The law be damned. Constitution-schmonstitution.
We can’t have our way through democratic procedure, so we’ll just blow up democracy and rule by fiat. Because We Know Better.
That’s Rep Jesse Jackson, Jr’s (Dem, IL) attitude, as reported in The Daily Caller yesterday. He was holding forth on the virtues of Obama’s Stimulus Lite, that $500 billion “jobs” bill that failed a cloture vote in the Senate a couple of days ago. But let’s let the good Representative speak for himself, with my commentary interspersed.
I hope the president continues to exercise extraordinary constitutional means, based on the history of Congresses that have been in rebellion in the past. He’s looking administratively for ways to advance the causes of the American people, because this Congress is completely dysfunctional.
I’m not aware of any Congresses that have been in rebellion in the past. I must have slept through that part of my junior high Civics. But what about that alleged dysfunction? The “dysfunction” stems from Congressmen actually have the gall to honor their commitment to their constituents to work to hold down government spending (this “jobs” bill wanted to spend $175 billion we don’t have and to continue to pay people for not working, rather than stimulating job growth) and to hold down taxes (the bill wants to “pay for” those $175 billion by adding a surtax of 5.6% on “millionaires,” the Progressives’ more new taxes mantra). And this elides objections to the Progressives’ class war, which they’re using as justification for the taxes.
President Obama tends to idealize—and rightfully so—Abraham Lincoln, who looked at states in rebellion and he made a judgment that the government of the United States, while the states are in rebellion, still had an obligation to function…. On several occasions now, we’ve seen…the Congress is in rebellion, determined…to wreck or ruin at all costs.
The Progressive is accusing the Congress, for doing its duty with its power of the purse, of committing Treason (the Constitution’s definition (Art III, Sect 3)) by being in open rebellion against the President of the United States—how, exactly? The Congress isn’t rolling over and giving the President everything he’s demanding is the treasonous, rebellious behavior.
Listen to the video, too; it’s highly instructive. We have, for instance, this from Rep Jackson:
The President had an opportunity to exercise Section 4 of the 14th Amendment; he chose not to.
This is what the 14th Amendment actually says:
The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned. But neither the United States nor any State shall assume or pay any debt or obligation incurred in aid of insurrection or rebellion against the United States, or any claim for the loss or emancipation of any slave; but all such debts, obligations and claims shall be held illegal and void.
Notice that there is nothing authorizing the President to create new or to increase existing debt by Executive fiat.
Rep Jackson’s entire performance is a breathtaking, Ezra Klein-esque ignorance of the Constitution (which is understandable; it is, after all, so old).
On the other hand, Rep Jackson insists that the Congress “is in rebellion;” how can any debt that it creates or increases be valid at all? Hmm….