- - Friday, February 14, 2014

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

America is unraveling at a stunning speed and to a staggering degree. The decline is breathtaking, and the prognosis is dim.

For starters, President Obama now rules by decree. Reportedly for the 27th time, he has changed Obamacare single-handedly and without congressional approval.

“That’s the good thing about being president,” Mr. Obama joked last week. “I can do whatever I want.”

The same day, Mr. Obama decreed that the Obamacare mandate for employers with 50 to 99 employees would be postponed until 2016, well past the November 2014 midterm elections. This eases the pressure on Democrats whose campaigns would suffer if employees saw their company plans canceled.

Also by decree, Mr. Obama decided to soften political-asylum rules. Refugees and other immigrants who provide terrorists “limited material support” now can come to America.

So what if someone merely clothed and fed Mohamed Atta or Khalid Shaikh Mohammed? After all, garments and meals don’t blow up.

The president’s predecessors have signed executive orders and, more or less, left it at that. Mr. Obama, instead, told Congress at last month’s State of the Union: “Wherever and whenever I can take steps without legislation to expand opportunity for more American families, that’s what I’m going to do.”

While appalled Republicans sat on their hands, Democrats stood up and shouted like equatorial, rubber-stamp parliamentarians. “Hooray! We are irrelevant!” you could almost hear them say.

Meanwhile, as Marc Thiessen wrote in The Washington Post, new Congressional Budget Office figures show that Obamacare will reduce U.S. incomes by $70 billion annually between 2017 and 2024.

The CBO also estimated that, by 2021, Obamacare’s disincentives to hire and incentives not to work would slash work hours by the equivalent of 2.3 million jobs.

Rather than dispute these figures, key Democrats embraced them.

“We want people to have the freedom to be a writer,” said House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat, “to be a photographer, to make music, to paint.” Democrats actually applaud as Americans stop working — to do watercolors, draft poetry and take naps — while exhausted taxpayers foot the bill.

Nonetheless, Democrats are fleeing Mr. Obama.

Democratic campaign strategist Joe Trippi told Fox News Channel’s Megyn Kelly on Wednesday night, “The Obamacare snafus, his approval rating is declining, and his credibility problems all drag the Democratic brand down.”

Rather than resist an increasingly weak president, Republican congressional leaders hand him whatever he wants. Thus, House Speaker John A. Boehner of Ohio and Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky pushed through a $1 trillion budget with, at best, minuscule and illusory spending cuts.

Mr. Boehner and Mr. McConnell sent Mr. Obama a pork-infused, $956 billion farm bill, which was $56 billion higher than Obamacare’s original price tag. In exchange, Mr. Obama gave them nothing.

On Wednesday, Mr. Boehner and Mr. McConnell helped send the president a measure to suspend the debt limit until March 15, 2015. This passed the House with Mr. Boehner and only 27 other Republicans voting yes.

What did Washington’s top two Republicans get for giving Mr. Obama 13 months to shop till Americans drop? Nothing. No repeal of Obamacare’s $47 billion bailout of health insurers. No approval of the Keystone XL pipeline. No termination of the cure-killing medical-device tax. No votes on these matters, which would have forced Democrats to choose and would have helped Republican candidates.

Steely resolve could stymie the unpopular Mr. Obama. Sadly, Mr. Boehner, Mr. McConnell and other Republican leaders are as firm as foil. America is a total mess.

The Land of the Free is governed by an out-of-control egomaniac. He is neither bolstered by managerial competence nor hindered by the legislature’s institutional prerogatives.

In the Home of the Brave, half of Congress cheers Mr. Obama’s unconstitutional behavior, while the other half grumbles and then meekly carpet-bombs his path with white flags.

The American people have been betrayed — both by Mr. Obama and Democrats, whose lust for control intensifies daily, and by Republican leaders in Washington, whose cowardice and myopia have turned their guts and spines into tapioca.

America, as Paul Simon sings, is slip-slidin’ away. The worst is yet to come.

Deroy Murdock is a Fox News contributor and a media fellow with the Hoover Institution at Stanford University.

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