We doubt Obama will even listen to his hometown newspaper because he’s above criticism. Besides, he’ll just sic his attack dogs on them, so they should probably be expecting the IRS goon squads to be descending upon them today.
Like most issues of presidential authority, this isn’t cut and dried. Presidents do have broad discretion on how laws are enforced. But they’re on shaky ground when they decide whether to enforce a law. It’s not hard to understand why: Imagine the outcry if President Mitt Romney refused to enforce, say, Obamacare.
Granted, any president may decline to enforce statutes he believes are unconstitutional. But Obama is making no such claim here. Basically, he is admitting that parts of law are impossible to enforce on the deadlines imposed by Congress — deadlines he signed into law. He’s also admitting he doesn’t want to have Congress make these changes, for fear that if lawmakers get their mitts on this unpopular program, they would at least debate far more extensive changes than he’d like.
Congressional Democrats, and some Republicans, may agree with the numerous delays, changes and special favors. But the president invites chaos when he picks which parts of Obamacare to enforce, and which, in retrospect, he has decided are unworkable or unwise.
In a recent news conference, Obama acknowledged that congressional modification of the law is preferable to these White House fiats: “In a normal political environment, it would have been easier for me to simply call up (House Speaker John Boehner) and say, ‘You know what? This is a tweak that doesn’t go to the essence of the law. … Let’s make a technical change of the law.’ That would be the normal thing that I would prefer to do, but we’re not in a normal atmosphere around here when it comes to, quote-unquote, ‘Obamacare.”’
Tweaks? Obama isn’t making tweaks. He’s trying to circumvent major flaws that began flaring when the law was enacted. Hence the many carve-outs, delays and special deals that have been piling up since he added his signature to Obamacare on March 23, 2010.
The president crusaded for this law and has embraced its nickname. But he did not write the law. Congress did. Major changes are necessary — he has stipulated by his actions that this law as constituted cannot work — and Congress should legislate them for his review.
Bottom line: Let’s delay and rewrite this ill-conceived law. Congress need not start from scratch. Lawmakers can build on what all of us have learned from three years of painful trial and error. Three years of attempting, but failing, to make this clumsy monstrosity work for the American people.
They’re being too kind. It’s time to send this mess to the trash bin, along with those who wrote and voted for it.