Is Obama this disciplined and clever?

A friend wrote me about Mark Levin’s theory, and now you can read about that theory in this article:

According to sources in Congress and the White House, Barack Obama is preparing to usurp the Constitutional power of Congress to control the purse strings of the federal government. The Obama plan entails using the 14th Amendment of the Constitution to bypass Congress on the upcoming debt ceiling debate and unilaterally raise the debt ceiling without the approval of Congress.

On Thursday Mark Levin cited several Congressional sources who have told him that Obama has no intention of negotiating with Congress on the debt, which is just under $17 trillion, the highest in U.S. history. When unfunded liabilities such as Social Security and Medicare are added in, the real debt is over $125 trillion — a figure so astronomically high that the country has no hope of ever paying it back. Uncontrolled spending has led the nation to this point.

According to Levin, Congressional sources say that Obama does not want any limits on his spending ability, in spite of the fact that the Constitution specifically gives Congress the power to control spending. Further, the use of the 14th Amendment to bypass Congress has never been done before. Thus, such an act would be an entirely new “interpretation” of the 14th Amendment and would raise a plethora of Constitutional issues concerning separation of powers.

Are we paranoid to believe this?  Or are we living in the zone of “even paranoid people have enemies?”  And if he does usurp the House’s power of the purse, do you think the House will respond with a bill of impeachment.

Frankly, when I read that Obama’s hyper-politicized Pentagon is set to court martial military chaplains who are continuing to perform mass, I begin to think that this administration is capable of anything.  (H/T:  Danny Lemieux)  Of course, this could be a hoax.  After all, there is a bill funding the military which would, presumably, keep those chaplains chaplaining.  Indeed, I can’t begin to imagine the outrage should the administration deprive troops of access to mass.

UPDATE:  The Anchoress, who knows these things, tells me that “The masses ARE going on at Quantico and rites like Baptism will go on too, but probably with outside priests or deacons which shouldn’t be a problem.  That press release was updated but apparently some didn’t get it.”

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  • Robert Arvanitis

    Any appearance of “cleverness” is a green-screen CGI fabrication of the old media.
    Discipline?  Perhaps, but only as regards dogma, party loyalty and lemming suicide; e.g. when blue dog and Catholic democrat legislators abandoned both principles and career to shove obamacare down America’s throat.
    But the real issue here is nerve.  And Obama lacks enough nerve to actually attempt such a 14th Amendment stunt.  Can’t do that when you “lead from behind(TM)”

  • JKB

    Obama trying to use the 14th amendment wouldn’t solve the problem as whether such borrowing was legitimate would be in question so default is still possible.  Anyone who took on the debt would not know if their claim was enforceable.  
    As for the chaplains, it is a problem but this one isn’t of Obama but very old laws designed to prevent forced “volunteering” and also members of the executive branch from obligating the government in the absence of appropriations.  The latter was most abused by military officers.  If someone is to blame, blame the lawyers.  Some lawyer is standing by to argue that a GS/contract chaplain who “volunteers” to say Mass did work and must be paid. Civilian GS/contract chaplains can’t be court martialed.  Only military member can be brought to court martial and those members are not impacted by the shutdown since their is no way to furlough  active duty members.  And I’d have to go back to read the law but I don’t think they could be prosecuted under the Anti-deficiency act since they cannot obligate the government, even by working.  They could be subject to disciplinary action if they defy the supervisor who has told them they cannot perform work.  If the supervisor permitted the work, the supervisor coudl be prosecuted.  Worse I suspect would be the directive not to work would be used to argue any claim for pay is invalid.  But only if there is no implication supervisors knew and let the work continue.  

  • Larry Sheldon

    Robert’s answer is more SFW than mine, but I think mine is more to the point:

    I don’t think Obama is nearly clever enough–viz. his performance “off prompter” so to speak.
    But the people with thir hands up his ass making his jaw work certainly are.

  • Mike Devx

    The 14th Amendment, in clearly stating that Congress has the power to enforce the Amendment, just as clearly indicates that the President does NOT.
    Otherwise, the Constitution, in stating that the Senate has the power to ratify treaties, would be giving the House the power to ratify treaties too.  It’s a nonsensical argument.  But would that stop Obama?
    And would that stop John Roberts from somehow, someway, finding a way to grant Obama such a power?  After all, John Roberts (and the leftists on the Court) have told me that just by sitting here and engaging in no activity of any sort, I have to pay a “tax” that someone else doesn’t have to pay.  I have to pay this “tax” because I did not purchase a health care plan that they ordered me to purchase.  Similarly, they can order me to purchase a snowblower, if they wish, or I will have to pay the “non-purchase of a snow-blower tax”.  Or I have to purchase broccoli.  Or solar panels. Or…    Once the precedent has been established – and it has – why not?
    Sorry, I get sidetracked sometimes.  Obama is ambitious enough to want to rule by kingly decree.  He has repeatedly shown he has no respect for Constitutional boundaries on the executive branch.  The only question in his mind is, “Can I get away with it.  Will anyone be able to stop me?”  Paul Krugman, the little ferret, perches on his shoulder whispering in his ear, urging him to “expand the government! expand the government!” (not that Obama needs any encouragement, but his fellow Nobel Prize winner lends such arguments credibility among the credulous.)   Yearly increases in the national debt, for what purpose?  Systemic debt to grow the government, debt that we have absolutely zero intention of ever paying.
    Congress is supposed to be very jealous of its Consitutional powers, and is supposed to fight a tyrannical Executive branch that tries to seize its powers.  But Congress has been deferentially granting the Executive branch the power to actually define the vague laws it passes, for years.  THIS one may be a step obviously too far, though, even for them to stomach.
    And I think enough people would be outraged by Obama making such a blatantly unconstitutional move, that they would flood Congress with enough shouts of outrage so loud that Congress might be compelled to stand up for itself…  So I think the chances are small that it would really happen.
    But I didn’t think our national government could end up owning huge chunks of our auto industry or our health care industry either.

  • JKB

    One hidden fact with the Chaplain issue is how little freedom is permitted in the employer/employee relationship.  How, where and when an employee can work is severely restrained by state and federal government labor agencies. If this were a private employer, permitting an employee to volunteer the services for which they are employed could bring down business crushing fines and penalties.  Even if the employee never complains or otherwise seeks help from the labor departments.  
    Most employees never see the curtailment of freedom.  But employers must be aware of it because if they deviate from the permitted line they can be destroyed by the labor agencies.  

  • Zhombre

    I have no faith that our former “Constitutional law lecturer” POTUS has any profound understanding of, or willingness to adhere to, the Constitution, when doing so impedes his purposes; to reiterate Nat Hentoff, he is the most dangerous and destructive man to ever hold the office. But I see this 14th Amendment tactic as a bridge too far, even for Obama. 

  • jj

    I see little evidence that Obama is particularly ‘clever,’ though he is good at getting his way when dealing with idiots (hi, America!); and if he’s ‘disciplined’ it’s a recent development – look at the way he eats (when left to his own devices), smokes, and his entire performance as a youth, Choom Gang and all.  I don’t know with precision who runs him, but it’s a certainty he doesn’t run himself.
    I would suspect an attack on the Constitution as direct as that might cause even some democrats to examine their rectal-cranial situation.  That might be a bit too on the nose even for offal like most of the senate.  (Not Reid, of course, his familiarity with the Constitution is that he maybe once read about it somewhere, maybe in elementary school.)  But I’d think a move like that could well wake up a few of the rest of them.   And it might cause even Boehner to get serious about firing up an impeachment of the little twerp.
    Could be wrong, but I agree with Zhombre: a bridge too far.

  • beefrank

    Larry’s comment hits the bulls-eye.  Obama’s fortitude is due to the hidden forces who played on America’s ‘racial guilt’ and the liberal media who demonized political opponents, that carried an unqualified, unknown and untested individual to become POTUS.  If it was not for the media fighting for Obama and even speaking for him in the debates, Romney would have won. Add in the IRS, FBI, OSHA, ATF, EPA and possible NSA’s role targeting the opposition at the behest of Obama’s political operatives, it is surprising the victory was not a landslide.  On a minor note, Robert’s reference to ‘lemming suicide’ is another myth created by the media.  In its 1958 production, Disney manufactured the myth placing imported lemmings on snow-covered turntables simulating mass migrations. Lemmings do not commit suicide but do occasionally migrate to areas of lesser population where accidentally deaths naturally occur, i.e., baby birds falling out of nests.

  • Robert Arvanitis

    beefrank – The suicide myth of Arvicolinae Lemmini was disproved long ago. But perhaps we can still ask your indulgence regarding metaphorical use of the same.
    It USED to be true that personal career interests tempered the enthusiasm of even the most dogmatic leftists.
    But with obamacare, there is no denying that scores of democrats put ideology first, above all else.
    So-called “blue dog” fiscal conservative democrats voted lock step for it, despite the waste.  So called believing Christian democrats voted lock step for it, despite the unlimited bloodlust of the late-term post-birth abortionists. Populist democrats supposedly for the blue collar family voted lock step for it, despite the entire left anti-family agenda…
    So more the fool the McCains and Nelsons of the world.  There can never again be a good faith compromise across the aisle.
    It is scorched earth repeal of every left depredation when the election cycle swings the other way and old-media bleating about civility be damned.

  • Ron19

    Just came across this on p. 133, “People of the Lie,” by M. Scott Peck, 1983:
    Be that as it may, the time is right, I believe, for psychiatry to recognize a distinct new type of personality disorder to encompass those I have named evil.  In addition to the abrogation of responsibility that characterizes all personality disorders, this one would specifically be distinguished by:
     (a)   consistent destructive, scapegoating behavior, which may often be quite subtle.
     (b)   excessive, albeit usually covert, intolerance to criticism and other forms of narcissistic injury.
     (c)    pronounced concern with a public image and self-image of respectability, contributing to a stability of life-style but also to pretentiousness and denial of hateful feelings or vengeful motives.
     (d)   intellectual deviousness, with an increased likelihood of a mild schizophreniclike disturbance of thinking at times of stress.

  • Ymarsakar

    I do not believe America has suffered enough or atoned enough for sins and evils done in Vietnam, Rhodesia, and other places for there to be a “turning point”. I don’t think God, even if such an entity exists, can forgive the US for its historical abuse of power. While it was mostly the fault of Democrats, I don’t think the world divides Americans up between the Left and “American patriots” much.
    People haven’t even tried to atone for WACO. They think they will be forgiven? They think they will be allowed to fight the Left? Do they even deserve to fight the Left at this juncture in space time?
    I’m not too sure. Perhaps when patriots tear apart their neighbors and their families that are part of the Leftist alliance, they may once again obtain righteousness, but I doubt anything recent will return righteousness and justice to the American people.
    This isn’t a policy disagreement nor is it a strategic concern over Democrat power and logistics. It’s more of an ethical quandary. Do Americans, who lived in a Golden Age and aided and abetted the Leftist alliance in shattering so many civilizations in recent human history, deserve to get through life with so little suffering, so little torment, and once again obtain their Golden Age after a brief period of struggle?

  • Ymarsakar

    The Leftist alliance is evil and the Islamic empires are their allies. They should all be wiped off the face of existence. I have no doubts about that.
    But I do have doubts about the end game goal of this struggle in the US we call “freedom”. Freedom to be free of our sins? Freedom to avoid atonement? Freedom to avoid paying the cost American power has made so many other humans in this world pay in America’s stead?
    It’s not right. It’s not natural. It’s not sustainable. The universe itself, I feel, will unbalance it and refuse to make it work the way we want it to.

  • Robert Arvanitis

    Ymarsakar – We hold ourselves to a higher standard, and that is right.
    But do not succumb to the fallacy of moral equivalence.
    Oliver Cromwell famously told his portraitist Peter Lely to paint him “warts and all.”
    Alas, writers like Howard Zinn and his ilk press upon us the warts alone.
    It is illegitimate to judge the sweep of American history by the coddled notions of the 21st century Upper West Side leftists.
    I challenge contradiction: in all of history, anywhere on the globe, there is no finer nation than the US.
    We are imperfect, but no one comes closer.

  • Mike Devx

    WEll. Joshuapundit posted to his blog on Friday on this subject.   There’s much good stuff there.  But in particular, he said:
    The next step, of course, is easily predictable. When push comes to shove, if the House Republicans still insist that this president negotiate with them before they OK more debt, it’s very likely he will raise the debt ceiling unilaterally. If it happens that is going to precipitate a major Constitutional crisis.
    Joshuapundit is not prone to hyperventilating.  I take his posts seriously.  If he thinks the president would violate the Constitution in such an outrageous, egregious manner, then perhaps there is something to this.
    There must be some kind of argument flow among modern Constitutional scholars that would make it sound like a ‘reasonable action’ for the president to do this.  (Please note I use the words “modern Constitutional scholar” the way I use the words “modern art”, and I am not being respectful.)

  • Ymarsakar

    I don’t consider the US power making the citizens of the world reliant on US protection as its own welfare program for cripples, a positive thing overall. Netanyahu has to bend knee to extreme indignities just because of US power. Obama can put him on hold in the servant’s corridor without food for hours at a time, and the PM of Israel can’t say anything about it when he thinks Israel’s survival is based upon American support.
    The Left thinks US power is evil because American human progress itself is evil, democracy or no democracy. But the reasons for why Zim is incorrect doesn’t affect the position where America’s light casts the darkest shadow.
    The more good there is in this world, the more well intentions there are to protect people from themselves, the more evil and weakness is produced.
    The Bay of Pigs happened. American Presidents and authorities forcing Rhodesia into an unsustainable position and then collapse, happened. Ruby Ridge and WACO happened. The Left says that this is all the fault of X, whatever X is. And we may argue that it was all the fault of Democrats and the Left in the US. But so long as America has power but does not look in a mirror at its own sins, powerful people will make use of America’s existence and symbol as good, for evil. Evil thus cannot exist without people’s belief in goodness. The UN wouldn’t exist and be raping children, if it weren’t for American money, from American jobs and taxes.
    All of this can no longer be brushed aside as merely Leftist antics. Someone will have to pay the piper, be held responsible, or the US will just break apart on its own fault lines. The reason why it can’t be brushed aside is because so called non Leftists are the ones voting into power, Obama and the rest. When a majority of Americans support evil, who is to say that America Is Not Evil now? Whether that’s the Left’s fault any more, no longer matters.