This was bound to happen.
Waaay back in 2009, when the new President improvidently and recklessly commented on a local dispute between a Harvard professor and a Cambridge policeman, I pointed out that Obama needed to learnthe ethical limits on his power and influence. Teddy Roosevelt’s “bully pulpit” is not license for the highest office-holder in the land to try to mold public opinion on every conceivable matter, local or national, and to influence decisions solely within the authority of others. For the President to state his personal verdict on anything he wakes up concerned about risks putting a weighty thumb on the scales of justice. It is an abuse of power—a President behaving like an emperor.
This is not a difficult concept; indeed, with occasional lapses, every other President has grasped it instinctively. Not Barack Obama. Brilliant Barack Obama. “Constitutional scholar” Barack Obama. For while the Gates episode may have been a rookie mistake, he has engaged in exactly the same unethical, arrogant conduct repeatedly, here, and here, and here and here, and here, and especially here—and I’m sure I may have missed a few.
Each time I pointed out this inexcusable habit, I was barraged by glossy-eyed readers who made excuses for Obama and rationalized his grandstanding remarks, accusing me of being biased and hypercritical. But with each new instance, it should have been progressively clearer that I correctly diagnosed this malady in 2009. Now, after Obama has done it yet again, commenting inappropriately about the military sexual harassment scandal, this proclivity has finally had tangible legal consequences. You can’t say I didn’t warn him. Continue reading