Conservatives Don’t Understand the Constitution When Obama’s in Charge


The Daily Caller posted a link to Republican pundit Charles Krauthammer’s Monday night appearance on “Special Report” on the FOX News Channel.  During the appearance, Krauthammer argued Romney made the correct move in not commenting on or taking a “punt” on President Obama’s immigration policy articulated Friday.  

Krauthammer parroted the legally incorrect argument that the President acted beyond his Constitutional authority.  In reality, President Obama acted squarely within his authority under Article II of the Constitution.  

​The Daily Caller’s posting Krauthammer’s television appearance is interesting because it is the same publication that sent a reporter to the White House Rose Garden to interrupt the President during his historic Friday speech.  Virtually all serious journalists agree the reporter behaved deplorably.

 Now the Republicans, buoyed by support from online sites such as The Daily Caller, are extolling the virtue of Romney taking no stance on a key issue while celebrating the reporter’s taking cheap shots at the President.  Republicans do so by misstating the law while exemplifying a Palinesque understanding of the power of the Executive and the separation of powers in general.

​It is no surprise the Republicans continue to misstate the law in order to torpedo the President’s principled stance, which is also a brilliant political stance.  Basic civics teaches the federal government has three branches of government.  Congress makes laws; the Executive branch, headed by the President, enforces them; and the Judicial branch, headed by the Supreme Court, interprets them.

​Article I does give the Congress the power to pass laws relating to immigration, but Article II gives the President the power to enforce the laws.  This means the President has the power to enforce the laws within the meaning of the law or to not enforce the law.  Reasonable minds can disagree on what the meaning of the law is.

​This country needs meaningful immigration reform, and this reform is stymied at every turn by the Republicans who have repeatedly blocked the DREAM ACT.  

Likewise, Congress does not adequately fund Homeland Security, which oversees immigration.  This slows the process.

The President decided to pave the way to citizenship for undocumented individuals under the age of 30 who came to the U.S. before age 16.  These individuals cannot be criminals or a threat to national security.  It makes sense to bring individuals in compliance with the law, but the Republicans (when they actually take a stance) do not see it this way.

​A friend of mine (a staunch Republican) likened the President’s decision to “prosecutorial discretion” because it is the President’s discretion as to whether or not to enforce the laws and how to enforce the laws.  What is different here, however, is the President’s principled stance gives freedom to people where as the Republicans want to take freedom away.

​Mitt Romney decided to make no comment on the immigration issue, which is one of the most significant issues of our time.  Not very Presidential. Instead Romney let an amateur reporter with a bad tie interrupt the President during a speech in the White House Rose Garden.  

It is not surprising Krauthammer would praise Romney for taking no stance as well as incorrectly stating it is a “congressional issue”.  Krauthammer, Bill Kristol and now Tucker Carlson, who started the Daily Caller, are Neocons, and Neocons have never been known for their understanding of the law or grasp of the facts. The Neocons misstate the law and show stunning inconsistency in praising the reporter heckler while also praising Romney for retreating into spineless oblivion.  

​Democrats should stand up proud.  President Obama takes stances.  He believes in something unlike Mitt Romney who has changed his position more times than I change ties in a year.  It is important to be flexible.  No question about that, but in the end it is important to stand for something.  It is hard to see what Mitt Romney stands for other than “vulture capitalism,” which Bain Capital practiced so skillfully.

Tucker Carlson’s previous show, Crossfire, failed to get the ratings necessary to keep it on the air; perhaps Tucker’s little bow ties had something to do with this.  Too bad he did not discovery his lack of dancing talent then because it may have saved the show.  Of course it is no worse than Mitt Romney’s singing.  

​Tucker Carlson is trying to do well with his website even if it means sending cub reporters to heckle the President in the White House Rose Garden.  That is okay if the Republicans want to play this way, but come election time they better hope Mitt Romney stands for something.  Otherwise they will be as out of step as Tucker Carlson and his Neocon ilk.

11 Replies to “Conservatives Don’t Understand the Constitution When Obama’s in Charge”

  1. Where did you come up with this nonsense: “…Article II gives the President the power to enforce the laws. This means the President has the power to enforce the laws within the meaning of the law or to not enforce the law.” The Constitution doesn’t say a damned thing about any president having the authority to choose “not to enforce the law” or to enforce the law selectively. I’ll readily admit that many presidents have done precisely that, but that does not make doing so constitutional, and your assertion that that is the meaning of Article II is utter nonsense.

  2. Have you reviewed all the decisions based on this subject by the SCOTUS? Come back when you’re done

  3. The first sentence of Article II reads:

    “The executive Power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America.”

    The executive power specifically means the power to execute the laws. Since it’s a power of the presidency, he does indeed have the ability to not only enforce the laws, but to decide which laws will be a priority for enforcement. (And thus, which ones will *not* be a priority as well.)

  4. Obama didn’t say he wouldn’t enforce the law, he just isn’t going to enforce it right now. He went waaaay out of his way asking the do-nothing congress to take up and pass a comprehensive immigration law. If the republicans are so outraged, then all they have to do is get their act together and work for a change. Romney isn’t going to take a stance because he has to please the angry old white men, and congress isn’t about to take up immigration and risk losing the rest of the latino vote.

    What’s a mother to do? Obama not only did the ‘right’ thing, it was brilliant politics. Very few Americans believe that congress is capable of acting on anything and executive orders seem to be the only way to get any movement on matters of importance. I don’t like the precedent being set of governance by EO, but the alternative of continuing to do nothing isn’t acceptable either…

  5. This article is well reasoned and written. This is not a Conservative rag. If it were, you would be writing exactly as Krauthammer who certainly does not appeal to the intellectual who has read and understands the Constitution. He is appealing to the low- to no-information voter who operates on their belief system. This market wants to hear and read only those remarks that validate their existing beliefs or those concepts that fall therein.

    Too bad that market is not reading your interesting, informational article and wholly pathetic they don’t know the Constitution well enough to know when they are being duped.

  6. They don’t seem to worry about being duped, Albie. All they want is to get rid of President Obama. They’re willing to destroy the country to regain the reins of power in Congress and to put Romney in the White House. They’re definitely not patriots because they are unwilling to put the needs of the country ahead of their desire for power, fame, and wealth.

  7. I contend conservatives do not understand the Constitution regardless who is President, or they would not have required a reading at the beginning of the 112th Congress, or needed that crook Antonin Scalia to give a Constitution lesson at the behest of that other half-wit, Michele Bachmann. Just sayin’

  8. DREAM Act could have very easily been law of the land by now if the GOP hadn’t played procedural games in the Senate. It passed the House in December 2010 in the last weeks of Democratic control. It received 55 votes in the Senate at about the same time, but alas under current modus operandi 55 out of 100 doesn’t seem to constitute a majority:(

  9. The President has to follow the law passed by Congress. He has done that. However, since it is left to the discretion of the prosecutors (in the legal proceedings when deporting an illegal immigrant) they will decide. Prosecutorial law: Prosecutorial discretion refers to the fact that under American law, government prosecuting attorneys have nearly absolute powers. A prosecuting attorney has power on various matters including those relating to choosing whether or not to bring criminal charges, deciding the nature of charges, plea bargaining and sentence recommendation. This discretion of the prosecuting attorney is called prosecutorial discretion. This is one brilliant President. My hat is off to you..

    “Under the prosecutor’s discretion illegal immigrants may receive temporary legal status and then two-year, renewable work permits. It does not provide them a path to citizenship”. In his speech, Obama stressed that the move is “not amnesty,” and he thinks Congress should still pass a broader legalization bill.
    I don’t believe a President can ignore a law created in Congress,,but does have leeway on how to carry it out. He also has to abide by the amount of appropriated funds and work within that amount. It is not the President that is using the prosecutor discretion, but giving them (the prosecutors)guidelines to be used during the legal proceedings during the deportation process. Most likely keeping costs low in the process as well.

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