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The Bullying of America

Life as an over-the-road trucker affords precious few opportunities to actually watch television news, but thanks to an unfortunate encounter between my truck and a deer in the mountains of western New York, I’ve been able to take a fresh look at events from the relative comfort of a motel room while the Ride of Pride is in rehab. (Re: The Accident; The truck sustained damage to the grill, bumper, and driver’s side fender. The driver is fine. Bambi, on the other hand, had a very, very bad night.) It is one thing to hear radio newscasts of events and read breaking news online, but it is another thing entirely to watch newsmakers in action.

Stripped of the trappings of his office and the pretensions of his leadership, Barack Obama’s demeanor during Monday’s press conference was indistinguishable from that of any standard-issue autocrat, Chicago politician, or (pardon the redundancy) schoolyard bully. In a display of brazen hypocrisy that would leave breathless even the most accomplished double-dealer, the man who in 2006 said that raising the debt ceiling would be a “leadership failure,” and, “… a sign that the US Government can’t pay its own bills,” now stands defiantly before the American people and, without propriety or shame, says that such positions as he took in 2006 are, “irresponsible,” and “absurd.” Thus did 2013’s Barack Obama retroactively rebuke 2006’s Barack Obama and, in the blunt and taunting language of the bully, add that, “Now, if the Senate and the House want to give me the authority so that they don’t have to take these tough votes, if they want to put the responsibility on me to raise the debt ceiling, I’m happy to take it.”

Any other man, with even a mediocre capacity for introspection, would go to a quiet corner someplace and discuss these contradictions with himself rather than call a national press conference and put his inconsistencies on parade. But not this President. Huey Long would be proud. Even when a member of the press summoned the rare courage to ask the President about his inconsistency, His Majesty remained unbowed and reminded one and all that we just had an election. “And by the way,” he jeered, “the American people agreed with me…” And so they did, but, as Mark Levin reminded us, the Constitution was not up for election, though you couldn’t tell it by the way the President and his party (and certain factions of the Republican Party) cede ever more ground to the encroachments and whims of the bully state. 

Years ago, H&R Block had 17 reasons for you to do business with them, but President Obama will up the ante with 19 fresh executive orders, the cumulative effect of which will be to make it more difficult for law-abiding citizens to procure the means to defend their lives and property. This underscores the Administration’s view that, outside of the Department of Defense, heavy firepower can only be entrusted to the Secret Service and Mexican drug cartels.

Meanwhile, in New York, a new law includes a ban on semi-automatic pistols and rifles with detachable magazines and one military-style feature (such as a pistol grip), in addition to semi-automatic shotguns with one military-style feature. Unless the new law contains a sufficient amount of pixie dust to evaporate those weapons from the hands of criminals, it is only the law-abiding who will see their defensive capabilities diminished.

Not to be outdone, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who is encouraging President Obama to go around the people’s representatives in Congress on the gun issue, has boldly gone where no lunkhead has gone before by regulating the amount of pain medication a doctor can administer to his patient, the operative assumption being that government knows better than the physician. As someone who received stern lectures on pain management during my most recent hospitalization and surgery for kidney stones, I can’t imagine any politician with the stupid audacity to step between Dr. Sausville and I to curtail that which was needed to control the agony. Bloomberg responds with typical liberal compassion, to wit: “… so you didn’t get enough painkillers and you did have to suffer a little bit.” The problem with the bleeding heart types is that it is always someone else who does the bleeding.

Do you think Michael Bloomberg’s meds will be curtailed if, heaven forbid, he should be hospitalized? I wonder if his security detail will be required under New York’s new law to turn in any semi-automatic pistols or weapons with at least one military-style feature? For that matter, I wonder if, in his old age, Barack Obama will hear the same words he spoke to the lady who practically begged for her elderly mother’s life, namely, “Maybe you’re better off not having the surgery … but taking the painkiller.” This assumes, of course, that Hizzoner the Mayor hasn’t already prohibited the painkiller.

Will these politicians have to live in the world they are building for the rest of us? Somehow, I rather doubt it. Are the lives and wellbeing of our politicians and their families more valuable than our own? If their security concerns warrant the possession of weapons designed to neutralize the threat, why should lawful citizens sublimely consent to be outgunned by criminals who don’t abide by gun laws?

It is instructive that so much adulation has been given to liberal prescriptions while scant attention is paid to life where those prescriptions are practiced. Chicago had the toughest gun laws in the country before New York’s most recent law was passed, and it had more gun deaths last year than Afghanistan. The liberal prescription for healthcare is lauded, but if you want to learn of its application, you have only to look to Great Britain where, according to the Independent, “In spot checks on 100 hospitals earlier this year, the Care Quality Commission, the NHS regulator, found patients in a fifth of trusts were stripped of their dignity and left hungry and unwashed, in breach of the law.”

This is what happens when the bullies of the state proceed unchecked. It isn’t just the feckless leadership of the Republican Party that the President is taunting and mocking. It’s you. Have you noticed that the language and actions of the left have become more aggressive, more insulting and belligerent, while their disregard and contempt for the Constitution grows ever more shameless?

Any child in school soon learns that every pass a bully gets only strengthens his confidence, and putting a stop to it becomes more difficult with each unanswered assault. And so it is that with each battle conceded, Republicans find it increasingly difficult to stand their ground even as they emptily promise that “next time” will be different. Bullies are surprisingly vulnerable when confronted, but the time is rapidly approaching when Republicans will have no ground left to hold, and any chance of the political class recovering its fortitude will be lost for good. By that time, it will be left to the states and citizens to put the bully in his place, and there will be very few good options left.