by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
George Leef’s latest Forbes column examines a new book that shines light on one of the more disturbing elements of Barack Obama’s presidential legacy.
A big part of Barack Obama’s campaign for the White House in 2007-08 was that he would be the exact opposite of George W. Bush. In particular, Obama attacked Bush for aggrandizing the power of the presidency. During the campaign, Obama told supporters, “The biggest problems we’re facing right now have to do with George Bush’s trying to bring more and more power into the executive branch and not go through Congress. And that’s what I intend to reverse when I’m president.”
It’s a good thing for Obama that campaign promises are not legally binding. As George Mason University law professor David Bernstein shows in his new book Lawless, Obama did not just fail to reverse the Bush trend of centralizing power — he and his political allies have made it much worse.
Bernstein forthrightly declares, “There has never been a greater gap between a presidential candidate’s constitutional promises and his actions in the Oval Office.” We have suffered through a lot of imperial presidencies before, but I think Bernstein is right. On respecting the rule of law, Obama is the worst ever.
The book covers many of the instances where Obama and/or his subordinates refused to let the law get in the way of doing whatever they wanted.