“Some men just want to watch the world burn.” — Alfred talking about the Joker in “The Dark Knight”
President Obama, fresh off a shellacking in the 2014 midterm elections — in which he made himself a centerpiece, much to the chagrin of embattled Democrats — is about to embark on a scorched-earth rampage that will change the face of America forever.
Although the Harvard graduate and former professor often speaks of “teachable moments,” the president saw nothing worth learning in the outcome of the Nov. 4 elections, when voters gave Republicans their largest majority in the House since World War II and drummed the Democrats out of control of the Senate.
More, he doesn’t care that poll after poll shows a growing disillusionment with his signature policy as president, Obamacare, which now holds a record low approval rating of 37 percent. And his plan to use executive authority to grant amnesty to millions of illegal aliens rates just about the same — just 38 percent of Americans approve.
But Mr. Obama couldn’t care less. He doesn’t care that he has said at least 22 times in the past that he couldn’t simply create his own immigration law or ignore the statues already on the books. “Congress’s job is to pass legislation. The president can veto it or he can sign it. … I believe in the Constitution and I will obey the Constitution of the United States,” he said in 2008.
And in 2010, he was more blunt: “I am president, I am not king. I can’t do these things just by myself.” That’s right, he can’t. The Founders, fearful of the power of a monarch, designed the American government so that the president is the least powerful of the triumvirate, giving far more power to the legislative branch and the judiciary.
All that talk was from before the drubbing the president took in the midterms. Now, Mr. Obama, with just two years left in office, has jettisoned his once-lofty rhetoric about the limits of presidential power.
After his party’s historic losses, he refused to even acknowledge the thrashing. Instead, he said the real lesson from that day was that Americans want everyone in Washington to “work together.”
Yet behind the scenes, the president was busy directing his team of lawyers to find real or perceived loopholes in the law — even the Constitution — in order to wave his royal scepter and instantaneously turn as many as 12 million illegal aliens into America citizens. Already he had quietly ordered the federal government to stop deporting aliens and unilaterally allowed some 60,000 “unaccompanied minors” to enter the U.S.
So he never had any intention of “working together” with Republicans, who in six weeks will control both chambers of Congress. Instead, he set off to circumvent Congress by granting amnesty to millions. Throughout, he knew that he would be, as GOP leaders said, “poisoning the well” and “waving a red flag in front of a bull.”
On Wednesday afternoon, the president announced — on Facebook — that he will be delivering a speech Thursday night detailing his intent to change U.S. law by executive fiat. The timing is deliberately designed to throw gasoline on an already blazing fire.
With just weeks to go before the end of the 113th Congress, and with funding for Ebola, a continuing resolution to keep the government open that expires Dec. 11, and a slew of others set to come up, the president has made unilateral action on immigration his top priority.
Despite his vow to work with Republicans, he will shove his executive order down their throats, intent on bringing conflict with the soon-to-be ruling party.
“That’s not the intent,” Obama spokesman Josh Earnest said Wednesday before blaming congressional Republicans for not passing a budget. “This is not an effort to provoke a standoff here in fact, the fact that Republicans have refused to act on immigration reform is why we are where we are anyway.”
He said this with a straight face. But like the Joker, the president is intent on bringing chaos to America. In that “Dark Knight” scene, Alfred explains the Joker’s true goal: “Because some men aren’t looking for anything logical, like money. They can’t be bought, bullied, reasoned, or negotiated with. Some men just want to watch the world burn.”
Mr. Obama will say otherwise in his address Thursday night, but this is who he really is. And like the Joker, he is to be truly feared.
• Joseph Curl covered the White House and politics for a decade for The Washington Times. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @josephcurl.