In yesterday’s webcast, after a wide-ranging discussion of the issues surrounding the killing of Osama bin Laden (including the issue of torture — check it out if you haven’t already), I did a brief review of the Republican candidates who showed up at the first GOP/Tea Party debate in South Carolina. All of them left something substantial to be desired, and at least one — Tim Pawlenty — struck me as full of hot air. Daniel, a frequent participant in my live webcast, declared his intention to vote for Obama in 2012, if necessary. And, with a slate of candidates like those who appeared at the debate, I would tend to agree. Just re-elect Obama, vote for Republicans or Tea Party members for Congress, and hope for four more years of gridlock so we can have time to change the culture.
But there’s one problem. And this article, describing the Obama administration’s “Strange Probe” of one of the drugs that state governments use to execute convicted felons sentenced to death, is illustrative. The article describes how the DEA is confiscating supplies of the drug, but notes that no real explanation is being given for the confiscations, and that the confiscations seem to be occurring only in those states that actually carry out the death penalty on a regular basis. The article cites columnist Debra Saunders, who thinks it significant that the DEA “hasn’t raided California, which has had executions on hold anyway and just announced it was delaying executions for at least another year.”
If this is indeed Obama’s way of circumventing the proper method of changing the law — i.e., in this case, introducing legislation prohibiting the death penalty in the relevant state legislatures and getting the votes necessary for passage — then it’s scary. And sure, it could be challenged in the courts — but Obama is appointing the judges there. I suppose the Republicans could try and introduce federal legislation stopping Obama from making such power grabs, assuming they were content to give up power that they might themselves enjoy one day. But good luck getting Obama to sign it.
I do not like the way this Administration does business, to say the least. It seems that if Obama wants to get something done, he’ll find a way, even with a Republican majority in Congress. So perhaps voting for gridlock will not be enough to prevent Obama from doing significant damage to our country. What do you think?
[Update: Here’s another example that’s currently in the works. Obama wants to bypass Senate review of his presidential appointments.]