Egypt had its Cleopatra, Russia had its Catherine the Great, and the United States has its Hillary Clinton.
The knowledge that the Queen in Waiting could be barking orders from the White House for eight long years (2017-25) should concentrate the mind of next year’s Republican Congress wonderfully on regaining vast powers cowardly surrendered to the Oval Office.
Republicans can be expected to act in the spirit of a comment by Sen. Thomas Eagleton’s colleague after a debate on President Nixon’s veto of the War Powers Resolution: “I heard your argument. I agree with you. I love the Constitution, but I hate Nixon more.”
Even if the overwhelming majority of Republican members don’t care a fig about the Constitution (like their Democratic counterparts), they should care about Ms. Clinton’s inheriting President Obama’s limitless powers to initiate war; kill or detain American citizens without due process; spy on the entire United States population en grosse; amend or nullify laws by executive order; lie to Congress and the U.S. Supreme Court; substitute executive agreements for treaties; spend unappropriated monies; invoke state secrets to block legislative or judicial oversight; and, flout the Speech or Debate Clause by intrusions into congressional computers.
While Mr. Obama’s tyrannical rule is alarming, he is no Napoleon planning for an 18th of Brumaire.
Ms. Clinton is another story. She combines the ruthlessness of Lady Macbeth, the haughtiness of Marie Antoinette and the lust for power of Cleopatra and Catherine the Great. (The latter eagerly overthrew and killed her spouse to secure the Russian throne).
Hillary (along with Bill) has bettered the instruction of President Nixon’s enemies list. They have assembled meticulous files on friends and enemies ranked best to worst from 1-7. This vignette from Politico indicates what would be in store with a Hillary presidency:
“When the Clintons sat in judgment, Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) got the seat closest to the fire. Bill and Hillary had gone all out for her when she ran for Senate in 2006, as had Obama. But McCaskill seemed to forget that favor when NBC’s Tim Russert asked her whether Bill had been a great president, during a Meet the Press debate against then-Sen. Jim Talent (R-Mo.) in October 2006. ‘He’s been a great leader,’ McCaskill said of Bill, ‘but I don’t want my daughter near him.’ ”
A nanosecond later Hillary canceled a fundraiser for the mother who exposed the truth about Bill.
Ms. Clinton conceives of Congress as ornamental, not a cornerstone of the Constitution’s separation of powers. In her recent benumbing and soporific memoir — “Hard Choices” — Congress makes only an occasional cameo appearance.
She believes in limitless presidential war powers. During her 2008 presidential bid in Pennsylvania, Ms. Clinton declared that if she were president she would attack Iran unilaterally to retaliate if Iran attacked Israel. She vowed to obliterate 77 million Iranians (making Hiroshima, Nagasaki and Auschwitz seem like tea parties) if Iran used nuclear weapons against Israel. She supported Mr. Obama’s war against Libya. At present, she is a cheerleader for Mr. Obama’s wars against the Islamic State and Syria. She has never voiced objection to any of Mr. Obama’s unprecedented usurpations and abuses of power. She said not a word against the Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, for lying to the Senate Intelligence Committee about collecting data on every inhabitant of the United States.
Republicans will likely predominate in Congress for a decade or longer. They dominate state legislatures and governors, which will give them the upper hand in any congressional redistricting endeavor. Their political interests thus dictate a congressional recapturing of constitutional prerogatives and responsibilities from the president as I have elaborated.
The time for Congress to strike is at the commencement of the 114th Congress on Jan. 3rd. Mr. Obama’s popularity is low and falling. It will plunge further as the Obama wars against IS and Syria falter, Afghanistan becomes unglued and his executive order de facto nullifying the deportation laws ignites a firestorm.
Members should be steeled by the wise words of Brutus in Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar:
“There is a tide in the affairs of men.
“Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;
“Omitted, all the voyage of their life
“Is bound in shallows and in miseries.”
For more information about Bruce Fein, visit brucefeinlaw.