As it happens, I tend to agree that members of the opposition party in Congress should not send letters to foreign governments that the President is negotiating with in order to undercut his negotiating position. I think the proper thing to do in case the opposition party feels that they will not ratify an agreement the President might make is for them to send a letter to the President indicating as such so that the President might be able to shape his own negotiations. As a general rule, however, the country ought to have one voice at the actual negotiating table itself.
Another President might be able to make this case convincingly to the American public. However, the one who currently occupies the White House has completely and thoroughly abdicated the moral high ground when it comes to respecting the prerogatives of the other co-equal branches of government. More than any other President in recent history, Obama has taken the posture with Congress that he can do whatever he wants, even invade territory that clearly belongs to Congress under the Constitution. Whenever Congress has complained, he has taken the public posture, “Well, do something about it. If you can.” He has done so secure in the knowledge that his neutered lapdogs in the Senate will back his blatant power grabs.
When Congress was holding itself in session and thus clearly not in recess, President Obama declared that they actually were in recess and made recess appointments that clearly would never have gotten through Congress in the first place, a power grab so breathtakingly galling and unconstitutional that it was ultimately rebuked by a unanimous Supreme Court. Obama’s response to Congress’ justified anger at his arrogance: Do something about it.
When Congress was unwilling to pass cap and trade legislation that was to Obama’s liking, Obama directed the EPA to clearly exceed its statutory authority and implement Cap and Trade anyway. Obama’s response to Congress: do something about it.
When Obama wanted to grant insurance companies a bailout under Obamacare through the risk corridors, Congress was not willing to appropriate funds for this obvious slush fund for the politically well-connected. Accordingly, Obama merely directed that the risk corridor payments be made in the absence of a Congressional appropriation. In case you were wondering, this is a flatly unconstitutional arrogation of Congressional power. Obama’s response to Congressional demands for an explanation of his supposed authority to make these payments is: Do something about it.
When Congress originally passed Obamacare, the election of Scott Brown to the Senate made the entry of language preventing taxpayer funds from being used to pay for abortions impractical. To allay the concerns of alleged pro-life Democrats, the President promised to uphold this principle via executive order in the absence of a legislative fix. Less than two years later, Obama directed HHS to violate this executive order exposing that the initial promise was a bald-faced lie to Congress – Congressional Democrats in particular. Obama’s response to Congress: Do something about it.
When Obama unilaterally and without statutory authorization granted a waiver of the employer mandate in Obamacare in a clear political stunt that violated the clear text of a statute passed by Congress, Obama again essentially said to Congress: Do something about it.
When Obama released five Gitmo detainees in exchange for deserter Bowe Bergdahl, he did so without providing Congress the required notification as expressly required by law. In fact, the Obama administration flatly omitted to breaking the law during the course of this swap. Their stated position, once again, was to defy Congress to do something about it.
When Obama moved to normalize relations with Cuba in clear violation of Federal Law, he did not even bother with the pretense of going to Congress and asking them to change existing law so that his actions might be legal. Nor has Obama shown that he gives a flip about the fact that even many Democrats in Congress were aghast at his decision to do this unilaterally. His message to Congress: Do something about it.
And the list goes on and on: Net Neutrality, the ammo ban, Libya, Syria, Obama clearly has decided to play head-in-the-sand with the very existence of the United States Congress.
So now Obama finally finds himself on the receiving end of Congressional action which is not even illegal or unconstitutional. It is, however, a direct challenge to his ability to effectively do his job and at least arguably a breach of inter-branch etiquette. It’s as though this particular slap in the face has finally caused Obama to awaken from his stupor, look around and realize that Congress still exists and is having their silly little meetings occasionally. And his stunned response is, “Hey, you guys are trying to do my job! This is something I’m supposed to do!”
Well, President Obama, Do something about it.