L’etat c’est moi! Or, Mr. Madison and his worst nightmare, the American Caudillo

In these sad days for our Republic, a few days after a President of the United States has assumed the powers of a Monarch, one pleasure I have been glad to have is reading the superb biography by Lynne Cheney of James Madison, often referred to as The Father of the Constitution, that sacred document which the current President so disdainfully trashed in shredding the doctrine of Separation of Powers, and I was struck by a passage describing the reaction of Alexander Hamilton to those questioning some of his policies. She wrote of Mr. Madison’s co-author of the Federalist Papers and Treasury Secretary:

“Hamilton’s grandiosity seems to leap off the page. The idea that opposition to him and his policies was subversive to the Republic smacks of the kingly l’etat c’est moi …….” (p. 233)

What better way to describe the attitude of the current disgrace to the office once held by such men of greatness as, to cite just the most recent example, Ronald Reagan, or, perhaps the description given by the very witty Jonah Goldberg as the title to one of his columns, “My Way or My Way”!

In the outpouring of commentary decrying his recent immigration edict, in which genuine concern and alarm are being expressed over this reckless and illegal action, Rich Lowry, Editor of National Review, referred to Obama as an “American Caudillo”, found here, noted that “the past 400 years of Anglo-American political history can be read as a successful effort to establish and maintain a system tethering the executive to the law. What President Obama is doing will undermine that achievement, through both his own lawlessness and the precedent he will  create for later presidents to operate by extralegal fiat.” He concludes: “No matter how much the president’s defenders stretch for a legal justification and a precedent, the conclusion is unavoidable that no one has done this before. President Obama is said to want to build his legacy, and he does– as a man who is shamefully careless of his oaths and constitutional obligations.”

Other titles spell out the same grave concern, a concern which is condescendingly sneered at by liberals in the main stream media (but I repeat myself) such as Andrew McCarthy’s very fine analysis showing that this action is right out of the Alinsky playbook, “Alinsky does Amnesty“, and Charles Cooke’s “Obama’s Imperial  Transformation Is Now Complete”, in  which he noted that Obama   “… will don the robes of the emperor and spin minor discretion into gargantuan usurpation, all norms and touchstones be damned. However convincing are the promises of the ambitious, Lord Acton always has the last laugh.”

But, to me, as a fervent admirer of the astonishing small group of brilliant men who founded this greatest Nation in the history of the world, among whom Mr. Madison was thought to be one of the most intellectually powerful if not at the first rank of all, Mr. Cooke’s other article about this very sad affair, this flagrant breach of trust of this President which simply has no parallel in our History, entitled “Congress Seems Happy to Have its Powers Usurped”, he describes the genius of “The Madisonian settlement that has done the country so proud rests heavily on two presumptions: The first, that the fragmentation of political authority will invariably set the various branches  off against one another; the second that, motivated by ambition as they tend to be, almost every representative within the firmament will remain sufficiently jealous of his prerogatives to willingly check the rise of his foes. ‘the accumulation of all powers legislative, executive and judiciary in the same hands,’ Madison writes in Federalist 47, ‘whether of one, a few or many, and whether hereditary, self appointed, or elective, may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny.’  ”

This disgrace to the sacred office of The Presidency has most assuredly set us on a path to tyranny, and he has become that which The Founders most feared would develop one day: a rising American Monarch. One can only pray that enough of the new Republicans have sufficiently sturdy spines to turn back this “Small Man in a Big Office”, as he is termed by Kevin Williamson, before it’s too late, as his action could cause irreparable damage to the Nation we love.

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