June 14, 2009
By Henry Lamb
Barack H. Obama will forever be known as the first black President of the United States. This fact will likely be the least impressive item about him in tomorrow's history books. The first four months of his administration strongly suggest that he will most likely be known as the president who transformed America's system of government.
The U.S. Constitution provides for a system of representative government with a degree of checks and balances. This system has been tested, twisted, and tormented over the years, but has always survived the abuses inflicted upon it. Obama brings a new threat, in a new era, to a new generation.
Obama is creating a system of government that is beginning to look much like an "Administrator" form of government that will ultimately have no checks and balances, and little need for legislators.
This form of government was the fantasy of Colonel Edward Mandell House, the "alter-ego" of President Woodrow Wilson, a designer of the League of Nations, and author of "Philip Dru: Administrator."
House fantasized about a system of government in which a single administrator held all executive power to appoint underlings without interference from elected bodies, and to design, and enforce, rules of behavior for individuals, and organizations — including states and local administrative units. In House's world, his administrator was a part of a global system of administrative governance whose purpose was "...to pursue socialism as dreamed of by Karl Marx."
Obama's actions during these first few months are very much like those of Philip Dru: Administrator. He has found a way to design, and enforce, rules of behavior on much of the banking system, and on General Motors and Chrysler — private industries not subject to governmental management under previous presidents.
Obama has found a way to force state and local governments to yield to his rules in order to get federal dollars, even when states don't want the dollars that come with federal strings attached.
Obama is creating a new form of government with a growing network of "Czars" that do not have to be approved by the Senate, nor are they subject to the oversight of Congress. So far, 21 Czars have been appointed, with assignments and salaries set by Obama, and accountable only to Obama. This network of White House officers bypasses the traditional executive organizational structure that relies on Cabinet Secretaries to administer laws and promulgate rules subject to congressional oversight and supervision.
Obama the Administrator is building his enforcement organization to avoid the obstacles that Congress often constructs. These congressional obstructions are also known as checks and balances.
These dramatic changes in the structure and form of government have drawn hardly a whimper from the American people, the media, or from congressional opponents. These changes are just the beginning. Obama is determined to impose a national healthcare system, and a national energy-rationing system on the nation. He has already demonstrated his contempt for the Constitution by reaching deep inside private industry to inflict and enforce his managerial dictates.
He has announced that he has no reluctance to destroy the private healthcare system in order to impose a government-run system that sounds much like "...socialism as dreamed of by Karl Marx." He has announced that he fully intends to force the use of alternative energy sources, regardless of market forces, and regardless of cost. He is determined to impose his will, and his judgment, precisely as Philip Dru imposed his power on Colonel House's fictional society. The society that is subject to Obama's will, judgment, and administration, is not fictional, however. It is we the people of the United States.
Obama has also demonstrated his eagerness to align his administration with the directives of the international community. He has pledged to join the U.N.'s plan to use carbon fuel as the basis for confiscating and redistributing enormous wealth through cap-and-trade programs and other direct taxation schemes. He has welcomed the creation of an international mechanism for the control of the global economy. He has announced his support and his intention to ratify several U.N. treaties that have been rejected by previous presidents.
Obama's legacy will not be just the first black presidency. His will be remembered in history as the administration that relegated the U.S. Constitution to irrelevance, streamlined the structure of government to minimize or eliminate checks and balances, and consolidated executive power into a position to be envied by kings, dictators, potentates — and even by Philip Dru.
Philip Dru believed that "Our Constitution and our laws served us well for the first 100 years of our existence, but under conditions of today, they are not only obsolete, but even grotesque (p.222)."
There is an unsettling similarity between Obama's actions and Phillip Dru's belief.