Thursday, August 29, 2013

Get it Right: And the winner is ...

Get it Right: And the winner is ...

August 20, 2013   • 

The final results are in from last week's Utah primary elections. The winner was Apathy, followed by It's A Nuisance running a close second. Third out of the five candidates was Don't Bother Me, with What Good Does It Do? taking fourth place. Trailing a distant fifth in the race was Let's Get Involved.
All the candidates campaigned hard. Apathy ran his campaign with the slogan "Everything's running just swell -- always has, always will," and voters obviously liked his message. It's A Nuisance passed out free door mats throughout the county bearing the motto: "What are you bugging me for?" Onlookers report seeing these doormats at the front doors of many local residents. Don't Bother Me ran a vigorous campaign, giving out free movie tickets for Aug. 13 and directions to the best picnic sites, which were sure to be filled on that date. His voter message to register the car, hike Timp, or paint the garage that day, instead of vote, resonated well with residents.
What Good Does It Do? didn't fare well in the vote. Voting analysts say his negative manner and black cloud campaign style left a good many voters wishing he'd have vacated the primaries. According to man-on-the-street interviews, voters far preferred the emotionally uninvolved messages of the three front-running candidates. Analysts speculate that voters prefer that their political non-involvement be guilt free. They suggest that What Good Does It Do? makes everyone uncomfortable with his campaign slogan: "Nobody ever cares, especially about the primaries." In reality, feedback from citizen groups suggests we should all just ignore voting day and let those who have nothing else to do be our collective voice.
Record-setting low votes were recorded for Let's Get Involved. His campaign message "We can make a difference!" resonated poorly with the average voter. Despite his limited but highly dedicated core constituents who waved signs, danced at intersections, talked and walked, held home meetings and studied the issues, his campaign lacked widespread support. The campaign messages of Apathy, It's a Nuisance and Don't Bother Me seemed to resonate much better with the voters.
This matter of the campaign for Let's Get Involved deserves further analysis. He has run for office before -- actually, he has run at every local election in memory. While his support ebbs and flows, he never draws the numbers needed to put him into office. This year, Let's Get Involved added a new wrinkle to his campaign rhetoric. While in the past he has focused on improving local outcomes for the city and county, this year the phrase "The U.S. Constitution is in trouble and we need to save it" surfaced over and over among his support base. He and his staff played hard on the idea that we have a national charter and it's "going down the drain," as they put it. Frequent ads emphasized their message: "If we don't act soon, it will be too late." Home meetings took on a revivalist atmosphere as locals drummed the need for action throughout the months building up to last week's vote. Let's Get Involved expressed disappointment that his new campaign direction failed to sway voters in the Apathy camp, in particular, or substantially expand the numbers in his active voter pool.
Asked about the future, Apathy said he is confident his message will continue to dominate the election process. The campaign staff for It's A Nuisance did not return our call. Don't Bother Me asked to be taken off our calling list, and What Good Does It Do? sent a lengthy email message about the uselessness of the entire election cycle. Despite his repeatedly poor showing in the voting booth, Let's Get Involved says he plans to start working on the next election right away. You have to give the guy credit -- he never gives up!

Pamela Romney Openshaw is a Utah Valley speaker and author of "Promises of the Constitution" and "Lessons of the Constitution for Family and Home School Study." She writes the weekly column "Get it Right" for the Daily Herald and for To reach Pamela, you can contact her through her website, or by email at

Monday, August 19, 2013

Charles Krauthammer: Can President Obama really write his own laws?

While many U.S. presidents for a century have taken us down a road to weakened government and reduced freedoms, few have done so with the intensity and abandon of the current administration.
The Deseret News article below, written by Charles Krauthammer, exposes one of the most frightening actions ever taken by a U S president--that of boldly and flagrantly ignoring the law to which he has taken an oath of obedience. Not only does he crucify the promise and commitment made to us to uphold the law, but he sets himself up as one above the law--a god. He declares himself the supreme authority in our national universe, free to do whatever he chooses to do, with no one to stop him.
You and I, then, have no rights before this president. Our property, our families, our investments, our religious worship, even our lives, are no longer secure--this president can wipe them away with the stroke of a pen if he chooses. Here is the Article:

WASHINGTON — As a reaction to the crack epidemic of the 1980s, many federal drug laws carry strict mandatory sentences. This has stirred unease in Congress and sparked a bipartisan effort to revise and relax some of the more draconian laws.
Traditionally — meaning before Barack Obama — that's how laws were changed: We have a problem, we hold hearings, we find some new arrangement, ratified by Congress and signed by the president.
That was then. On Monday, Attorney General Eric Holder, a liberal in a hurry, ordered all U.S. attorneys to simply stop charging nonviolent, non-gang-related drug defendants with crimes that, while fitting the offense, carry mandatory sentences. Find some lesser, non-triggering charge. How might you do that? Withhold evidence — e.g., about the amount of dope involved.
In other words, evade the law, by deceiving the court if necessary. "If the companies that I represent in federal criminal cases" did that, said former Deputy Attorney General George Terwilliger, "they could be charged with a felony."
But such niceties must not stand in the way of an administration's agenda. Indeed, the very next day, it was revealed that the administration had unilaterally waived Obamacare's cap on a patient's annual out-of-pocket expenses — a one-year exemption for selected health insurers that is nowhere permitted in the law. It was simply decreed by an obscure Labor Department regulation.
Which followed a presidentially directed 70-plus percent subsidy for the insurance premiums paid by congressmen and their personal staffs — under a law that denies subsidies for anyone that well-off.
Which came just a month after the administration's equally lawless suspension of one of the cornerstones of Obamacare: the employer mandate.
Which followed hundreds of Obamacare waivers granted by Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to selected businesses, unions and other well-lobbied, very special interests.
Nor is this kind of rule-by-decree restricted to health care. In 2012, the immigration service was ordered to cease proceedings against young illegal immigrants brought here as children. Congress had refused to pass such a law (the DREAM Act) just 18 months earlier. Obama himself had repeatedly said that the Constitution forbade him from enacting it without Congress. But with the fast approach of an election that could hinge on the Hispanic vote, Obama did exactly that. Unilaterally.
The point is not what you think about the merits of the DREAM Act. Or of mandatory drug sentences. Or of subsidizing health care premiums for $175,000-a-year members of Congress. Or even whether you think governors should be allowed to weaken the work requirements for welfare recipients — an authority the administration granted last year in clear violation of section 407 of the landmark Clinton-Gingrich welfare reform of 1996.
The point is whether a president, charged with faithfully executing the laws that Congress enacts, may create, ignore, suspend and/or amend the law at will. Presidents are arguably permitted to refuse to enforce laws they consider unconstitutional (the basis for so many of George W. Bush's so-called signing statements). But presidents are forbidden from doing so for reason of mere policy — the reason for every Obama violation listed above.
Such gross executive usurpation disdains the Constitution. It mocks the separation of powers. And most consequentially, it introduces a fatal instability into law itself. If the law is not what is plainly written, but is whatever the president and his agents decide, what's left of the law?
What's the point of the whole legislative process — of crafting various provisions through give-and-take negotiation — if you cannot rely on the fixity of the final product, on the assurance that the provisions bargained for by both sides will be carried out?

Consider immigration reform. The essence of any deal would be legalization in return for strict border enforcement. If some such legislative compromise is struck, what confidence can anyone have in it — if the president can unilaterally alter what he signs?
Yet this president is not only untroubled by what he's doing, but open and rather proud. As he tells cheering crowds on his never-ending campaign-style tours: I am going to do X — and I'm not going to wait for Congress.
That's caudillo talk. That's banana republic stuff. In this country, the president is required to win the consent of Congress first.
At stake is not some constitutional curlicue. At stake is whether the laws are the law. And whether presidents get to write their own."