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America the Ungovernable?

You can't push the American people around forever.

By Petrarch  |  March 10, 2010

Over the last few weeks, a new meme has popped up and taken firm root in the mainstream media: the idea that America is currently ungovernable.  Here we have a President and Congress from the same party, with overwhelming majorities, and yet somehow they don't seem able to enact their policy goals!  From eliminating union secret ballots to cap-and-tax to Obamacare, many of the most significant laws proposed by Mr. Obama have hit the rocks or seized up entirely.

Yet our nation's manifold problems remain, un-addressed by Congress.  Is it time for a Constitutional convention?  Or do the elites simply need to import an entire new electorate more to their taste, as England's Labour government has been doing?

No.  We do indeed have a highly dysfunctional government and America is indeed at risk because of it, but it's not because America is ungovernable.  The current administration hasn't even tried to govern as Americans understand the term.

What Mr. Obama and his fellow liberal elites have tried to do is to rule - and yes, that isn't going to work.  Americans want to be governed, but they do not want to be ruled; when somebody tries to impose an authoritarian rule on them, they tend to get, well, unruly.

The Consent of the People

Mr. Obama famously expressed his view of how his government operates when he responded to Republican criticism with a simple phrase:

I won.

Yes, he did - just like almost every other president we've ever had, not counting JFK's stolen election.  He may have lied to do it, but he didn't cheat: people pulled the lever for him fair and square.

The same is true for almost all of his Democratic majority.  Say what you will about Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, they too were legitimately elected by majorities of their constituents.  They do, indeed, have the full right to the power they enjoy under the Constitution.

There's the rub: under the Constitution.

When George Washington, the Father of his Country, achieved victory over the British at Yorktown, there was a crown his for the asking.  Had he wished it, he could without the slightest trouble become King George I; in fact, many of his peers expected and urged him to.  The Revolution wasn't begun against the idea of kings in general, but of kings and Parliaments that wanted to impose their will on the people regardless of what the people thought.

King George Washington would never have been an autocrat like a czar, but a constitutional monarchy like England now has would have been perfectly acceptable to the nation.  It's to Washington's everlasting credit that he soundly rejected this personal glory; instead, we have a republican democracy, in which the people choose their own rulers who then swear an oath to obey the written limits of the Constitution.

Where in the Constitution is the government granted the authority to require people to purchase health insurance?  Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi not only doesn't know, she doesn't even accept it as a valid question.  When asked, her only response was a derisory

Are you serious? Are you serious?

Barack Obama may be the president, but he is not the King, nor is he a dictator.  What he says goes in relation to our military, for good or ill - he is the Commander in Chief, designated so by our Constitution.  In all other matters, he is obliged to uphold his oath to follow the law and honor the Constitution as the supreme law of the land.

Technically, it may indeed be possible to ram Obamacare through via back-door maneuvering.  Considering that two-thirds of Americans want the bill scrapped, would that be the act of a leader who wants to govern a free people?  No - it is the iron-fisted determination of one who wants to rule over a land populated by subjects who do as they are told and take what they are given.

Bill Clinton was no conservative, but he understood the difference.  He, too, tried to ram Hillarycare down our throats, and discovered America to be an unruly nation that wouldn't tolerate such arrogance.  Unlike Mr. Obama, he quickly changed tack and started governing - listening to the voters and their elected representatives, enacting compromises, where necessary persuading the people that his way was best.  Despite his personal immorality, he is to this day remembered as a pretty decent President.

The United States of America is indeed governable.  When politicians start complaining that it is not, it's a clear sign that they don't want to govern at all, but that they would rather rule by force and fiat.

Our media may wish their beloved liberal icons could simply speak the word and make all their statist dreams come true, but they'd do better to consider what happens to media outlets in countries that are run that way.  When the jackboots come down, journalists are the first to get crushed.