The president who promised to unite us is in full attack mode, EIGHT MONTHS before Election Day. Republicans are not just wrong, Obama suggested Tuesday, they make Ronald Reagan look like Keith Olbermann. They’re un-American. They want to kill grandma AND euthanize her cats.
It’s unhealthy in a democracy for a president to be engaged in this kind of contempt for another branch of government. But on the matter of separation of powers, Obama’s effort Monday to lay the groundwork for a political campaign against the Supreme Court is a dangerous doubling down.
Here, you may remember, is what Obama said:
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. And I’d just remind conservative commentators that for years what we’ve heard is, the biggest problem on the bench was judicial activism or a lack of judicial restraint — that an unelected group of people would somehow overturn a duly constituted and passed law. Well, this is a good example. And I’m pretty confident that this Court will recognize that and not take that step.
The Supreme Court was designed to be independent. That’s why its justices are appointed for life. But Obama’s remarks are a clear warning that if the Court’s members take the “unprecedented, extraordinary step” of overturning Obamacare, they will be fair game for the Obama attack machine, just like the House Republicans who took the unprecedented, extraordinary step of producing a budget Obama doesn’t like.
As Joseph Curl notes today in the Washington Times, Obama’s operatives have calculated that he will suffer serious political damage if the Court throws out his prized law.
Average Americans will have the impression, Curl writes, that the president ignored the Constitution as he seized new domains for the federal government.
The most divisive president in history is setting up yet another straw man for his re-election campaign, one that fits directly into his strategy to divide and conquer.
The campaign geniuses, the same ones who came up with the idea to run against the much-despised Congress (even though Democrats control the Senate), have decided that deriding the Supreme Court as an arm of the Republican Party is a winning plan, one that will resonate across the country come November . . .
And so Obama will have to undermine the Court itself. The Court, he will argue, must be getting its orders from the RNC.
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said Wednesday that the president had made “an unremarkable observation” about the Court. I believe Carney thinks this. Only in the Obama White House, where attack and vitriol carry the day every day, could an attempt to begin painting the Supreme Court as a surly pack of extremists seem “unremarkable.”
And the justices deserve it, of course. After all, the Supreme Court may be standing in the way of truly enlightened governing.
Curl says the strategy will backfire.
But here, the big brains are horribly mistaken: Mr. Obama maligns the high court at his peril. Americans, especially those in what dual-coast lefties derisively dub “flyover country,” like their Supreme Court. They aren’t about to let a president — any president — bully what many see as the cornerstone of the checks-and-balances system set up by the Founders.
I agree. This is a bridge too far into uncharted territory where, if Obama decides to take up residence, he will find things very inhospitable.
And it may backfire somewhere else: at the Supreme Court.