The Corner

Re: Obama and the Constitution

Pete, I think that’s exactly right.  After only 120 days, the Obama style is all too apparent:  the more earnestness he exhibits in his rhetoric (“We are a nation at war,” he’s no socialist, the last thing he wants to be doing is taking over banks and running auto companies, etc.) the less likely it is that his actions will comport with that rhetoric. 

As yesterday’s editorial notes, in the speech, the president accused President Bush of adopting an ”ad hoc legal approach for fighting terrorism that was neither effective nor sustainable — a framework that failed to trust in our institutions, and that failed to use our values as a compass.”  Let’s put aside that the first part of that assertion, as the editorial demonstrates, is absurd: the Bush policies were far from ad hoc, they have been spectacularly successful, and Obama himself (for all his disclaimers) is sustaining them.  I want to focus on the second part. 

When businesses fail, we have a framework, an institution, and a set of values that are triggered:  The framework is called bankruptcy, the institution is the United States Bankruptcy Court, and the applicable values are found in the corpus known as federal bankruptcy law, which prescribe bedrock principles like: secured creditors take priority over unsecured creditors.  Rather than trusting in those things and using settled law as a compass, Obama has adopted an ad hoc approach which has proved grossly ineffective and – given the moral hazard it infuses in the entire financial system – unsustainable.

Why isn’t the GM debacle a violation of the “rule of law” that Pres. Obama and Attorney General Holder are so fond of lecturing us about?


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