Sunday, July 31, 2011

Obama Better Not Dare Invoke the 14th Amendment!!

There is a rising chorus of voices calling on the President to raise the debt limit unilaterally by invoking the 14th Amendment. Rep John Larson of Connecticut who chairs the Democratic caucus;  Rep. Xavier Becerra of California, the assistant caucus chair; Rep. James Clyburn of South Carolina, a member of the Democratic leadership; Minority Whip Steny Hoyer; Senator Barbara Boxer; Sen. Tom Harkin of Iowa; Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont; former President Bill Clinton; The Huffington Post, Salon; and hundreds of liberal bloggers and pundits are urging the President to do so.

The post-Civil War 14th Amendment gave citizenship right to the newly freed slaves by guaranteeing citizenship to all people born or naturalized in the United States and it also contained a provision to keep the representatives of southern states readmitted to the Union from renouncing the civil war debt. That section say, “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.”

So far, the White House has rejected resorting to invoking the 14th should congress fail to raise the debt limit but the administration has stopped short of saying the president will not invoke the amendment.  White House spokesman Jay Carney has said the President, “does not believe that the 14th Amendment gives the president the power to ignore the debt ceiling."  I hope Congress can find a way to raise the debt limit.  If they do not, I hope the President does not suddenly change his mind and use the 14th Amendment option.

Should Congress fail to raise the debt ceiling we will have a crisis. However, raising the debt ceiling by invoking the 14th will not solve the crisis. It does not solve a problem. It will create a bigger crisis. The legality of the new debt limit will be in question.  That will not calm the markets. It will not create confidence in the debt instruments of the United States. The House will most likely appeal to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court may or may not take up the case. There can be little doubt that the House will move to impeach the President, although it is doubtful the Senate would remove him from office.

And, it would radicalize many Americans.

I myself, while committed to free market principles, the Constitution, limited government,  and the rule of law, have in practice considered myself pragmatic and moderate. I have reasoned, that in America, if we were using a football analogy, we are all playing within the 40 yard lines.  Sometimes we move left; sometime we move right. They win one; we win one.  Essentially we have different priorities and we have our disagreements but we agree on the big stuff.  I no longer feel that way.  I believe with President Obama's election there was a fundamental effort to remake America in the image of a European socialist state.

While I have considered myself part of the tea party movement, I have never viewed the tea party as monolithic and some fringes in the movement have embarrassed me if not offended me. Much of the mainstream media have focused on those fringes to try and smear the movement.  However, I have found myself becoming more and more partisan and ideological, the longer President Obama stays in office. The more radical elements in the tea party are starting to sound more reasonable.

The pushing through of Obamacare legislatively with no margin to spare and engaging in the buying off of Nebraska, Louisiana and Florida to do so deeply offended and angered me. It did not seem legitimate. For the first time ever, mandating that one engage in a particular commerce, I think, violates the Constitution. By granting thousands of waivers from the provisions of Obamacare to his friends, violates the fundamental principle of rule of law. He further exhibited his attempt to rule by fiat when he tried to regulate greenhouse gases without congressional authority. Obama’s refusal to seek Congressional approval for his military adventure in Libya was his most egregious offence.   It seems to be an impeachable offense and yet he gets by with it.  I do not believe we have ever seen such abuse of power. 

Should the President, invoke the 14th amendment, I will become radicalized. As the saying goes, that may be the straw that breaks the camel's back. I will feel we have an illegitimate government. Invoking the 14th will be the equivalent of declaring martial law  I don't know that I will act differently. I would not be ready to man the barricades, but I think I would cheer for those who do.  Invoking the 14th would be very close to an act of war against the American people. The Obama Presidency would be the Obama dictatorship.

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