President Biden is so rigorous about sticking to (slowly) reading off his prompter and ducking reporters’ questions that everything in his messaging depends on what is being written for him.
And the stuff that’s being written for him is bone-chilling stuff. Today he suggested the decisions of the nation’s elected governors must be stamped out by Joe Biden. The president today showed authoritarian, even autocratic, tendencies.
Do I exaggerate? Like Presidents Obama and Trump before him, Biden has repeatedly expressed the idea that should Congress not act the way he prefers, he thereby gains special license to legislate via executive order. Today he baldly stated state governments were a hindrance to the executive branch’s ability to work its will on the American people.
“If they’ll not help, if these governors won’t help us beat the pandemic, I’ll use my power as president to get them out of the way,” Biden said, shredding the concept of federalism.
Whoever wrote this frightening speech was, I suspect, thinking of Bill Clinton’s 1992 convention speech in which he referred back to the spat between Abraham Lincoln and George McClellan:
A President ought to be a powerful force for progress. But right now I know how President Lincoln felt when General McClellan wouldn’t attack in the Civil War. He asked him, “If you’re not going to use your army, may I borrow it?” And so I say, George Bush, if you won’t use your power to help America, step aside. I will.
Not for the first time, a Democrat sought to bring the aura of wartime emergency, and all of the powers that may come with it, to a non-urgent moment. But Clinton’s remark was merely a defense of big government as a solution to people’s problems. In the mangled version that Biden’s speech writers came up with, the federal government is not merely about helping people, it should overstep the boundaries of the Constitution to overrule and nullify actions of duly elected state governments. It was an amazing revelation of where the Democratic party’s instincts lie today: there is one authority that decides all questions from Juneau to Miami, it is in Washington, D.C., and it sits in the Oval Office. Here’s someone who knows something about the issues at stake:
“Get them out of the way”? Remarkable stuff. It’s an “I have a pen and a phone” moment, but one that threatens federalism rather than the separation of powers—and the sort of rhetoric that many people have been calling “autocratic” or “strongman” in recent years. https://t.co/2oQ4qnx0iU
— Christopher J. Scalia (@cjscalia) September 9, 2021
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