It has become almost trite to quote Benjamin Franklin's famous response to the lady who asked him what kind of government the Constitutional Convention had established in 1787, but it has never been more relevant than it is now. Mr. Franklin tersely responded, "A republic, madam – if you can keep it."
Judging by the feckless response to Obama's recent seizure of the legislative power by nullifying the nation's immigration laws, much of America has meekly submitted to the effective dissolution of our republican form of government. As Franklin prophetically feared over two centuries ago, we have failed to "keep" our constitutional republic.
This is not defeatist hyperbole. It is harsh political and cultural reality – at least in the present sorry epoch of our history.
A poll conducted by Quinnipiac University indicates that 45% of Americans actually support Obama's imperious grant of amnesty to millions of illegal aliens who he knows will support him and his degenerate party at the polls (48% opposed the action according to the poll). In other words, nearly half of Americans apparently endorse the abandonment of a representative and responsive democratic republic in favor of quasi-dictatorship by an arrogant, racially biased leftist.
This is the depth to which the unworthy heirs of Washington, Franklin, and Jefferson have descended under Obama's Caligulan misrule.
The contemporary failure of the republican ideal does not lie in some flaw in the constitutional structure the Framers passed down to us. There are ample remedies in the Constitution – including Congress's powers to control the purse and to impeach the President, and the courts' extensive powers of judicial review – to override Obama's imposition of government by executive decree. There are also indirect supplemental remedies, such as the Republican Senate's ability to block any and all of Obama's executive and judicial nominations when the next Congress convenes in January.
Sadly, however, most of those who exercise the legislative and judicial powers in America today either lack the will and courage to wield those powers against the President, or actually support and endorse Obama's seizure of unconstitutional powers. The few righteous voices in the congressional wilderness who are willing to invoke the necessary potent remedies, such as the admirable Texas conservative, Senator Ted Cruz, have thus far been unable to rally sufficient support to mount a credible counter-attack.
With appalling audacity, Obama has effectively decreed that the laws governing and restricting immigration into the United States have no meaning, force, or consequences; that the millions of aliens from the South who have violated our laws, invaded our nation, and brazenly seized our public resources are not only exempted from deportation or any other adverse consequence for their transgressions, but are to be rewarded with government benefits and largesse; and that the law-abiding Americans who have constantly supported and defended this country must bear the cost and imposition of this lawless invasion across our national borders.
This must be marked: Not only are Obama's alien preference decrees blatantly and subversively unconstitutional because they usurp power that belongs to Congress alone under Art. I of the Constitution; but they are infused with scorn for all traditional Americans who rightfully oppose them, and who expressed that opposition in nationwide elections less than one month ago.
The ink is barely dry on the November election returns registering the Nation's comprehensive rejection of Obama's main policies -- emphatically including his well-known intent to issue an executive decree legalizing the status of some five million illegal aliens. In an unambiguous vote of "no confidence," the voters ousted the Democrats from control of the U.S. Senate and reduced their representation in the House of Representatives to the lowest level in over 80 years. In a parliamentary system of government, Obama would have been rendered politically impotent and forced to call for new elections.
Although ours is not a parliamentary system like Japan's or the UK's, our constitutional and political structures contemplate that any responsible President would recognize the sentiment expressed in the election landslide by adjusting his policies – and his attitude – in response to the voters' expressed preferences. Not so Obama, who is incurably egotistical and scornfully indifferent to the wishes of all but those of his own race (that is, the black half of it) or those of his leftist ideology. Far from conceding any ground to the voters or the representatives they had just elected, Obama has brazenly reaffirmed his most unpopular policies and programs.
The Great Virginian, Thomas Jefferson, once explained "Dependence begets subservience and venality, suffocates the germ of virtue, and prepares fit tools for the designs of ambition."
The "subservience and venality" lamented by Mr. Jefferson not only permeates a substantial portion of today's American populace (as shown by the nearly 50% who apparently approve Obama's amnesty decree), but sadly is on full display among the leadership of the Republican majority that was just elected to forcefully oppose Obama -- rather than to appease him. Neither Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell nor House Speaker John Boehner has displayed the forceful anger and determination that is required to counter Obama's unconstitutional edicts. They both appear unwilling to adopt the hard measures that would provide the minimum response to Obama's arrogant usurpations.
But the Nation cannot afford such prevarication and timidity in the face of Obama's dangerous misrule. McConnell and Boehner should announce that Congress will exercise its power over appropriations to deny funding for any government resources, personnel, or contracts that are needed to implement the lawless amnesty decree.
Yet an almost paranoid fear of adverse media reaction to the misnamed "government shutdown" that might follow from such targeted defunding deters the Republican leadership from taking the minimal necessary action. That leadership seems oblivious to the fact that congressional Republicans have just achieved a massive election victory in defiance of arguments that last year's so-called shutdown crisis would doom them to defeat.
Absent forceful congressional counter-measures such as a sweeping denial of funding for any aspect of the amnesty program, the collapse of constitutional governance initiated by Obama's lawless decrees will only accelerate.
Most critics of Obama's amnesty decree have focused on how it violates the constitutional separation of powers, by arrogating to the President the legislative power over immigration. While this is true enough and disastrous enough, the decree goes beyond that and violates what may be the most fundamental and elemental provision of the Constitution: the Guarantee Clause, found in Art. IV, sec. 4 of the Constitution, which provides in part:
"The United States shall guarantee to every State in
the Union a Republican Form of Government, and
shall protect each of them against Invasion."
In one fell swoop, Obama's amnesty decree violates both of the quoted mandates of the Guarantee Clause. A Republican Form of Government is one in which power is held by the people and their elected representatives, yet Obama's actions on alien amnesty, illegal recess appointments, and unilateral revision of laws like the Welfare Reform Act deprive all the States of the effective legislative representation that is the essence of a Republic. And far from protecting the States against the alien invasion from Mexico and Central America, Obama has indisputably encouraged and facilitated that invasion by repeatedly rewarding and protecting the invaders.
Benjamin Franklin warned us over two centuries ago that the Republic bequeathed to us by the genius, blood, and bravery of our Founding Fathers would not be easily maintained. Unless more Americans and their representatives gather their resolve to resist Obama's ominous encroachments , the Guarantee Clause and the rest of the Constitution will soon be reduced to an empty and ineffectual parchment.