By Ari Kaufman,
Joe Biden famously loves talking about those Republican “bullies,” yet during his presidency, he’s frequently been bullied by the lunatic left.
The Bernie Sanders/AOC wing often uses campaigns of blackmail, emotional manipulation, and petulant peer pressure to make Biden succumb to an array of dangerous topics. They did it again late last week over the debt ceiling while the president was abroad.
Now Biden is pondering circumventing Congress to invalidate the will of voters who gave GOP control of the U.S. House last fall.
The illegal scheme to vest the president with the power to issue new sovereign debt even was branded by the inept Treasury secretary — the insular woman who denied inflation existed for years — as the pathway to “a constitutional crisis” only two weeks ago.
As @SecYellen has already noted, @POTUS has no authority to raise the debt ceiling using the 14th Amendment. The President is playing with an economic & constitutional crisis. He should continue negotiating with @HouseGOP to avoid both.https://t.co/P2h1QBYMQI
— Patrick McHenry (@PatrickMcHenry) May 22, 2023
But now, amid merciless prodding from his progressive allies, Biden is “looking at the 14th Amendment” for loopholes that 150 years of constitutional jurisprudence apparently couldn’t find. Did Biden see merit in this ploy during his tenure as vice president?
“I have talked to my lawyers,” Barack Obama claimed in 2011 when asked if he could ignore the debt ceiling rule via a constitutional loophole, adding, “They are not persuaded that that is a winning argument.”
\When the prospect was raised again two years later, then-White House Press Secretary Jay Carney assured reporters that Obama’s view hadn’t changed. The 14th Amendment was not a “credible alternative” to congressional action. Regarding the debt ceiling, Carney claimed the “president can’t raise it by himself.”
A reinterpretation of the law is not responsible for Biden’s change of heart. What changed is that the president’s most intolerant allies now insist that he acquiesces, and he obliged.
This is not new.
Biden was similarly persuaded by hard-left legal theorists when he wanted to preserve the pandemic-inspired moratorium on evictions. When Biden unilaterally extended that insane prohibition via executive order, the Supreme Court deferred to the White House by allowing it to sunset on its own. This White House, of course, did not keep their word. Biden extended the moratorium again, even adding that he knew what he was doing was illegal.
“The bulk of the constitutional scholarship says that it’s not likely to pass Constitutional muster,” Biden confessed.
It was “worth the effort” to test that proposition in court — not because it was a viable way to preserve an emergency order that abolished the rights of property owners, but because the socialist wing wanted it. The same could be said for the president’s authority to forgive debt held by federal student-loan borrowers.
Then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi was skeptical of the faux legal theories emanating from the progressive left, saying, “The president can’t do it. That’s not even a discussion.”
Pelosi was correct, according to legal experts who anticipate a Supreme Court ruling to clarify whether the president can raid the Treasury to satisfy an execrable constituency’s ideological demands.
Is the profane left-wing of the Democrat Party, representing a true fringe of America, powerful enough to routinely convince Biden to subordinate his legal judgment to whatever they obsess about at the moment? Or is the president buckling to peer pressure?
If this White House really wanted to combat domestic bullies, the Squad and Progressive Caucus are prime targets. Don’t hold your breath.
Ari Kaufman is a correspondent for several U.S. newspapers and magazines from Minnesota and Ohio to Tennessee and Virginia. He taught school and served as a military historian before beginning his journalism career. He is the author of three books and a frequent guest on radio programs and contributes to Israel National News and here at The Lid.