A Petulant President’s Final Tantrum
Even after the election of Republican Scott Brown as a senator from Massachusetts—proceeded to ram Obamacare down the throats of the American people against their wishes? Of course you do. You just traded him in for a slightly older, but better functioning, president. (I know the brakes might be faulty on this one, as well, but, at least, his stick shift isn’t stuck on Forward.)
Perhaps you also remember some of the drama surrounding the Obamacare debacle, as well. It was already quite clear that President Obama had little respect for the American people, especially the “clingers” who were dubious of many of his claims. When Senator John McCain questioned Obamacare at a carefully-crafted charade at the White House, the president proceeded to mock him for losing. If all else failed, our Condescender-in-Chief would simply complain that anybody and everybody is on “the wrong side of history”—except for him, of course.
Such petulance is annoying, but could, in theory, be of little harm—if it didn’t so often find an outlet in the exercise of political power and coercion. Need we recite the list of near or clear abuses of executive power by the Obama administration? It is not so much that our current president would take his ball and go home whenever he faced opposition—rather, he resented having to play ball in the first place and really just wanted the court.
Throughout his runaway presidency, President Obama legislated by executive fiat. He often found vague language to reinterpret or discovered obscure old laws to repurpose, as he did in the past week with his unilateral ban on Arctic drilling. This intrusive use of executive power would not be quite so damaging if it were not backed by the uneven temperament of a petulant and vindictive president.
The most recent (and, hopefully, last) abuse of power is also the worst. After years of acrimony with Israel over the Palestinian conflict and Iranian nuclear deal, the Obama administration—in its waning weeks—thrust one final dagger into the back of its ally. The U.N. takes a fair number of shots at Israel each year, but for the past half century, America has vetoed and blocked such resolutions that seek to condemn Israel or hem them in.
By abstaining from the U.N. Security Council vote condemning Israeli settlements on the West Bank, the U.S. effectively endorsed the measure by breaking prior U.S. precedent allowing it to pass. It is also becoming increasingly apparent that the resolution itself was crafted and pushed behind the scenes by the Obama Administration. This measure greatly undermines Israel’s bargaining position in the peace process—and the process itself. Israel is now in violation of international law and the Palestinians have no incentive to curb terrorism or work toward more substantive compromise.
Unlike much of the other mischief caused by this administration, President-elect Trump cannot simply rescind this move. In order to do so, he would need to solicit the approval of every other permanent member of the Security Council and Russian and Chinese vetoes are virtually guaranteed. Israel was just wounded by its most important ally and will be left with a limp for the foreseeable future.
This is the havoc caused by a president who was unable to assess the world through the lens of America’s interests, focused by America’s ideals.
A few years ago, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu directly addressed the United States Congress on the need to prevent the Iranian nuclear deal. His controversial appearance was not a bid to undermine the Obama administration as much as it was a desperate bid to prevent the nuclear armament of a country intent of Israel’s annihilation. In other words, Netanyahu was doing what he thought was most important for his country’s interests.
This calculated risk assumed that the American president could make similar, objective assessments of what is properly in line with the interests of America. As it pertains to the Obama Administration, this assumption was misguided. This is the same president who treated Netanyahu like a disobedient child in 2010 and had by that point tossed all objectivity aside on the issue.
The most important outcome of our recent presidential election is not that we now have a President-elect Trump, but that we have a President-eject Obama. This final tantrum reminds us that—contrary to the media narrative—Trump’s temperament is not nearly as concerning as that of our departing president. And he isn’t leaving a moment too soon.