Central View: Constitutional crisis: Which way the Military?
January 30, 2014
Some years ago the University of Nebraska asked our firm to help build a crowd for a debate between William Rusher, the publisher of the conservative National Review Magazine and Nat Hentoff, of the liberal The Village Voice.
While William Rusher and William F. Buckley, Jr. and National Review, were already familiar, it was only necessary to read a few back issues of The Village Voice to understand that Nat Hentoff was (and is) one of the world's most articulate liberals. We filled the auditorium; however, we didn't know what to expect. Would the debaters be civil or uncivil?
More than civil, they listened respectfully to what the other had to say. The audience was treated to the best ideas that both conservatism and liberalism had to offer in an atmosphere of respect and even genuine friendship between the two icons of their differing points of view.
Unfortunately, in April, 2012, Mr. Rusher went to his eternal rest. Fortunately, Mr. Hentoff is still with us and continues to give voice to liberal causes. But what brings this particular column about is that Mr. Hentoff, the consummate left-winger, has just called for the impeachment of President Obama, saying that Obama is the most dangerous and destructive president ever and is far worse than Mr. Hentoff's former target, President Richard Nixon.
Mr. Hentoff says Obama has thrown the U.S. Constitution under the bus and is ruling as a dictator. As evidence, Hentoff cites Obama's delay of the employer mandate in ObamaCare, the changing of types of plans available under ObamaCare, ignoring our immigrations laws, refusing to deport illegal immigrants, enacting stricter gun-control measures without Congressional legislation, sealing his presidential records, creating government offices and Czars without authorization, and changing the pay grades of selected federal employees without authority.
For some work-a-day Americans, these burrs under Mr. Hentoff's saddle might seem insignificant; however, one of conservatism's leading voices, St. John's University Professor M. Northrup Buechner, writing in Forbes Magazine on Nov. 19, 2013, says Obama's unlawful actions could lead to a troubling scenario: "A Republican Congress is elected and repeals ObamaCare over a Democrat President's veto. The President refuses to enforce the repeal. The Supreme Court rules that the President's refusal is unconstitutional. The President denounces the ruling and refuses to be bound by it."
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"If the President persists in rejecting all authority other than his own, the Dénouement [outcome] would depend on the side taken by the Armed Forces…"
Writing in The Washington Times on Nov. 12, 2013, Commander J.D. Gordon, USN (Ret.), a former Pentagon spokesman, says "…every week since President Obama took office, we've been hearing that another top leader has been summarily fired, despite decades of loyal service and valuable experience protecting the nation. Statistically speaking, it's actually closer to one every 8.8 days, a staggering 200 military brass shown the door in less than five years.
Thus, one wonders if this Stalin-like purge of generals and admirals is a precautionary step taken by Obama in advance of a descent into the darkness of a Constitutional crisis.
If so, as the actress Bette Davis famously said, "Fasten your seatbelts, this is going to be a bumpy night."
Nationally syndicated columnist, William Hamilton, was educated at the University of Oklahoma, the George Washington University, the U.S Naval War College, the University of Nebraska, and Harvard University.