What the president said, then, was so ill-informed, so ignorant, that people assumed he must know better. There’s no way we can know. But whatever the case, this has been quite a bad stretch for the president. His comments about the Supreme Court, when combined with his astonishingly dishonest attack on the House GOP budget (see here for more), portray a president who is living in a fantasy world — a place where facts and history are inverted, lies become truth, where everything is subordinated to ambition and you simply make things up as you go along. Nietzsche referred to this mindset as the “will to power.” In American politics it’s known as The Chicago Way.Well, yes. It's true his outlandishly false statements about history (some of it quite recent) and the role of the judiciary were so far from accurate that they've embarrassed a former professor as well as a former student. But none of this is new or out of character. Candidate Obama is ramping it up, but lying and bullying to achieve the desired result has always been his style. I'd say he jumped the shark when he signed Obamacare and handed our health care over to an army of micro-managing bureaucrats.
I don’t know what the political effect of all this will be. But intellectually, this is the week where Barack Obama jumped the shark. In a deep, fundamental way, he is no longer a serious man. Nor an honest one. His public words are now purposefully bleached of truth. And that is a painful thing to have to say about an American president.
Daniel Henninger sees a possibility for some backlash from an unexpected quarter:
It appears to be unprecedented, however, for a U.S. president to have attacked the Supreme Court before it handed down its decision. Some think Mr. Obama and his progressive infantry are trying to intimidate the Justices, specifically Justice Anthony Kennedy. But most legal commentary has said the president's attack is likely to anger the justices, perhaps including some of the court's liberals. Mr. Obama's notion of judicial review diminishes all the members of any court, not just its conservatives. It doesn't help the always difficult struggle for an independent judiciary in other countries if an American president is issuing Venezuela-like statements on U.S. courts.The White House is supposedly in damage control mode, which just means more spinning and prevaricating.
If (as we pray) all of Obamacare gets tossed, how do you think Candidate Obama will respond? Rush Limbaugh speculates:
Let's say hypothetically they throw the whole thing out. What's Obama gonna do? Do you think he's just gonna say, "Oops! Well, we tried, and we lost, and the rules of the game are that we go back to the drawing board and try again"?I can't imagine Candidate Obama taking a loss without going full-demagogue on the Court. When and if that happens, we'll have to come up with a stronger metaphor than "jumping the shark."
Do you think that's what he's gonna do? Of course not! He's not gonna accept it. It's gonna become a huge campaign issue, and he's going to be running against the court, and the way that that might manifest itself, who knows? But it's going to be brutal. You remember what the Clinton people did to Ken Starr, and that was not quite unprecedented. But in the modern era, when a special prosecutor is impaneled, it was the first time that the target attempted to win the case by going out and attacking the prosecutor -- personally, every day, from every angle possible, with as many people in the administration doing it -- to discredit the office of the special prosecutor and the special prosecutor himself. [. . .]
What do we do? When we lose a case at the court, we accept it and we say, "We'll go back to the drawing board. We'll try again and try to overcome the objections." We might have some words about the idiot liberal justices and so forth, but we don't go on a warpath to tear down the institution that made the ruling. I know. I know. The Republicans are timid anyway. But aside from that, there is a respect for the system. There is a respect for the structure of the country. There is a profound respect for it that our side really, I think, holds dear. To the people we're up against, it's nothing special. This Constitution and the legal structure is a plantation to them, in one way of looking at it.
So let's say that the court strikes down... Just for the hypothetical fun of it, they strike down everything. They decide that the whole law can't survive without the mandate. They strike the mandate down and say, "You know what? Go back to the drawing board." What do you think Obama's gonna do? Obama's gonna make tracks for the first microphone and camera. And he's going to say something like this: "For 60 to 75 years, we have been struggling to achieve fairness and justice for all people in this country, not just the privileged few. We have recognized that the way health care exists in this country is emblematic of the injustice and the discrimination that has defined this country since its beginning -- and look what happened!
"Republican judges just took away your health care. Republican judges just decided you were about to get too big a piece of the pie. Republican judges determined that you're not important enough to have health care," and then he'll throw in: "We've seen similar struggles since the days of Jim Crow," or he'll throw in some identifier. He'll throw in some codeword. And then he'll relate the loss of health care to civil rights battles that have occurred. And he'll do this in his best professorial voice. And he, in the process, will be lighting another fuse. And after he finishes, then the sycophants will hit the trail, and we will hear slogans like, "We shall overcome the court! We will overcome the court!"
Then his buddies at The Daily Beast will start writing columns that the judges who voted to overturn it need to be impeached. Where they live will be discovered and publicized. And just as the Democrats sent Occupy people and union people up to the homes of the executives at AIG, so, too, might they do this to various judges, justices, and so forth. I'm getting pretty specific here. Some of this stuff might not happen, but I guarantee you that there will be, with all the rest of this, a defiance. "Why do we have to listen to them anyway?" You remember, this is what critical legal studies is all about. "Why do we have to listen to these guys? These guys, appointed by Republicans, just took away our health care! Why do we have to listen? Why do we have to just, again, shut up and go home quietly and accept this insult and this discrimination? Why? They keep their health care. They didn't get rid of their own, but they just got rid of yours."
And it's off to the races for the 2012 presidential election.
That's what's going to happen.
Many thanks to Michelle Malkin for the Buzzworthy link.
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