Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Questions about a Constitutional Law Professor

More than most, Barack Obama is acquainted with the Constitution of the United States.
He was president of the Harvard Law Review, holds a degree from Harvard Law School, and taught a course at the University of Chicago Law School "in the due process and equal protection areas of constitutional law."

As President of the United States, he is also leader of his party.

Thus, it is not too big a stretch to assume that the leader of the Democrat Party is reasonably well acquainted with the Constitution of the United States.

Last Thursday, the House passed an infamous retroactive 90% bonus surtax bill to recoup some of the bonus money the House itself approved. Among the yes votes were those of 243 Democrats, nearly all the Democrats in the House.

I understand that legal minds can argue about the constitutionality of this bill, if passed, until AIG pays off the national debt. However, as has been widely reported, the leader of the Democrat party, a constitutional law professor, suspects that the bonus tax would be unconstitutional. That should mean something to him. In 2007 he stated, "I was a constitutional law professor, which means unlike [George W. Bush] I actually respect the Constitution."

President Obama will not, he said, "govern out of anger," referring of course to the anger Americans feel that hard-earned money that they will be paying out every April 15th until they die, and then some, will end up in the pockets of the very same bankers who were complicit in landing us in our economic disaster. That's a lot of anger, and I'm sure President Obama would like nothing better than to be seen as some kind of heroic figure calmly and rationally turning back the tide of American rage.

However, as a mere non-lawyer, non-politician attempting to figure out (albeit along with many others) what the heck is going on in my country, I cannot help but observe: If Barack Obama, the constitutional scholar, doesn't think the bonus bill would be constitutional, why has the party that he leads just passed the bill in the House? If Barack Obama, the President, doesn't want to govern out of anger, why has he and his party been stirring the angry pot with such vehemance?

Of course he has many reasons for distracting the American people, but distraction does not necessarily take the form of anger, a dangerous emotion indeed.

It seems this president has no problem with inflicting the suffering of anger on the American people.

"This isn’t just a matter of dollars and cents. It’s about our fundamental values.”

These are words Obama spoke when he was stirring the anger pot. How right he was. His reaction to the AIG mess tells us plenty about his fundamental values. And it is not good news.


  1. Oh, I'm going to go out on a limb and suggest that this guy has very little 'fundamental values'
    Maybe the values of a community organizer?

  2. Yes, perhaps he is amoral. But what if he is acting out of strongly held beliefs? I shudder to think. His law school buddies at Harvard and at University of Chicago have reported that they couldn't figure out what he was really thinking and where he really stood. If people who know him personally confess to being in the dark about his motivations, the rest of us certainly have to "go out on a limb" and guess what he might be up to.

  3. I think Obama, like most politicians, is necessarily a mix of amorality and core beliefs. Unfortunately I think his mix favors the core beliefs, despite the fact that he's essentially pliable. Check out Shelby Steele's "A Bound Man" for an interesting read on Obama.

    For a glimpse of Obama's core beliefs, all you have to do is check out his inaugural speech. We need to "set aside childish things" and progress to where "all are equal." I initially thought that it was just normal political inauguration rhetoric. I don't think that anymore.