Goodbye, Obama

The outgoing president leaves a loaded gun in the Oval Office.


In the presidency's long march toward full-spectrum dominance over American life, the POTUS has become, among other things, host in chief of our national talk show. Barack Obama fulfilled that role better than most. Our 44th president never seemed more completely in his element than when trading zingers at the annual White House Correspondents Dinner. We find it reassuring somehow to be reminded that the guy with the kill list has a sense of humor.

At the 2015 version of the annual press and pols confab, Obama got one of his bigger laugh lines when he joked: "Dick Cheney says he thinks I'm the worst president of his lifetime. Which is interesting because I think Dick Cheney is the worst president of my lifetime." But the jibe had a funny-because-it's-true element that Obama didn't intend. As George W. Bush's "co-president," Cheney repeatedly described the team's mission as "leaving the presidency stronger than we found it." In that respect, Cheney and Obama have more in common than either would care to acknowledge.

As a young man, biographer David Maraniss reports, Obama developed "an intense sense of mission…sometimes bordering [on] messianic." By the time the Oval Office was in his sights, he'd decided "his mission was to leave a legacy as a president of consequence."

Mission accomplished: As Obama's tenure comes to a close, it's clear his has been a presidency of enormous consequence. But his most lasting legacy will be one few—perhaps least of all Obama himself—expected. He will leave to his successor a presidency even more powerful and dangerous than the one he inherited from Bush. The new powers he's forged now pass on to celebreality billionaire Donald J. Trump, a man Obama considers "unfit to serve as president"—someone who can't be trusted with his own Twitter account, let alone the nuclear launch codes. Perhaps only those incorrigible "cynics" Obama regularly chides from the bully pulpit could have predicted this would come to pass.

'I'll Turn the Page on the Imperial Presidency' In his long-shot bid for the 2008 Democratic nomination, then–Sen. Obama ran as as a forceful critic of executive unilateralism—one, unlike the other leading contenders, untainted by past support for the Iraq war. A speech he'd given at an anti-war rally in Chicago in 2002 as an obscure state senator running for the U.S. Senate would become a key element of his sales pitch on the path to the presidency.

That speech, railing against a "dumb," "rash" war, had barely registered at the time; in 2007, the Obama campaign couldn't even find usable video of his remarks. "I'd kill for that," chief strategist David Axelrod lamented. "No one realized at the time it would be a historic thing." Still, the Obama team unearthed enough audio to hawk a cellphone ringtone "with 'what I do oppose is a dumb war' over a hip-hop beat."

On October 2, 2007, trailing far behind then–Sen. Hillary Clinton in the polls, Obama delivered a major campaign address at DePaul University in Chicago, timed to mark the fifth anniversary of the "dumb wars" speech. "Five years ago today, I was asked to speak at a rally against going to war in Iraq," Obama told the students. Yet Congress voted "to give the president a blank check" that left America "mired in an endless war."

"We all know what Iraq has cost us abroad," Obama declaimed at DePaul, "but these last few years we've seen an unacceptable abuse of power at home.…We've paid a heavy price for having a president whose priority is expanding his own power." If elected, he pledged, he'd "turn the page on a growing empire of classified information" and "turn the page on the imperial presidency." "It's easy to be cynical" about politicians' promises, Obama closed, but "I'm running for the presidency of the United States of America so that together we can do the hard work to seek a new dawn of peace."

As a presidential candidate, Obama made clear that, along with "dumb wars," he firmly opposed unauthorized wars. That December, in a candidate survey on executive power conducted by reporter Charlie Savage, Sen. Obama stated plainly: "The President does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation."

As Obama gained on Clinton in the following months, she was reduced to carping: "I have a lifetime of experience that I will bring to the White House.…Sen. Obama has a speech he gave in 2002." And yet that speech turned out to be instrumental to Obama's winning the nomination, and thus the presidency.

Obama will hand his successor a presidency even more powerful and dangerous than the one he inherited from George W. Bush.

Obama's unlikely ascendancy culminated at Chicago's Grant Park on election night 2008. The National's "Half Awake in a Fake Empire," the campaign's semi-official hipster anthem, thrummed out over an ecstatic crowd of 125,000 as the president-elect prepared to take the stage. "If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible, who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time…tonight is your answer," Obama proclaimed. "Change has come to America."

The 'Forever War' President "Shut the fuck up!" Obama reportedly exclaimed on the early morning of October 9, 2009, when press secretary Robert Gibbs woke him with the news he'd won the Nobel Peace Prize. In retrospect, it might have spared everyone a lot of embarrassment had Obama pulled a Bob Dylan and gone AWOL on the Committee. A week before the announcement, after all, Obama had ordered 30,000 additional troops to Afghanistan, and by the time he hit the podium at Oslo to acknowledge the "considerable controversy" the award had caused, he'd already launched more drone strikes than George W. Bush managed in his two full terms.

In the years to come, the U.S. military's "operational tempo" would grow steadily more frantic, as Obama surged troop levels to 100,000 in Afghanistan, launched two undeclared wars, deployed U.S. Special Forces to 85 countries around the globe, and tallied 10 times as many drone attacks as his predecessor. Over Labor Day weekend this year, while Americans stocked up on Bud Limes and burger rolls, their government launched nearly 70 airstrikes across six countries: Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Yemen, Somalia, and Libya. As the end of Obama's tenure approached, The New York Times noted, he was poised to become "the first two-term president to have presided over a nation at war for every day of his presidency."

One fears he won't be the last. Having knocked flat the remaining legal restrictions on presidential warmaking, Obama has cleared the way for all the "dumb," "rash" wars future presidents might choose to wage.

Tomahawk Humanitarianism in Libya Less than a year after his Nobel speech, Obama launched his first "war of choice," against the Muammar Gaddafi regime in Libya. To wage it, Obama advanced the extraordinary argument that seven months of regime-change bombing was neither a "war" for constitutional purposes, nor did it even rise to the level of "hostilities."

The Libyan war—or "kinetic military action," in the administration's preferred euphemism—would last "days, not weeks," Obama assured Congress. But as weeks turned into months, it became obvious that America's North Atlantic Treaty Organization allies couldn't finish the job without U.S. airpower. The Pentagon's top lawyer, the attorney general, and the Office of Legal Counsel all told the president they saw no way around the looming deadline under the War Powers Resolution (WPR), which requires the president to terminate U.S. engagement in "hostilities" after 60 days in the absence of congressional authorization. So the president went to the State Department's top lawyer, who came up with the legal cover he wanted.

In a report to Congress submitted 90 days after the war began, Obama asserted that since U.S. airstrikes didn't involve "the presence of U.S. ground troops, U.S. casualties or a serious threat thereof," the WPR's limits didn't apply. In plainer language: If you're bombing a country that can't hit you back, you're not engaged in "hostilities."

It's a bizarre doctrine for a putatively humanitarian, internationalist president to advance: It's not war if you're only killing foreigners. But as U.S. remote-warfare capabilities increase, the precedent Obama set will prove useful to future presidents of any stripe.

One Congress, One Vote, One Time So too will Obama's extralegal expansion of the 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF), passed three days after 9/11 and aimed at Al Qaeda and the Taliban. In the drone campaign and the war with ISIS, Obama completed a process begun in the Bush administration—the transformation of the 2001 AUMF into a blank check for globe-spanning presidential war.

By the spring of 2013, senior Obama administration officials were telling The Washington Post they were becoming "increasingly concerned that the law is being stretched to its legal breaking point." That was before the administration stretched it still further, to provide legal cover for the war against ISIS that Obama launched in August 2014.

Given that the core group the AUMF targeted, Al Qaeda, had denounced and excommunicated ISIS, and given that the two were at war with each other, it was hard to see how a 15-year-old authorization could cover both. Still, "Congress in 2001 did give the executive branch the authority to take this action. There's no debating that," White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest insisted in October 2015, as the administration put boots on the ground in Syria. Even so, the proliferation of headlines like "ISIS Beheads a Dozen Men Accused of Fighting for Al Qaeda" or "Petraeus: Use Al Qaeda Fighters to Beat ISIS" might give one cause to wonder whether ISIS is the same enemy Congress authorized President Bush to wage war against in September 2001, back before Steve Jobs unveiled the first iPod.

The Droning Will Continue Until Morale Improves "Ten to 20 years" is the standard, recurring answer administration officials give whenever they're asked how long the various wars on terror will go on. It's "going to be a generational struggle," the Army chief of staff affirmed in 2015.

Get used to "ever-morphing enemies, an uncertain though expanding geographical scope, and an indefinite duration unlike any war in previous eras in U.S. History," former Bush administration lawyers Jack Goldsmith and Matthew Waxman advise in a recent essay for The Washington Quarterly. By forging this "remarkable legacy of presidential power to use military force," the Obama administration will empower future presidents to start wars at will and continue them beyond the WPR's limits, at least in situations where few American body bags are expected.

The sort of military actions the administration prefers "take place largely in secret, largely from a distance, and largely without threat to U.S. personnel," Goldsmith and Waxman write, which means they receive vanishingly little public debate or congressional scrutiny. But "light-footprint warfare" nonetheless has "large foreign policy, strategic, and reputational consequences for the United States, akin to much heavier deployments."

Resentment stoked by the U.S. drone program is "much greater than the average American appreciates," retired General Stanley McChrystal, former U.S. commander in Afghanistan, told Reuters in 2013. "They are hated on a visceral level, even by people who've never seen one," feeding a "perception of American arrogance that says, 'We can shoot where we want, because we can.'"

The Intercept recently reported on a classified FBI study acknowledging that homegrown jihadists "frequently believe the U.S. military is committing atrocities in Muslim countries, thereby justifying their violent aspirations." A number of Obama-era domestic terrorists, including Faisal Shahzad, the would-be Times Square bomber, and Orlando shooter Omar Mateen, seem to fit that pattern.

The open-ended war on emerging jihadist groups that Obama's legal innovations have enabled may in turn generate its own political justification, as the attacks it helps inspire spur a more aggressive response abroad. "The global war on terror has acquired a life of its own," says intelligence analyst Patrick Lang: "It's a self-licking ice cream cone."

Institutionalizing 'the War Mentality' In a now-forgotten birtherism side-project, Donald Trump used to insist that Obama couldn't possibly have gone to Columbia University: His classmates "never saw him…it's crazy." In fact, the future president's first published article, in 1983, was for the Sundial, a Columbia student weekly. In the piece, entitled "Breaking the War Mentality," college senior Barry Obama praised a pair of local nuclear freeze groups for resisting "the relentless, often silent spread of militarism in the country."

"Most students at Columbia do not have first hand knowledge of war," Obama wrote: "military violence has been a vicarious experience…the sounds and chill, the dead bodies—are remote and far removed. We know that wars have occurred, are occurring, but bringing such experience down into our hearts, and taking continual, tangible steps to prevent war, becomes a difficult task."

"It was his first expression of his views on any foreign policy subject," journalist James Mann writes, "and years later, his aides felt it was deeply felt and lasting." And yet, what other president has done as much to make war at once so pervasive, and yet so "remote and far removed"?

Half Awake in the Fake Empire If the public debate over the war on terror seems stunted, that's in part the result of deliberate policy. When Robert Gibbs floated the "most transparent administration in history" line again in 2010, Politico reported that "laughter broke out in the briefing room." And for good reason: Among other things, Obama has conducted more Espionage Act prosecutions against leakers than all of his predecessors combined. He's taken state secrecy to new heights of absurdity, denying Americans information about the legal standards under which the government can spy on them or even kill them.

Obama's legal team has fought doggedly to prevent the public from seeing Justice Department memoranda containing, not intelligence sources and methods, but the legal arguments undergirding the president's claim that he has the authority to put American citizens on a "kill list." In Freedom of Information Act litigation on that point, the administration's position has been that "the very fact of the existence or nonexistence of such documents is itself classified."

The administration waged a similar battle to prevent Americans from discovering what Senate Intelligence Committee member Ron Wyden was referring to when he began warning in 2011 about the executive branch's "secret interpretation" of the PATRIOT Act, one far broader than "what most Americans think the law allows." Only in summer 2013, thanks to former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden, did the public learn the administration had been vacuuming up Americans' phone data under the theory that "essentially the entire nation's calling records are 'relevant'" to counterterrorism investigations.

The dangers of dragnet data collection are, by now, widely understood: The digital trails we leave are a window into our private lives and can be used to ferret out information that authoritarian governments historically used to blackmail and control dissenters. In the NSA's quest to "collect it all," the agency had built what Snowden termed a "turnkey tyranny."

"I welcome this debate and I think it's healthy for our democracy," Obama declared when the story broke, even while his administration filed Espionage Act charges against Snowden. "It's a sign of maturity," Obama said, because just a few years ago, "we might not have been having this debate." True enough: If you've been deliberately kept in the dark about your government's surveillance policies, it's hard to get a proper debate going. But now, armed with better information, surely we could fix the problem by petitioning our elected representatives to address our grievances.

In the NSA's quest to "collect it all," the agency had built what Edward Snowden termed a "turnkey tyranny."

In early 2014, John Napier Tye, then a State Department official with a top-secret security clearance, prepared a speech making that very point: Citizens who object to mass data mining "have the opportunity to change the policy through our democratic process." But when Tye sent the draft over to the White House Counsel's office for approval, the president's lawyers told him to take out that line, on the grounds that it wasn't true. Even after Snowden's disclosures, Tye later explained in The Washington Post, "some intelligence practices remain so secret, even from members of Congress, there is no opportunity for our democracy to change them."

Some of those practices, Tye hinted, go beyond "metadata" and involve bulk collection of the content of citizens' personal communications. The rules for "incidental" collection of domestic content that transits abroad are far weaker, and vast amounts of Americans' private communications—email, texts, Skype chats, and Facebook messages—can potentially be funneled through that loophole onto the NSA's servers and shared with federal law enforcement agencies, free from judicial oversight. "Americans deserve an honest answer to the simple question," Tye wrote: "What kind of data is the NSA collecting on millions, or hundreds of millions, of Americans?"

Royal Dispensations on the Home Front Presidents typically have an easier time expanding their powers in areas like surveillance and war, where appeals to national security have greater sway. Even so, Obama also forged new frontiers in the use of executive power at home, in areas where no specter of foreign danger could be invoked.

"The biggest problems we're facing right now," Obama intoned on the campaign trail in 2008, involve the "president trying to bring more power into the executive branch and not go through Congress at all." By 2011, frustrated by inaction on the Hill, the Obama team formally and unabashedly announced that "We Can't Wait" any longer for Congress to pass laws.

The centerpiece of the "We Can't Wait" campaign was a 2012 "homeland security directive," "Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals" (DACA), creating a path to lawful residency for over a million unauthorized immigrants who came to the United States as minors. DACA's eligibility criteria closely tracked an immigration reform bill that Congress had rejected. A mere technicality, the president insisted; it's "the right thing to do for the American people."

That directive, together with a 2014 order expanding the program, represented a massive restructuring of U.S. immigration law, unilaterally granting lawful status and eligibility for federal benefits to nearly half of the 11 million undocumented immigrants in the country. As Justice Anthony Kennedy put it during oral argument in United States v. Texas, a 2016 challenge to Obama's edicts: "It's as if the President is setting the policy and the Congress is executing it. That's just upside down."

The president's "royal dispensation" for millions of immigrants was hardly his most disturbing abuse of executive authority. Halting deportation in these cases was a humane and prudent policy, and it's no surprise that most liberals and many libertarians viewed it as "the right thing to do."

But as George Washington law professor Jonathan Turley observed in December 2015, that ignores the "obvious danger" of rule by decree: The policies one favors "may not carry over to the next president, [but] the powers will."

"Energy in the executive," Alexander Hamilton argued in the Federalist, is "essential to the steady administration of the laws." Today it has the opposite effect: the "law" can change radically from administration to administration, depending on the policy preferences of the president. "The problem with allowing a person in office to become a government unto himself," Turley warned, "is that you cannot guarantee who the next president might be."

Gridlock as a Grant of Power Throughout his second term, Obama increasingly governed by executive fiat. "I've got a pen, and I've got a phone," he bragged, and he proceeded to use them to, among other things: pressure schools throughout the country to adopt national curriculum requirements Congress never authorized; promulgate new rules that nearly quadruple the number of workers eligible for overtime pay; force American power plants and, ultimately, electricity consumers to bear billions of dollars of costs in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, despite the fact that Congress has never voted to treat CO2 as a pollutant; issue regulatory "guidance" documents purporting to make the rules for nearly every school and workplace bathroom in the United States; and unilaterally amend the Affordable Care Act by ignoring clear statutory mandates and deadlines.

During his efforts to rewrite the Affordable Care Act on the fly, Obama even invented a presidential "power of the purse" and ordered the disbursement of billions of dollars in "cost-sharing" subsidies that Congress never appropriated. When IRS officials voiced doubt about the legality of those payments, they got the kind of strong-arm briefing David Addington, "Cheney's Cheney," specialized in during the Bush years. The dissenters were handed a secret memo rationalizing the move, told they "could not take notes or make copies," and informed that the attorney general had declared the expenditures legal. Whatever the source of that authority might be, Obama officials couldn't specifically identify it under questioning at a congressional hearing last July, though a top Treasury official volunteered: "If Congress doesn't want the money appropriated, they could pass a law that specifically says don't appropriate the money from that account."

More than any recent president, Obama has embraced and, to some extent, legitimized the anti-constitutional theory that congressional inaction is a legitimate source of presidential power. It's a theory future presidents will build upon. In the words of the University of North Carolina legal scholar William P. Marshall, "The genies of unilateral executive action are not easily returned to the bottle."

A 'Loaded Weapon' Some 30 years ago, the distinguished political scientist Theodore Lowi coined a mordant Law of Succession, which holds that each new president enhances the reputation of his predecessors. (Corollary: "This is the only certain contribution each president will make.")

Obama has left a ghastly legacy, yet it's likely that even his harshest critics will grow to miss him. He made for a spectacularly lousy demagogue, and was visibly uncomfortable with the role when he tried. Though he was never in practice a "reluctant warrior," he could play one on TV, doing the requisite public hand wringing and soul searching about the expansive new powers he'd forged.

For whatever it's worth, those qualms seem to be sincere. In discussions with his advisors, Obama has been heard to worry about "leaving a loaded weapon lying around" for future presidents to wield. If only he—and the rest of us—had worried more.

You wouldn't call Donald Trump a gracious man, but he seems genuinely appreciative of the expanded executive arsenal Obama leaves him. The president-elect intends to "do a lot of right things" with those powers: "I mean, [Obama's] led the way, to be honest with you."

It hardly taxes the imagination to envision Trump gleefully abusing all the weapons of the modern presidency: the pen, the phone, and the drone. In fact, he's essentially admitted he will, with gobsmacking candor: "If I become president, oh do they have problems," he's said of Amazon's Jeff Bezos and the paper he owns, The Washington Post. Riffing on the speculation that Russia hacked Hillary Clinton's email, he told a crowd in Scranton, Pennsylvania, last summer: "I wish I had that power. Man, that would be power."

It hardly taxes the imagination to envision Trump gleefully abusing the pen, the phone, and the drone.

Ironically, Obama's executive unilateralism on immigration may end up facilitating Trump's plan for mass deportations. As Cato Institute immigration scholar Alex Nowrasteh notes, the Trump administration will "now have access to the identities of all the beneficiaries of DACA who had to submit their personal information to benefit, a source of information that could be used to more efficiently deport them." Other "right things" Trump envisions doing as president include hammering his critics with antitrust prosecutions; creating a database to track Muslim citizens; "bomb[ing] the shit" out of the Middle East; and ordering the U.S. military to commit war crimes.

For most of the 2016 campaign, the very idea of "President Trump" seemed like a thought experiment a libertarian might have invented to get a liberal friend to focus on the dangers of concentrated power. Now it's an experiment we're going to run in real life, starting January 20, 2017.

If you introduce a gun in the first act, the old dramatic principle holds, it needs to be fired in the second. We seem determined to play out that script.

NEXT: Brickbat: Hunting Them Down

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  1. Obama thought he was going to be handing the expanded presidential powers to President Clinton, a bit of a miscalculation to be sure. That being said, why not wait until Trump actually does something before we shit in our pants?

    1. This, so much. I’ve grown very very weary of all the apocalyptic crap I hear every day. Trump is going round up all the foreign-born and throw them out! He’s going to rip apart the marriage certificates of every gay couple in the land, with his own tiny hands! He’s going to outlaw doctors! Wait, what’s that sound…jackboots! Nazi jackboots! Marching up my street! AAAAGGGGGGHHHHHHH!

      1. I just wish Trump runs up all the communists and imprisn them for treason and sedition. A big task, considering that comprises about 70% of the democrat party.

        1. Ya know who else rounded up all the communists?

          1. Stalin? Mao?

          2. If you say McCarthy, you will have let me down.

    2. Because the pant shitting is looking forward more than just Trump’s or Chelsea’s terms. It’s never good to have so much power in one position.

      How short-sighted are you? Do you claim to be a libertarian or any kind of freedom-lover or individualist? Are you just a big government Top.Men lover? Are you seriously suggesting that so much power in one place will be good if Trump is the Top Man?

      1. Fair point. And at least Reason has been consistent in opposing this even when it was Obama wielding the penphone.

        1. Reason loved Obama’s abuse of executive authority over immigration. So, they are not without sin.

          1. True. And they have been, well, not opposed to his agencies rewriting prohibitions on sex discrimination to include gender discrimination.

            Still, better than most.

            1. Damn!

              Refresh. Refresh. Refresh….

          2. Correction: Dalmia loved Obama’s abuse of executive authority over immigration.

            Everyone else seemed to be silent about it.

            1. Silence implies consent.

              Here, have another drink.

            2. This. For the most part, Reason almost completely looked the other way on Obama’s massive abuses of power. Trump has taken more shit around here in the last year or so before even getting elected and actually doing anything than Obama has gotten in the last eight.

              The criticism Obama got from Reason consisted almost entirely of his not being aggressive enough in pushing for drug decriminalization and criminal justice reform, but that’s about it. His “pen and a phone” jobs pretty much got ignored until the realization the Trump was the next president set in.

              1. ” For the most part, Reason almost completely looked the other way on Obama’s massive abuses of power.”

                WTF, dude. Read more, post less.

                1. “WTF, dude. Read more, post less.”


          3. And even some of the stuff they opposed came/comes across more like they “could play a libertarian on TV”.

            The President rather literally (re)issues an edict about nation-wide bathroom policy and Reason responds by pointing at the legislature of the State of NC and acting like they couldn’t find a more ridiculous issue to be more abusive with their deliberations about whether to exercise power.

            1. Not only that,but he deliberately perverted the definition of the word “sex” and even added gender to Title IX…and several parrots at reason gleefully reported on how states like NC were violating the provisions established in the statute even though the portions of Title IX they were supposedly violating were manufactured from whole cloth within the past 12 months.

      2. Because the pant shitting is looking forward more than just Trump’s or Chelsea’s terms.

        True. But, most of it has been specifically framed in the context of Donald Trump. As if he’s some sort of unique danger to liberty. Honestly, I’m not convinced that, in the context of the current crop of possible presidents, DT is even in the top third as a danger to liberty.

        1. Trump is the one who’s actually going to take office, so why wouldn’t it be mostly framed in that context? I think you also have to take into account the fact that these articles are targeted towards people who like Obama and thus didn’t object to his abuse of executive power. These people overwhelmingly hate and/or fear Trump, so framing it around him is an easy way to demonstrate to them the dangers of their approval of Obama’s overreach.

          1. It’s an extract from the print edition by a guy from the Cato Institute. I don’t see where the audience would be primarily Obama fans.

            And of course the Trump fixation has a risk of its own. I completely agree with the notion that no government should be entrusted with that power. The problem is, by making Donald Trump out to be some unique threat, you run the risk of making it out to be a staffing issue. That everything would be just a-okay if it were Hillary Clinton handed that power. What should be driven home to the Obama fanboys and fangirls is that Donald Trump probably isn’t going to be that much of an exception in terms of authoritarianism. It’s just going to be “their turn in the barrel” in terms of their rights and liberties being infringed.

            1. It’s just going to be “their turn in the barrel” in terms of their rights and liberties being infringed.

              I can’t fathom any rights that Trump would infringe upon that the Democrats haven’t already trampled at every opportunity.

            2. “It’s an extract from the print edition by a guy from the Cato Institute. I don’t see where the audience would be primarily Obama fans.”

              I should have added “beyond the libertarian choir.” You’re right that most people who read it won’t be liberals, but if you’re trying to make a negative case about Obama, people who don’t like Obama (almost all libertarians and conservatives) don’t need to be convinced. It’s mostly progressives who like him who you’d be trying to convince, even if they’re not most of the readership.

              Also, part of that was in light of Obama’s personal feelings towards his successor. The author talks about how Obama clearly finds him unfit, yet nonetheless had either no problem handing him all these powers to abuse, or didn’t have enough foresight to realize that his successor might be someone he didn’t trust. I see that as a critique of Obama’s arrogance.

              Lastly, I think there is plenty of criticism of Obama’s policies in their own right in this article, it’s not just about how bad Trump will be with this power.

              1. Also, part of that was in light of Obama’s personal feelings towards his successor. The author talks about how Obama clearly finds him unfit, yet nonetheless had either no problem handing him all these powers to abuse, or didn’t have enough foresight to realize that his successor might be someone he didn’t trust. I see that as a critique of Obama’s arrogance.

                Both sides have that problem. Neither the left or the right really is able to articulate a systematic view of what the President as an institution and office. Both sides just go on about how things would be great if only they got their guy in there. Conservatives are just as bad as Obama is being here. They always act on the assumption that things would be great and the imperial Presidency would end if only they could get a “constitutional conservative” in office. That is of course absurd. Any President is going to use the powers that are available to him. The only difference between the candidates is what ends they will use those powers. The conservative plan to limit the power of the Presidency seems to be to elect some God like figure who will eschew the powers available to him and return the country to small government. That is nothing but a stupid fantasy. If your plan for reducing government is to elect people who don’t want to use the powers of government available, you don’t have a plan.

                1. I think the democrats intend to rely on hypocrisy, bullshit, and faux indignation when Trump does what their guy did.

        2. most of it has been specifically framed in the context of Donald Trump

          Which seems very reasonable as Trump is about to become president. Which does make him a unique danger to liberty at this particular moment. Just like Obama has been a uniquely powerful danger to liberty for the last 8 years and Bush was before that. There aren’t many people who pose a more powerful danger to American liberty than the president, whoever that happens to be at the time.

      3. It’s never good to have so much power in one position the state.

        Makes little difference whether the power is vested in a legislature, an executive, or a bunch people in robes.

      4. Am I suggesting that? No I’m not and nowhere in my comment do I imply such. Fell free to keep up the hysterics though because that’s what they are.

      5. Because the pant shitting is looking forward more than just Trump’s or Chelsea’s terms.

        I thought that after Trump’s term it was gonna be Michelle Obama’s turn to try and jump from FLOTUS to POTUS. Or will she be more likely end up on President Chelsea or Liz Warren’s shortlist for SCOTUS?

    3. I think that the fact that we haven’t had a president in about 100 years who libertarians could really get behind justifies some pessimism about whomever is elected president.

    4. Mostly because every single president has shit the bed made by his predecessor – so its fair to assume Trump is working up his turd as we speak.

  2. In discussions with his advisors, Obama has been heard to worry about “leaving a loaded weapon lying around” for future presidents to wield.

    My guess is that he has no qualms with the powers themselves, but only that he feels no one could be as capable and trusting as him. It’s not a feeling of “What have I done?” so much as “What will you people do without me?”

    1. The high priests of TopMenism gleefully nodded their heads because he was their “Top Man.”

      Now they’ll be looking with fervent eyes for a way to dethrone the incoming Top Man for (potentially) doing the same things the last one did. Not because it is good for the country, oh no. They’ll be doing it because they believe they’ve got a better one.

    2. Progressivism in a nutshell. Just like my neighbor, who is not so much worried by he (theoretically) or I (actually) possessing firearms, as he is by the mere though that someone somewhere he does not approve of might actually have access to one.

  3. In a nutshell: Thanks for nothing, president Choom, you narcissistic son of a bitch.


  4. Here’s the problem with the “Golden Path” doctrine (look it up, it’s from Dune if you’re unfamiliar): the people who voted for Obama because he’s black or a Democrat, and the people who voted for Trump because he’s going to “make America great again”, want an all-powerful President. They don’t see tyranny or executive overreach or whatever as a systemic problem, they see it as a staffing issue.

    1. I think it’s not a great use of the concept. Golden Path doesn’t necessarily mean things will be good in the short run, just that in the long run the path will be beneficial to humanity collectively. So, like with Leto II, a tyrannical monster of a President that causes millions of people to literally flee the planet is still a net benefit because he encouraged space colonization that spread the human race out and kept them from complete centralized control.

      1. I don’t think Obama has the imagination necessary to see any kind of golden path.

        1. Also doesn’t have the attention span to read Dune.

          1. Or God Emperor of Dune which is a much slower read than Dune. Obama wouldn’t make it through the first 20 pages of that book.

          2. Dune was too boring for me to finish.

            I stand with Barack!

            1. If you thought Dune was boring, you should read God Emperor of Dune. If they were movies, Dune would be Lethal Weapon and God Emperor of Dune would be a really dark Bergman flick.

              1. God Emperor might be my favorite one, actually. The ones after that, though, are a bit of a slog.

                1. But you have to admit Zeb that God Emperor is a completely different kind of book than the first three. It is much slower and much more intellectual. I say this as someone who liked the book.

            2. I loved Dune but couldn’t make it through the next one for some reason. I heard the series goes off the rails so I never really bothered.

              I like his WorShip and ConSentient series better, though. They are more fun.

              1. I liked Dune Messiah. Children of Dune the third one wasn’t as good but still not bad. God Emperor is just completely different. You really can’t compare it to the first three books.

              2. Those are both awesome. I wish he’d done more with the ConSentiency universe.

                Hellstrom’s Hive is a pretty great one too.

        2. A golden shower, perhaps.

        3. I don’t think Obama has the imagination necessary to see any kind of golden path.

          Obama is the consummate technocrat. He has no grand vision other than arrogating more power to himself and his office.

      2. It wasn’t clear, at least to me, that the golden path was necessarily a good thing even within the Dune universe (Duniverse?). The diaspora spawned the Honored Matres, who brought back a swath of destruction and tyranny when they returned, and IIRC they were fleeing something even worse.

        1. One thing I like most about Herbert is that the protagonists are never necessarily good guys and the stories can’t be reduced to a simple good and evil conflict.

    2. “They don’t see tyranny or executive overreach or whatever as a systemic problem, they see it as a staffing issue.”


    3. the people who voted for Obama because he’s black or a Democrat, and the people who voted for Trump because he’s going to “make America great again”, want an all-powerful President. They don’t see tyranny or executive overreach or whatever as a systemic problem, they see it as a staffing issue.

      This. Libertarian Moment! WOOT!!!1!!!!!

  5. My take on Barack H. Obama has been consistent from the beginning: he is an old-style Chicago machine politician on the national stage, dressed up in Millenial garb. He attracts support through charisma and a cult of personality (remember the comment from 2009 about Obama “standing astride the Earth like a god?”), but his policies consist of little more than rewarding his friends and supporters and punishing his opponents — the public good and, most of all, the law and the Constitution be damned. Almost everything this man has done in office can be explained in this way.

    1. That certainly describes him. The other thing about him is that he is a faculty lounge leftist who is utterly obsessed with punishing his domestic political enemies and who sees the US and the legacy of Western Colonialism as the cause of all of the problems and evils in the world. His entire administration has been one of forever catering to our enemies, punishing our western allies and forever seeing foreign policy as a means to achieve domestic political victory.

      1. Does he really believe this though, or is it a veneer he adopted to win the support of the left-leaning intellectual elites who have been a pillar of necessary support for the Democrats ever since the New Deal?

        1. I think he does. He sees himself as one of those elites.

    2. My take on Obama is a bit different. In addition to everything Number 2 said except the part about “the public good”, I think Obama is a genuine communitarian socialist and that he believes his own bullshit. He grants favors to his friends and he grants freebies to his supporters because he thinks they are politically necessary. However, he has what Thomas Sowell calls “the vision of the anointed”.

      In other words, my take is that Obama is even worse than Number 2 suggests.

      1. he believes his own bullshit

        Really? I truly suspect that the vast majority of leftists know they’re full of shit; they’re just mouthing the platitudes in order to gain favor and wealth. The only exceptions are clueless rubes like Sanders. But canny pols like Clinton and – locally – Cuomo and Deblasio? I don’t believe for a second all the crap they’re shoveling. And I count Obama in that group.

  6. Three cheers. Organized, incisive, and even scholarly in the approach. Just as I near hopelessness over the devolution of political analysis and the namby-pamby skittishness of the staff, Healy smashes one out of the park. Proof that sound writing can be ruthless and silencing with a passionate undercurrent that never becomes profane. Not a single ‘but they were well intentioned’ back pat, nor any compromising olive branches to the yahoos who wave supporting pom-poms. This essay was a thing of beauty.

    The chilling attribution to the next tyrant who was quoted saying, “I wish I had that power. Man, that would be power”, is lost upon the faux intellectuals. They will not, cannot, face their own responsibility in electrifying Mary Shelly’s monster. Rather than learn, and accept, that Trump’s utterance is the verbalization of every damn predecessor for the past two centuries, who strengthened that “long march” in Healy’s opening salvo, their disgust is constrained to the man and not the immoral march. Yet he said what every commander-in-chief prior to him has said, except theirs was in dignified and refined silence. The working stiffs up and down the demographic continuum sadly acquiesce (no, embrace!) their assignment as peasantry. A powerful and dominating kingdom is acceptable, so long as the king keeps the thought to himself.

  7. http://www.cnbc.com/2017/01/09…..-iran.html

    Iran gets a parting gift of a huge sum of uranium from the Russians. They also got $10 billion in gold and cash


    Obama gave $10 billion in liquid and untracable assets to the world’s number one state sponsor of terrorism and an avowed enemy of the United States. But, Trump is the one guilty of “TREASON” because Jon Podesta fell for a phishing scheme.

    1. Didn’t a certain presidential candidate help Russia secure that uranium?

  8. The outgoing president leaves a loaded gun in the Oval Office.

    “Dom: You choke the chicken before any big date, don’t you? Tell me you spank the monkey before any big date. Oh my God, he doesn’t flog the dolphin before a big date. Are you crazy? That’s like going out there with a loaded gun! Of course that’s why you’re nervous. Oh my dear friend, please sit, please. Look, um, after you’ve had sex with a girl, and you’re lying in bed with her, are you nervous? No, you’re not, why?
    Ted: Cause I’m tired…
    Dom: Wrong! It’s ’cause you ain’t got the baby batter on the brain anymore! Jesus, that stuff will fuck you’re head up! Look, the most honest moment in a man’s life are the few minutes after he’s blown his load – now that is a medical fact. And the reason for it is that you’re no longer trying to get laid, you’re actually… you’re thinking like a girl, and girls love that.”

  9. Not sure why a loaded gun would be a bad thing to a bunch of libertarians.

    1. It’s the leaving it unattended for anyone who wanders in to pick up that’s the problem.

      Someone should have metaphorically shown Obama some metaphorical Eddie the Eagle gun safety videos.

    2. He’s just giving it away for free. Trump will never learn to load his own guns thanks to Obama’s cruel altruism.

  10. Not the worst President of all time (I will always say it’s Wilson, unless someone really fucks up) but definitely one of the most incompetent at the actual position while being constantly protected by media and party sycophants. Good at getting elected, good at running a campaign, utterly vapid and shallow as an actual leader. And thank Christ for that. If he had the intelligence or cunning of Caesar things would be a lot worse.

    1. Obama left the world a much more unstable and unsafe place than when he took office. He left his party totally out of power and in the worst position it has been in nearly a century. He presided over the weakest recovery in American history. Did little or nothing to address the political and structural issues that caused the great crash of 2008 and in fact likely made them worse. He ran up more debt than all his predecessors combined. He passed healthcare legislation that did profound damage to the nation’s health care system that will take years to undo if it can be undone at all. Despite being the first black President and being elected in the hope electing him would be an historic leap forward in race relations, he left race relations at their worst level since the 1960s. He affirmed all of George Bush’s worst abuses in the war on terror officially making them bipartisan and thus virtually impossible to reverse.

      But hey, his suits were always well pressed, he seems to love his kids, and he by some accounts is interesting dinner conversation.

      That about cover it?

      1. you forgot his pecs

      2. He presided over the weakest recovery in American history.

        This just slightly undersells it.

        He could’ve walked away from any wars we were involved in. Europe wasn’t a smoldering heap. Wheat still grew on the plains and banks were actually a bit too okay with lending people money. Further, the employment numbers went all manner of screwy to conform to the notion of recovery.

        He painted over one of the best funded and favorably positioned yet worst recoveries in American history.

        1. Guess I’m just reading your post with, I believe, the emphasis backwards. You almost make it sound like the recovery was a success when I think it’s the one thing that can be whitewashed into mediocrity.

          1. I was being charitable. The best thing you can say about Obama’s economy is that it didn’t contract. That is it.

            1. GDP grewin spite of Obama and the progressives.

              If the progressives had their way, they would have banned fracking. Even in Texas, the Democrats directly campaigned against fracking in their candidate for Texas Railroad Commissioner and in their rewrite of the party platform. Fracking alone grew the US economy by 2% — a full year’s growth in GDP under Obama. Considering that fracking is responsible for $50/bbl oil instead of $150/bbl oil, there’s no telling how much more of Obama’s lackluster 2% recovery is attributable to fracking.

              Another thing: population grew at about 0.8% per year due to immigration.

      3. He also hangs out with the coolest celebrities.

    2. but definitely one of the most incompetent at the actual position while being constantly protected by media and party sycophants.

      Honestly, I don’t particularly buy that. I think Mr. Obama was actually quite “competent” at the position, at least as it is defined in modern terms. Presidents seem to be judged at how much of their agenda they are able to pass and how much power they are able to accumulate (I’m not saying this is right, just that it is the case). Mr. Obama was quite good at both of these things. It’s just his agenda and the accumulation of power weren’t particularly good for the country.

      1. They’re also judged by body counts and the number of countries they have bombed. Obama has demonstrated competency here as well.

        They’re also judged by conflicts avoided or resolved in the favor of the US. In this category, Obama has failed miserably. He’s even worse than Wilson and Lincoln on this metric because at least they won in their avoidable conflicts. Unless one is an arms merchant or a sociopath, this is the most important category.

      2. Presidents are judged historically on what permanent changes they made. How much of Obama’s agenda will stand the test of time? Will he be a footnote or a transformative figure? We will know in 50 years.

      3. How much of his agenda passed post-2010?

    3. Good at getting elected, good at running a campaign, utterly vapid and shallow as an actual leader. And thank Christ for that. If he had the intelligence or cunning of Caesar things would be a lot worse

      Very much this. Thinking back to the widespread economic anxiety around the 2008 election, as well as the disturbingly Messianic rhetoric that was showered on Obama at that time, things could’ve been much, much worse. Had he been an actual sociopath instead of a vain, mediocre political hack, things could’ve taken a very ugly turn.

    4. I don’t think of Obama as being particularly incompetent as someone who recognized his own inherent laziness and played to it.

      IOW he rarely, if ever, actually tried anything requiring serious effort.

  11. ‘We could use a man like Calvin Coolidge again. Those were the days’.

    1. Stick with the original line. Herbert Hoover wasn’t that bad. How many Americans did Herbert Hoover order assassinated?

      1. He was a step in that direction. As a Progressive, he really thought he could run the country the same way he ran his mines. Calvin Coolidge was right about Hoover – he was an ass.

        1. He totally was. He was a short egghead with a Napoleon complex and the desire to save the world. I am just saying as bad as he was, i would still take him over Obama.

      2. I chose ‘Silent Cal’ due to his tax cuts.budget cuts and all those sweet,sweet vetoes .’A real American hero’. And,Hoover was too much a ‘top man’ believer.

        1. I am not defending Hoover. Hoover sucked. I am just saying Obama is so bad that we could use a man like Hoover again because he would be an improvement.

          1. “We could use a man like Jimmy Carter again.”

            1. Or Richard Nixon. The jokes really do write themselves.

  12. Photo caption:


    1. This message is endorsed by David Brooks. NTTAWWT

    2. Funny you should say that. I was just about to suggest that he go fuck himself!

  13. I think he is going to be the Democratic Hoover, though the media and leftist historians will never admit it. It will be a very long time before you see the Democrats in control of any branch of the federal government much less all three.

    1. though the media and leftist historians will never admit it.

      Why would they. By the standards of power-worship, Obama’s been quite successful.

      1. He was quite successful, right up until last November.

        1. I don’t know. being able to drag Hillary Clinton’s rotting, corrupt, carcass so close to the finish line is a pretty impressive feat in and of itself.

    2. Don’t count your chickens yet, John.

      Voters will turn on the GOP at the first sign of a downturn in the economy, and the economy is eventually going to register a downturn. Of course, the Democrats must shake the lunatic PC progressive fringe to make this happen. It’s perhaps difficult to imagine that now, but the nomination of Trump was unimaginable just a year ago.

      1. the economy is eventually going to register a downturn.

        The Fed could make it happen on 24 hours’ notice just by backing off on the inflation. They’d have to wait long enough for people to believe it was Trump’s fault, though. If he gets his idiotic tariff wishes though, that would be a golden opportunity.


      2. A lot depends on how sudden and how bad the next downturn is, and what is its perceived cause.

        I happen to think the next recession is already baked into the cake. When we see it is anyone’s guess.

  14. Bloomberg just ran a promo for the Ascended One’s farewell speech. It had a little video clip of Obama with a group of “young people” (W H interns, Congressional pages- who cares) and there’s a kid right in front of him, batting his eyes and giving him the Go Code like there’s nobody else in the room..

    The kid makes Pajama Boy look like Ray Nitschke.

    1. I see people like that and am forced to wonder if maybe ISIS has a point.

      1. I’m almost ashamed at how hard I laughed at that. Almost. Between people like that, “man buns”, and fruity flavored beer, I have to conclude that America is imploding.

  15. Gonna read later but didn’t he break some sort of unwritten ethical code thingy when he interjected by saying Trump was ‘unfit to be President’?

  16. “Man, I wish we had one of them Doomsday Machines.”:

  17. “Americans deserve an honest answer to the simple question,”

    Har dee fucking har.

  18. Love that pic. He’s never been anything but a dog licking his own nuts.

    1. While I like the metaphor, I think it does a disservice to our canine friends. Dogs have a much better grasp of loyalty than this POS.

  19. In Trump’s defense, Obama isn’t leaving him with a completely loaded gun. Unless he reloaded after expending all the rounds in it used to
    1. assassinate American citizens that hadn’t been charged with crimes.
    2. Expand the myrderdrine program to 7x its size under Bush.
    3. Start an Islamist coup in Libya and Syria.
    4. Ignore plainly written federal immigration law.

    1. murderdrone?

      1. Nearly 10k people aren’t alive to notice my typo because of them. Sorry.

  20. I can’t but help wonder where in the debate of executive power and overreach is the discussion of where the other branches of guvmint are? No push back from Congress or the Federal Judiciary? No push back from states watching their rights being overtaken by federal fiat? From the 90’s with H.W, to slick willy, GW and Barry we see an increasing power grab (and bigger budgets, and lastly bigger deficits). 2 more 8 year power grabs and the Republic will be crumbling I think.

    1. 2 more 8 year power grabs and the Republic will be crumbling dead I think.

  21. It never ceases to amaze me how incapable prog-tards are of learning simple things like “don’t cheer lead the expansion of executive authority just because you like the current president because you may not like the next guy so much.” It’s like the concept of bad precedents is completely alien to them.

    1. They don’t learn because they love power for than anything else. The risk of the other side getting power never outweighs the attraction of having it. If they thought otherwise, they wouldn’t be progressives.

      1. They’re like shit-moths to a shit-flame, Randy.
        -Jim Lahey

    2. Well, not to defend prog-tards, but a lot of those powers were inherited and built upon.

  22. Hoover was too much a ‘top man’ believer.

    It’s incredible how the progressives and FDR hagiographers have turned the technocratic busybody, government-to-the-rescue Hoover into a fire breathing laissez-faire caricature libertarian.

    1. It really is. FDR claimed Hoover was irresponsible for raising the budget deficit. The truth about the Depression and FDR and Hoover both is totally buried in a giant pile of steaming bullshit.

    2. When asked which Supreme Court decision was the worst, many can name only a few, and it’s almost always Roe v. Wade or Heller or Citizens United. When I ask “How about Wickard v. Filburn?” Blank stares. What case was that?

      That was the case where the government gave itself the power to do damned near anything it wanted, States or We, the People, be damned. It’s the key that can open any lock. Anyone can call anything “commerce”, including “not participating in commerce” if they try hard enough.

      The Supreme Court was packed full of FDR appointees. Eight out of nine justices. FDR hagiographers deserve a special circle of hell (and I don’t even believe in hell, just that they deserve it).

      1. Wickard is next to Dred Scott and Plessey the worst Supreme Court decision in history. And since the other two have been overturned, it is the worst standing precedent. It was a horrible case decided because of pure political power and bullying on FDR’s part. It was basically, give me my way or I will stack the court and destroy the institution getting my way. The justices backed down and gave FDR what he wanted but their doing so was nothing but a concession to raw political power.

        To think that Wickard was properly decided, you have to believe that the Founders spent months crafting a document full of comprises that created this delicate system of federal and state power only to put what amounts to a trap door where the entire system drops out of the bottom of the document in the form of the Commerce Clause. The entire thing is absurd.

        1. Dred Scott was, of course, monstrous. I wouldn’t quite put Plessey in the same category. It could be argued that Plessey was a necessary decision in its time as a conciliatory approach to a very delicate issue, given that the country was a tinderbox; thus, a compromise nobody was happy with.

          I don’t agree with that view and I think freedom is more important than compromise and that the Supreme Court has a duty to make definitive decisions in favor of freedom of the citizenry. Maybe the other side is right on that and I suppose we’ll never know if resultant riots and worse would have been the outcome had it been decided at that point in time otherwise.

          Wickard v. Filburn is head-and-shoulders above both in terms of its evil. Setting aside racial tensions, every single American has had to struggle under a great many laws that would be unconstitutional without that decision. For one example, the war on drugs ultimately finds its justification from that decision, and it should be clear that it furthers racism more than any other policy in our era.

          1. And also wish to add: Wickard v. Filburn is supported unilaterally by proggies today (once you’ve explain to them what it is). They sit in their ivory towers crafting diatribes about “institutional racism” and it’s amazing to watch them do so knowing full well that the powers granted to the government by that one decision prop up the very institution that can, and has, been used for so much damage. They, of course, will never accept responsibility for the actions of a unilaterally bad President because he did so much to “help people.” It’s not unlike the afterglow they feel from the recent administration’s “tender ministrations”, which this article makes clear were actually a brutal and violent rape of lady Liberty.

            1. I’d also throw in United States v. Butler which solidified the spending power of Congress to include spending on items not in the enumerated powers.

          2. Some of the other unsung villains are Baker v. Carr and Reynolds v. Sims. The SCOTUS murdered bicameralism and put republicanism (the principle, not the party) on life support at the state level. Most people don’t even know about either case.

            1. Reynolds v. Simms, more or less made people in rural areas subjects of those living in big cities in many states. Horrible decision.

        2. I would replace Plessey with Korematsu. The SCOTUS saying that the U.S. Government can round up U.S. citizens and throw them in camps is pretty fucking bad.

      2. ^This! 100%!

  23. Remember back when Obama’s people were preparing to write some rules of engagement for murderdroning in case he lost in 2012? Or how they promptly shitcanned that idea when he won?

  24. And also wish to add: Wickard v. Filburn is supported unilaterally by proggies today (once you’ve explain to them what it is).

    They would love to see the entire infrastructure of individual state governments swept aside, to be replaced with an omnipotent federal monolith. They chafe at the i9ntolerable oppression they suffer at the hands of those infernal know-nothings out in the Waste Lands.

  25. Nevaeh. I agree that Richard`s storry is shocking… last wednesday I got a great BMW M3 from earning $5318 this-past/4 weeks and just a little over 10/k lass month. without a question it is the most comfortable job Ive ever had. I began this 10-months ago and pretty much straight away got me at least $83, p/h. see here now

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    1. Thank You Birucito! Your comment has just gots to be the “BEST” one on this here whole entire *Reason comment/message board bar none! At least it provides folks with an opportunity to make a little Scratch instead of just Flapping their Lips Mindlessly in the BREEZE!

  26. Wow, that’s like a term paper. Where are the Cliff’s Notes?

    On the plus side, Obama opened relations with Cuba. Hopefully Trump won’t mess that up.

    1. He’ll probably just ignore Cuba but I’m sure to every Cuba-loving lefty, not talking in the highest tones of praise for Cuban communism will be “messing up” our relations with Cuba.

      1. Thank You Kbolino, like 110% SPOT ON!

    2. Who cares about Cuber?
      Maybe Trump will open a hotel there.

  27. Obama has relied on Congress to define the limits of executive war powers.

    Congress in its members speeches and questioning have clearly told Obama he has not been killing enough people, not been waging enough war.

    Congress could quickly repeal the hastily passed declaration of global endless war on scary people the president must name from just after September 11, 2001. But no, Congress does not want anyone to say “Congress, you need to declare war on X to authorize military action in response to their terrorism.” That would mean Congress must exercise it’s Constitutional power and debate, legislate, tax and spend, to wage war against an enemy. Or not act, because they do not want to take responsibility for making American taxpayer sacrifice their money for VICTORY.

    WWII was a decisive victory because all Americans sacrificed, paying extremely high taxes and shedding a lot of American blood. Today voters want the clear victory of WWII without any sacrifice at all. So, Congress has shifted the Constitutional burden from itself to the President. That way, Congress has no responsibility for anything, and the president is always to blame.

    Bush was to blame in the end. Obama is to blame. Trump campaigned blaming Bush and Obama. But from Jan 20, 2017, Trump will be to blame because VICTORY is impossible because sacrifice is prohibited.

    That is on Congress, but Congress does not want to be blamed for doing what it has sole power to do.

    1. No amount of taxation or conscription is going to change the nature of the enemy we’re fighting nor make that enemy more like the ones fought in WWII. There is no Emperor of Japan, there is no German High Command. There will never be an unconditional surrender because there is no one with the authority to issue it.

      1. The US is also not threatened in any way similar to the threats of WWII. Regardless, I agree with mulp that congress is hiding behind fig leaves.

    2. Obama wanted a war resolution from Congress that tied his own hands behind his back, but he was already waging war based on the 911 AUMF – sort of a “stop me before I kill again” maneuver. What Obama was really asking for was tying his successor’s hands. All the Dems were backing Obama, as they always do. The Republican Congress just said the hell with it, it is better to do nothing.

  28. Personally I am just HAPPY that come next Friday January the 20th this here eight year Race baiting Black Muslim Communist Racist NIGHTMARE is finally coming to an end! AMEN!

    1. If he were a Muslim and/or a Communist he wouldn’t have been as bad as he was. Unfortunately, he is a Liberal Progressive Intellectual Twit, On Each. They grow like mushrooms in the bogs of academia. They are sure of everything and know nothing. A Communist has a consistent program. A Muslim believes in a Higher Power. Jugears and his kind simply believe that they know What Is Best in all cases, with no actual talent and no consistency.

      Good riddance.

      1. Are you sure Obama’s not a Muslim? The perpetual war president is certaintly is NOT a Christian despite his pretence and lip-service. Christian’s believe in the Ten Commandments – and Thou Shalt NOT KILL is one of them…

        Nobel Peace prize – what a joke!

    2. Amen! And much of the country is as well. But you wouldn’t know it from the enormous bias shown by the main-stream media…

  29. President Elect Trump will inherit King Obama’s crown and secret kill list!!!

  30. If there was any doubt that when it comes to Donald Trump that the staff at unReason is totally deranged, this article is more than enough to confirm it.

    1. Indeed. Maybe not TOTALLY deranged, but certainly sort of deranged…

  31. “But his most lasting legacy will be one few?perhaps least of all Obama himself?expected. He will leave to his successor a presidency even more powerful and dangerous than the one he inherited from Bush.”

    No. This is exactly what he expected. What he didn’t expect is that the progs were not in fact given a divine mandate to rule in perpetuity with his re-election. Smartest. President. Ever. huh?

    Fucking moron. May his own party stuff him down the memory hole with great haste (of course, they’re also morons).

  32. Is he gone yet? Is he gone yet? Is he gone yet? Is he gone yet? Is he gone yet? Is he gone yet? Is he gone yet?

  33. Goodbye Jugears. Write if you get work. For the first time in your f*cking life.

    Jesus Christ on a flaming pogo stick, and the Left is whinging about Trump being unqualified. Shrillary is better qualified, and I would have voted for a roadkilled possum before I voted for her.

  34. The “president went to the State Department’s top lawyer, who came up with the legal cover he wanted.”

    So who is that “top lawyer” responsible? If you don’t name his/her name, then how do we know who’s responsible?

    Assigning responsibility is IMPORTANT!

  35. Obama got away with stretching his executive powers because his own party in Congress let him. They are far more interested in pure partisanship and supporting their President in everything than they are in the institutional powers of the Congress. Overriding a President takes a 2/3 majority of Congress, so if the President’s own party supports him slavishly, he can get away with just about anything.

    I don’t think Trump will get that kind of slavish support from the GOP after his honeymoon period is over.

  36. Goodbye? More like fuck you, beat it.

  37. Obama got away with stretching his executive powers because his own party in Congress let him. They are far more interested in pure partisanship and supporting their President in everything than they are in the institutional powers of the Congress. Overriding a President takes a 2/3 majority of Congress, so if the President’s own party supports him slavishly, he can get away with just about anything.

    I don’t think Trump will get that kind of slavish support from the GOP after his honeymoon period is over.


  38. Good bye.. Obama is very good president in usa…

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  40. I can see what your saying… Raymond `s article is surprising, last week I bought a top of the range Acura from making $4608 this-past/month and-a little over, $10,000 this past month . with-out any question its the easiest work I’ve ever had . I began this five months/ago and almost straight away startad bringin in minimum $82 per-hr
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  41. The best part of work is from comfort of your house and get paid from $100-$2k each week. Start today and have your first cash at the end of this week. For more info Check the following link

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  42. I get paid ?82 every hour from online joobs. I never thought I’d be able to do it but my friend AB is earning ?9k monthly by doing this job and she showed me how. Try it out on following website..

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  43. just before I saw the receipt that said $7527 , I accept that my mom in-law woz like actualey making money in there spare time from there pretty old laptop. . there aunt had bean doing this for less than twentey months and at present cleared the depts on there appartment and bourt a great new Citro?n 2CV . look here…….
    Clik This Link inYour Browser.
    ================> http://www.homejobs7.com

  44. Good riddance to president Selfie.

  45. My best friend’s wife makes Bucks75/hr on the laptop. She has been unemployed for eight months but last month her income with big fat bonus was over Bucks9000 just working on the laptop for a few hours.
    Read more on this site
    ================== http://www.homejobs7.com

  46. Eh bien, je suis un bon poste watcher vous pouvez dire et je ne donne pas une seule raison de critiquer ou de donner une bonne critique ? un poste. Je lis des blogs de 5 derni?res ann?es et ce blog est vraiment bon cet ?crivain a les capacit?s pour faire avancer les choses i aimerais voir nouveau poste par vous Merci



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