Patrick J. Buchanan: Why Congress is held in contempt
"I can use that pen to sign executive orders and take executive actions ... that move the ball forward."
"When I can act on my own without Congress, I'm going to do so," the President added later at North Carolina State.
This dismissal of Congress has gone almost unprotested. In an earlier age it might have evoked talk of impeachment. But not now. For though Congress may be the first branch of government in the Constitution, with the longest list of enumerated powers in Article 1, its eclipse has been extraordinary.
While ex-Secretary of Defense Robert Gates expressed disappointment in Obama and Hillary Clinton in his book "Duty," and was dismissive of Joe Biden, his view of Congress dripped with venom: "Uncivil, incompetent in fulfilling basic constitutional responsibilities (such as timely appropriations), micromanagerial, parochial, hypocritical, egotistical, thin-skinned, often putting self (and reelection) before country — this was my view of the majority of the United States Congress."
What happened to Congress? Not so long ago, school children were taught more about Sens. Henry Clay, John C. Calhoun and Daniel Webster than many of the Presidents of that pre-Civil War era.
Congress was granted the power to "coin money" and "regulate the value thereof." But in 1913, Congress transferred that power to the Federal Reserve. With the Fed as its steward, the dollar's purchasing power had fallen to that of a couple of pennies in 1913. And the Fed was responsible for the stock market bubble that bought on the Great Crash of 1929 and Great Depression, and the real estate and stock market bubbles that brought on our own Great Recession.
Though Congress was granted exclusive power "to declare war," our last declared war was in 1941.
Obama today draws "red lines" and tells nations not to cross them or we bomb, and announces to the world that, in dealing with Iran, "all options are on the table," meaning war.
Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of "Suicide of a Superpower: Will America Survive to 2025?"