Aug 20, 2008

"I'm not running for monarch"

Obama said that the other day when questioned about his FISA compromise. By which he meant: The President is not an absolutist leader. The comment struck me as startling if only because its hard to watch the election — and you don't just watch the election, as succumb to it, sink into it, get swallowed up by it — without the sensation that a monarch is what America is voting for. The howls of outrage that greeted Obama's statement that he would meet with unfriendly foreign leaders, and now his comment that deciding the issue of abortion was "above his pay grade" can only be explained that way. America is voting for a monarch: someone whose every whim and prejudice will dictate the course and quality of life in this country, who wages what wars please him, decides such age-old conundrum as when life begins, and who can even lower the price of gasoline! What startling powers this King has! Another instance of the Bush hangover the country labours under. Still drunk on the unparalleled executive power accrued to the presidency under his tenure, we don't feel much like sobering up. Hair of the dog that bit me, please.

What Obama is getting lashed for is nothing more radical than a return to a pre-imperial presidency. You remember: The sort of president who must work with congress, has no power to wage war, cannot overrule the law citing executive privelage, and who is commander in chief of the United States Army and Navy not the whole country. The sort of president they talk about in the constitution.

No comments:

Post a Comment