxes.
Just as the Obama administration claimed discretion to delay enforcement of the health-care law’s employer mandate and to defer the deportation of some undocumented immigrants, President Trump might be inclined to use his executive discretion to extend, perhaps indefinitely, the deadline for corporate income tax payments.
Likewise, Trump could order prosecutors not to charge, or to reduce the charges associated with, certain corporate offenses, as Obama did with some nonviolent drug crimes.
Virtually all of the GOP candidates called for the repeal or weakening of Dodd-Frank, the financial reform law designed to curb abuses by big banks.
President Trump might be inclined to declare that banks are not required to fulfill certain obligations under the law.
Consider the Obama administration’s treatment of the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program.
TANF was signed by President Bill Clinton to condition receipt of welfare benefits on work (or preparing for work). The Obama administration, however, told states that it would waive that requirement.
Turley also cites examples and precedents regarding climate change, abortion rights, religious freedom, free-speech and more,
Trust me, the entire article is worth reading and bookmarking.
Liberals will squeal if what went around comes around.