NAPOLITANO: A sorry State of the Union

Obama has a lot to answer for

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What if the state of the union is a mess? What if the government spies on all of us all of the time and recognizes no limits to its spying? What if its appetite for acquiring personal knowledge about all Americans is insatiable? What if the government uses the microchips in our cellphones to follow us and listen to us as we move about?

What if the Constitution expressly prohibits the government from doing this? What if the government has written laws that are interpreted in secret by judges who meet in secret and are applied by federal agents who operate in secret and their secret behavior doesn’t even resemble what the laws say they can do?


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What if the feds have seized the content of every text message, email, mobile and landline telephone call, utility bill, credit card bill and bank statement of everyone in America for the past four years? What if no law has authorized them to capture this?

What if, when asked by members of Congress, in public and under oath, high-ranking officials, at least one with ribbons on his chest and stars on his shoulders, lied about what the government is doing?

What if the government’s spies have so insinuated themselves into our computers that they can capture every keystroke we press on all of our computers before we hit “send”? What if the feds have hacked into the servers of every major computer-service provider in the country, and they know what we have typed before we even make corrections?

What if the feds have a copy of what we have deleted? What if our typed innermost thoughts and even second thoughts that were never sent in emails nevertheless reside in the government’s data bank?

What if the president knows all this and supports what his spies are doing? What if he secretly authorized all this, but only admitted to some of it when he got caught? What if he uses his spies to tell him what he wants to know about those who oppose him?

What if the president sold Congress and the country a Trojan horse called Obamacare? What if he promised that under Obamacare you could keep the health insurance you had before Obamacare, and he lied, and he knew it? What if he promised that under Obamacare you could keep the same physicians who treated you before Obamacare, and he lied, and he knew it?


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What if Obamacare made insurance coverage so expensive that some people lost their jobs because their employers could not afford to pay for it? What if under Obamacare more than 6 million Americans lost their insurance coverage overnight and most haven’t gotten it back yet? What if this was the president’s plan all along so that he could orchestrate a government takeover of the health insurance industry?

What if the secretary of defense and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff told the president one night that our consulate in Benghazi was under attack by organized al Qaeda troops while the attack was taking place?

What if the president did nothing about it? What if the president knew the truth about the Benghazi attack, but for three weeks claimed that the attack was just an out-of-control political demonstration by fanatics who were upset about a cheap, 15-minute, low-grade movie that never made it into theaters?

What if our ambassador to Libya died in that attack and the president covered up the facts surrounding his death? What if the president dispatched our U.N. ambassador to all major TV networks to hide the truth? What if he tried to promote the lying U.N. ambassador to secretary of state?

What if, in five years, the president has borrowed more than $6 trillion and spent it all on his favorite industries and risky bailouts and fruitless wars, and now has nothing to show for it but the debts that will one day come due? What if the government claims the unemployment rate is 6.7 percent, but so many people have stopped looking for jobs that it is really 10.2 percent?

What if the president alone has increased the number of people on food stamps and increased the amount of money they each receive? What if half of the adults in the nation are now receiving material assistance from the government in the form of money the government has borrowed? What if generations of Americans as yet unborn will be obliged to pay back the money the president has borrowed and given away?

What if nearly two-thirds of Americans simply don’t trust the president’s judgment? What if the president alone raised the minimum wage to be paid to workers on federal projects? What if the president has threatened to use his pen and his phone to operate the government in ways the Constitution forbids?

What if the Constitution makes clear and the courts have underscored the truism that the president cannot modify or amend or postpone the effective dates of federal laws? What if the president has modified and amended and postponed federal laws so as to help his friends and wound his foes?

What if the president has tried to force the Little Sisters of the Poor to pay for contraceptive services that they cannot use and that are prohibited by the Roman Catholic Church? What if the Sisters sued the president and asked the court to relieve them of the burden of paying for contraception?

What if the president resisted the Sisters’ lawsuit and questioned the sincerity of their religious beliefs? What if the Supreme Court stopped the president from forcing the nuns to pay for contraception before it even heard their case?

What if the president has discussed none of this in his State of the Union address? What if the president thinks that during his second term in office he answers to no one? What if the president lives and works surrounded by those who reinforce his beliefs? What if he has rejected his oath of fidelity to the Constitution? What will he do next? What will we do about it?

Andrew P. Napolitano, a former judge of the Superior Court of New Jersey, is an analyst for the Fox News Channel. He has written seven books on the U.S. Constitution.

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