Boehner should not honor Obama’s lawlessness

President Obama’s veto threat of the Upton bill to legally do what he is trying to do by illegal means, delay the individual mandate, has firmly established a sad fact. The United States has a lawless president. Impeachment would be a three ring circus and unlikely to be worth the effort. President Obama has indeed not let a crisis go to waste and is trying to legitimize presidential lawlessness by picking a test case where the he is doing lawlessly what the Congress wishes to do lawfully. It’s a threat of precedent, not a present threat to the lives and health of anyone today.

A more appropriate response than impeachment would be to wake up America that there is an important and symbolic issue at stake. Speaker Boehner can do this simply by denying the President an honor. He can deny President Obama the use of the House chamber for the State of the Union address. A currently substanceless threat to our legal tradition is responded to by a substanceless slap of rebuke. Let the President write his address and let it be read from the well by a clerk.

The idea that the President has so dishonored his office that he no longer can enter the House is a powerful image that alerts the people to a problem but does not stop us from carrying on with the serious task of government. Impeachment should not be our first resort. Who wants President Biden? This measure also has the advantage that it plays to Boehner’s strengths and requires no approval from anyone else. He can take this decision unilaterally. He should.

Cross posted: Flit-TM

21 thoughts on “Boehner should not honor Obama’s lawlessness”

  1. It is escalation towards civil war. So far Obama has been on the offensive, choosing the time and place to attack. As such he has shown himself the aggressor. He has been subtle enough to avoid the public clearly being aware of his attack on the Constitution – only a few sense the.

    Don’t strike the king unless you kill him is an ancient dictum of statecraft.

    There are many other counter-moves that our side could make. Unfortunately, Boehner has shown little talent or action as a tactician. His strategy has been very passive.

    So…good notion but such a public move must be coordinated as part of a bigger game plan. We’re not being told if there is one (as should be) or what the next move on our side will be. I’d look to Cruz and Lee in the Senate as our strategists with Rand as the cavalry although establishing war aims in a coalition and in secret is always difficult. I expect that our game is to let Obama’s public support continue to slide – he’s doing a pretty good job of that by himself. Make it easy for him to continue to be-clown himself for awhile longer, then strike.

  2. I would advise against this tactic. Just imagine how the media would portray it, and how they would use it to distract voters from the real issues. Let the focus stay on Obamacare.

  3. Actually Mike, Hell has already been raised, and now it’s our job to send it back down to the netherworld.


  4. “Who wants President Biden? “

    Actually, I’d like to think everyone who has concern for our republic. Better a petty fool than a malicious tyrant.

    * * *

    All opposition to Obama is proof of AmeriKKKa.

    I do not assume Boehner et. al. are in opposition to Obama. If they are, let them prove it. Even offering the fig leaf of legalization was a mistake, a surrender, the last and total surrender by Congress to the Executive. The process begun under FDR is complete: the Czars of the regulatory agencies and the President may issue regulations at will.

    Obama politics with the assurance of a sleepwalker. He is not bound by custom, and any law may be deconstructed to his favor. He knows the time is ripe for America 2.5. He is our Augustus, free to ignore legal restraints which has—as Al Gore put it—no controlling legal authority.

    * * *

    When liberty has died in the hearts of the people, no law, no constitution can save it.

  5. Whitehall – Not answering illegality within the political system is the birth of a civil war. He is not a king after all but a term limited president. I would think that there’s a pretty good chance that Obama’s reaction to the exclusion would be revealing. It would also allow the response to the SOTU address to be done from the House and address the situation directly. It would be amazing political theater.

    Robert Schwartz – The GOP attitude could be, the President stepped outside the lines. He didn’t do something evil but something that was symbolically dangerous. This was a measured response that cost the country nothing. It made its point that laws shall be faithfully executed or the President will pay a price. Had the question been something that we actually disagreed on, there would be impeachment papers filed but that was overkill when we agree that these insurance policies should be legal. President Jefferson sent his State of the Union messages in writing because he thought that a speech was too monarchical. Limiting President Obama to Jefferson’s method of delivering the State of the Union address is not worth much discussion when we have so many people losing their health insurance due to the ACA. It was the lightest, most subtle rebuke available.

    ErisGuy – I have yet to see convincing evidence that Biden would be better.

  6. “I have yet to see convincing evidence that Biden would be better.”

    OK. Remove them both. The Veep is responsible for the administration, too. As he has shared in its crimes, let him share in its punishment.

  7. Joe Biden ascending to the presidency should recreate Jerry Ford. He would be so neutered that he would have little political clout.

    His remaining tasks would be as caretaker.

    That is, if he followed the law. But I suspect the balance of the government (military?) would have even less tolerance for misbehavior than from Obama.

    The real question is, how far is Obama willing or intending to go? Like Hitler, Obama has telegraphed his intentions – “transformation.”

    Maybe our next step is a complete blockage of one of his initiatives. John Roberts absolutely blew it with his cowardly and transparent decision on Obamacare. It might go down in history as our Rhineland crisis – a last chance to dissuade a dictator.

  8. He’s not Hitler, Mao, Castro, or any other of the Leftist dictators he admires and wishes he could emulate. He has committed no crime. He’s not even that important.

  9. I would assume that in response Biden would offer him the Senate chamber and the speach would be given there. The requirement after all is the give the report to Congress – not to either body in particular.

    No idea really how the political theater would go from there.

  10. What happens after Obama gives his speech on national TV, broadcast by sympathetic media from a manufactured stage in front of a picked audience? He can accuse the Republicans of barring the door to the people’s House with metaphorical axe handles.

    Clever tactics are well and good but many of them will fail. That’s the nature of struggle. The speech gambit might be worth a try, but it might backfire politically, and in any case it’s a mistake for Obama’s opponents to invest much in any one tactic in the hope of “waking up” the rest of the country. It’s also a mistake for Republicans to stand by and hope for Obamacare to implode, not that you are advocating this. To the extent Republicans are unpopular it may have something to do with their being perceived as junior partners with the Democrats in the pathological politics that are ruining the country.

    It might be better if principled Republicans concentrated on offering reasonable alternatives to the Democrats’ kleptocratic schemes. Some Republicans are already doing this but they do not control the Party.

  11. ErisGuy – I think it’s an interesting idea to remove them both. Now what is Biden’s impeachable offense?

    Whitehall – The Upton bill skewers Obamacare quite well. It’s why Obama issued his veto threat. Now what?

    Mrs Davis – You can bet that the Democrats would provide applause as needed. Stony silence just isn’t in the cards.

    Phwest – So who would be seated behind Obama in the Senate chamber, Biden and Pelosi?

    Jonathan – I agree that this should not be a one shot deal and that, like any political theater, there is downside as well as upside as a possibility. President Obama is skirting around the edge of a constitutional coup in a particularly sneaky way. The response should be similarly sneaky, my proposal being merely one candidate.

  12. I’ve deleted parts of some comments here which I think could have been misconstrued as tolerating the idea of harming government officials. It’s obvious to me that the commenters were arguing against the harming of government officials, but this might not be obvious to everyone. Therefore I decided to err on the side of caution. Neither I nor the Chicago Boyz blog will tolerate any discussion, even hypothetical, of harming the president or other government officials.

  13. “Not that I want to in any way influence your steady path to marginalization but this will accelerate that process.:

    Agreed but it does not consider that there are some things not tolerable in a free society. That does not accept that freedom will fail.

  14. TM Lutas: Symbolism is lost on low information voters, particularly after it is filtered through the partisan lens of the media.

  15. You can bet that the Democrats would provide applause as needed. Stony silence just isn’t in the cards.

    The Democrats could provide applause, but they would be in the minority and it would be hard for the TV cameras, under House control, to avoid panning Republicans as silent as the Supreme Court Justices. It would be an historic rebuke. Even in 1968 LBJ got bipartisan applause. Even Nixon in 1974. The silence would be deafening. Reporting to congress is a constitutional duty of the president. It has been done in person since Woodrow Wilson. Stoney silence is more in the cards than not inviting him.

  16. Robert Schwartz – You’ve put your finger on my biggest concern for my own proposal but doing nothing is intolerable and impeachment is too much.

    Mrs. Davis – The House’s technical control ends once the stream departs their facilities. You would be surprised as to what is possible. Would the news media manipulate the coverage to that extent? I actually do not know.

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