Sunday, February 16, 2014

All the President's Minions

Back in the 1970s, two journalists for The Washington Post, Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, broke the story that became known as Watergate, named after the Washington, D.C. complex where five burglars broke into the Democratic National Committee office. The break-in was eventually traced to President Nixon, who resigned his office over the scandal.

In 1974, the two journalists wrote a book about their investigation of Watergate, which was later turned into an Academy Award winning movie, All the President's Men. The book points out the lengths to which Nixon went in order to cover up the break in at the Watergate. A lot of people were involved in the cover up, which was finally traced to Nixon. The scandal brought down his power and basically forced him to resign before he was impeached.

It used to be that presidents involved in corruption were held accountable. Johnson refused to run for office again over the fiasco of Vietnam and his corruption with unions. It took a president like Clinton to actually get impeached over his promiscuity and corruption, refusing to yield to the better interests of the nation merely because he was popular.

This background only serves to explain today's title, "All the President's Minions."

I sat pondering the reasons why, after so many lies and scandals, President Obama remains in office. There is, of course, the hubris that comes with being President of the United States. All modern presidents seem to be afflicted with the hubris of the office. Modern presidents also seem to be able to absorb a certain amount of scandal, since most Americans believe that a president has room for a certain margin of error.

Yet the current administration is so steeped in controversy, divisiveness, "mis-statements," outright lies, corruption, and power mongering, that it is difficult to understand exactly why President Obama remains even at a 40% approval rating. In a word, how is it that President Obama can get away with his buffet-table support or non-support of particular laws in the U.S.?

The answer to the question lies in the president's minions.
And by minions, I mean all of the establishment cabinet posts and federal employees who are the ones who carry out policy. Unfortunately, they are neither as cute nor as benign as the minions from the movie Despicable Me.

The fact that President Obama can get away with so much corruption in office is an effect of the Dictatorship of the Bureaucracy that I wrote about a few weeks ago. When President Obama signed an executive order, without authority, to delay the implementation of the employer mandate of his signature Obamacare, he had power (not the authority) to do so because the minions of Washington, D.C. unquestioningly upheld his actions:

The White House Press Secretary Jay Carney kicked into high gear, explaining to the minion news agencies why it is legal for President Obama to ignore the law.

The Attorney General Eric Holder kicked into high gear, instructing his own minions to block and to obstruct any attempts to sue the federal government for breach of executive duty.

The Democrat National Committee Chair, Debbie Wasserman Schultz kicked into high gear to change the party platform in order to explain that this is what Democrats had in mind all along and that Republicans are really to blame for the lack of progress on Obamacare.

House Democrat Leader Nancy Pelosi kicked into high gear to blame Republicans for the whole mess, claiming they are being obstructionist and are trying to undermine the whole democratic process.

Vice President Joe Biden kicked into high gear to spread spaghetti sauce on his head and to tell Americans that President Obama has a really big stick.

The point is that President Obama gets away with blatant corruption and breach of duty as the chief executive officer of the United States because when he usurps power, the bureaucracy kicks in to support whatever "executive actions" he wants to make. Remember that most of the bureaucracy who follows the policies of the president are not elected officials. The minions remain even if the leader changes.

We must ask ourselves as Americans, who descend from brave men who created and fought for our democratic republic, do we want to just lie down and hand over this power of the people, by the people, and for the people to a bunch of bureaucratic minions?