Obama leverages Congress' poor rating
Timing is everything in politics and after four years in office, President Obama has become masterful at using it to his advantage.
In his inaugural address the president laid out a provocative strategy for implementing major change in our nation and apparently for making a course correction involving the social injustice inflicted upon middle-class Americans for years.
"For we have always understood that when times change, so must we..." the president said, thus describing the crux of the progressive movement.
Employing a strategy revealed by his former chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, who said, "You never want a serious crisis to go to waste...," President Obama seems determined to ride America's current aversion of Congress down his path for change.
The tumultuous environment created by the Obama presidency makes way for followers of the progressive movement to begin executing their socialist stratagem upon the United States while the flames of discontentment with Congress are ablaze.
Auspiciously moved to the top of the list is gun control.
Acting in response to the horrific shooting rampage in Newtown, Conn., President Obama recently announced 23 executive actions addressing gun control, essentially bypassing a notably "dysfunctional" legislative branch of government.
"Where they won't act, I will," he said in October 2011 as part of a "We Can't Wait" campaign he launched 10 months after Republicans took over control of the U.S. House of Representatives.
Many accuse the president of exceeding his Constitutional authority, not only in the gun debate, but in other contentious issues. Since taking office, President Obama has utilized executive orders, policy directives, waivers and other presidential powers to bypass Congress on issues such as immigration, welfare and education.
The president appears to be systematically "testing the political waters" and powers afforded the executive branch via the Constitution, ultimately seeking to add policy-making power to president. Some believe he plans to leverage this augmented "progressive power" heavily in his second term in office.
Certainly, the recent negative view of Congress renders the president less likely to be chastised for his ostentatious pattern of leadership. Last year's 15 percent yearly average approval rating for Congress was the lowest in Gallup's 38-year history of asking the question.
I believe this president is comfortable with the political theater he has helped create and feels empowered to "double down" on his divisive tactics, including artful division of the seemingly "clueless" GOP in time to impact the 2014 midterm elections.
The truth is, our nation has never been more divided. Barack Obama's rhetoric of "unifying" the nation espoused during his first presidential campaign was noticeably missing in his second. And as the fabric of the Constitution becomes unwound, more and more citizens will be looking to the government for the answers.
Our country's motto, "United We Stand," has been popular since the time of the American Revolution and truly depicts the robustness of the unified American spirit.
But "standing united" doesn't appear to be part of Obama's plan to fundamentally change America.
More fitting might be "whoever's left standing."
Mark Caserta is a Cabell County resident and a regular contributor to The Herald-Dispatch editorial page.