When Barack Obama was on the cusp of becoming president in 2008, he gave a speech declaring to his supporters that they were days away from “fundamentally transforming the United States of America.” That was one promise he did keep. How has America been transformed? America has unprecedented levels of national debt. The Obamas, like the Clintons, will not feel the impact since they will all be vastly enriched from their “public service.” There have also been records set for food stamp and disability payments, record low workplace participation rates and unparalleled weakness abroad. Granted, the stock market is hitting record highs -- a consequence of abnormally low interest rates and the extraordinary use of quantitative easing. Obama’s War on the One Percent has failed. But Barack Obama has done far more and the consequences will be felt for many years to come. He has transformed the presidency.
Obama has seized power in ways that Michael Barone has aptly characterized as “Gangsta Government.” Barone was inspired to write his first column on that topic by Obama’s unilateral denying of creditor rights in the Chrysler bankruptcy. But it became a series for Barone, and Obama’s future actions provided the gist for David Freddoso’s superb book, Gangster Government: Barack Obama and the New Washington Thugocracy. Obamacare was jammed through Congress via “reconciliation” a rarely used procedure meant to deal with minor budget issues -- not taking over one-sixth of the American economy.
More arrogation of power followed. Obama made recess appointments when he alone declared Congress was in recess, and tried to load up government positions with like-minded ideologues without bothering to abide by the Constitutional mandate that the Senate had to approve these appointments. The Supreme Court eventually rebuked him for exceeding his constitutional authority. He has used his regulatory agencies to transfigure the laws as passed by even a Democratic Congress when those laws might cause him political problems (Obamacare waivers and delays, for instance; the IRS interpreting Obamacare legislation to require subsidies flow to people in states that failed to set up their own exchanges, though the legislation did not provide for that practice). Clearly, Barack Obama never had much respect for the second branch of the government.
But Obama does not show much respect for the Judiciary branch of the government either, as shown by his display of contempt towards the Supreme Court at various times, including a shocking display during his 2010 State of The Union Address when he (wrongly) accused them of making a decision that would allow foreign funding of political campaigns. He also declared that the Supreme Court should rule that Obamacare was constitutional:
"Ultimately, I'm confident that the Supreme Court will not take what would be an unprecedented, extraordinary step of overturning a law that was passed by a strong majority of a democratically elected Congress,"Not only was this statement wholly inappropriate for a president to make it was factually wrong (maybe he should have been tested on the Constitution before being hired to be a part-time lecturer on it at the University of Chicago).