This isn’t the only way the Obama White House has grabbed power in defiance of the Constitution. Very early in his presidency, Obama began stuffing his executive office with czars to manage major areas of national policy, including health care, global warming, the closing of Guantanamo Bay, “green jobs,” Mideast peace, energy, CEO pay, technology, and the border. Although the czars wield a tremendous amount of influence, they can’t be subjected to congressional oversight, defeating the constitutionally established process of “advise and consent.”
Bureaucracy in the executive branch has exploded tremendously over the years. At this point, Congress can barely keep up with its oversight duties of executive departments, agencies, offices, and regulatory commissions. As a result, these institutions often make rules on their own, or are given broad power by the Congress to do so. For example, President Obama’s health-care law gives the secretary of health and human services, part of the executive branch, broad rulemaking powers: The HHS bureaucracy has been empowered to determine what health insurance should cost and what it should cover for every American, and HHS can change those policies each year, depending on the political struggles of the day, without any vote by Congress.
That’s not all. Thanks to President Obama, every American will soon be required to buy Washington-approved health insurance. This is the first time Congress has used its power to make an individual person purchase something from a private company for no other reason than that the citizen is alive. This flies in the face of the Constitution.
Progressives like Obama believe government has limitless ability and power. Remember what Obama said the night he secured the Democratic presidential nomination: “This [is] the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal.” Only a liberal would believe that tinkering with the levers of government could ever accomplish such planetary change.
If President Obama’s motto is “Yes, we can,” the Constitution’s is “No, you can’t.” Obama may have once been a constitutional scholar, but he’s no constitutionalist.
Although the Constitution does give some defined powers to the federal government, it is overwhelmingly a document of limits, and those limits must be respected. That’s why it’s more important than ever for Republicans to say no. We are standing against a long progressive effort to transform the country. Its roots are in the New Deal and the Great Society; today, President Obama’s spending, bailouts, and takeovers are testing the Constitution in new and unprecedented ways.
An American awakening is taking place, however, and citizens are demanding that the government once again affirm its allegiance to our country’s constitutional principles. If Republicans want to protect the Constitution and ensure our nation’s survival as the beacon of liberty, “No” is an answer we are obligated to give and to proudly defend.
In the era of unlimited government, saying no is an act of patriotism, and being a member of the “party of no” should be a badge of honor.
– Jim DeMint is a U.S. senator from South Carolina.