“It is eerily ironic that only days after Obama told students to reject the voices that warn of government abuses and overreaching, it turns out that the Obama Administration has been systematically abusing the constitutional rights of so many Americans.”
by George Landrith
When President Barack Obama recently spoke at Ohio State’s commencement, he told the graduates to reject voices that express concerns about government abuses. He mocked the idea that reasonable, thinking Americans might be concerned that government can become too big, too unaccountable, and too heavy-handed.
Obama’s directive to ignore those concerned with potential abuses of big government was stunning for at least two reasons. First, it is as American as apple pie and baseball to be wary of the promises of government officials and the abuse of power. Second, within a week, several Obama Administration scandals had broken wide-open – each proving that those concerned about government tyranny were right.
The Founders were deeply concerned that once someone or some party obtained political power that they might abuse it. Thus, they were reluctant to put great power in the hands of one person or even one group of people. They were concerned about the tyranny of the majority. They didn’t want someone who won an election to then turn on his political opponents and use the power of government to punish them. Thus, they strictly limited the power of the federal government and created a complex system of checks and balances and they separated and divided the limited powers granted to the federal government. Obama’s comments suggest he is blissfully oblivious to all of this – a rather shocking fact for someone who claims expertise in constitutional law or to have even taken a high school civics class.
Obama’s mocking and dismissive tone about those who are wary of tyranny were self-serving. He who has grown the government to historically high levels and he who tramples constitutionally-protected religious freedom by forcing employers to provide free contraception – even those who have closely held religious objections – dismissively tells Americans not to worry about government getting too big or too powerful. It is as if Obama is trying the old Jedi mind-control trick – “These are not the droids you’re looking for.” Or in this case, “These are not government abuses you should be concerned about.”
Obama may be the first American President who knows so little about our history, founding and Constitution that he mocks those who are concerned about government abuses. In so doing, he mocks, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin and a host of others. George Washington warned, “Government is not reason, it is not eloquence – it is force! Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master!” Obama is also effectively mocking the Constitution itself.
Washington, Jefferson, Madison and others were careful to create a federal government with limited powers that could not grow large enough, unaccountable enough or powerful enough that the majority could oppress the minority. Yet, that is precisely what the Obama Administration has been doing – oppressing those it views as political adversaries.
It is eerily ironic that only days after Obama told students to “reject these voices” – the voices that warn of government abuses and overreaching – it turns out that the Obama Administration has been systematically abusing the constitutional rights of Americans.
First, the Obama IRS has been illegally singling out those it perceives as conservatives for extra and burdensome scrutiny violating the First Amendment and the law.
Second, the Obama Department of Treasury misled the public and Congress and covered-up the IRS scandal for at least the past year so as not to harm Obama’s reelection campaign.
Third, the Obama State Department threatened and tried to silence witnesses who wished to tell the truth about Benghazi. The Obama Administration also demoted at least one State Department employee simply because he told the truth and refused to be silenced. The Obama Administration tried to intimidate and silence the voices who were not willing to lie and support the Obama Administration’s laughably tortured and false narrative about Benghazi.
Fourth, the Obama Justice Department secretly monitored the e-mail and phone calls of reporters and editors at the Associated Press. Historically, government leakers are punished if they violate the law, but reporters are not leakers and are not targeted. They are reporters who have First Amendment protections to publish the news. Even Richard Nixon wasn’t monitoring the mail or phone calls of the press.
Fifth, the Obama Justice Department also secretly monitored the phone calls and work and personal e-mails of reporter James Rosen, his parents and scores of other FoxNews reporters and executives. To make matters worse, the government even accused the reporter of a crime for simply reporting the news. Never before has the government labeled a reporter a criminal or a co-conspirator for simply reporting the news. The First Amendment guarantees a free press. Not even Richard Nixon labeled news reporters criminals for simply reporting the news. Sadly, the Obama Administration is more Nixonian than Nixon ever was.
Sixth, Obama’s Secretary of Health and Human Services, Kathleen Sebelious, has been fundraising for ObamaCare from the very people and companies that she regulates. That doesn’t even pass the smell test from 100 yards away. Federal law prohibits what she has been doing. But as White House spokesman, Dan Pfeiffer recently said, “the law is irrelevant” to the Obama Administration.
Knowing what we know now, it is a stunning irony that Obama would mock the idea that tyranny is “lurking just around the corner” while his administration has been secretly and illegally monitoring the press, secretly using the IRS to target conservatives through two election cycles, and using threats and intimidation to silence witnesses who would tell the truth about the Administration’s cover-up of Benghazi. This is the very definition of abusive government and tyranny. Nixon never went this far.
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George Landrith is the president of Frontiers of Freedom, a public policy think tank devoted to promoting a strong national defense, free markets, individual liberty, and constitutionally limited government. Mr. Landrith is a graduate of the University of Virginia School of Law, where he was Business Editor of the Virginia Journal of Law and Politics. Mr. Landrith was a candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives from Virginia. You can follow George on Twitter @GLandrith.