As a veteran of some major league schoolyard bullying and more than one broken bone because of it, I can attest that bullies are a bad thing. Bullying should not be tolerated. I can get behind anti-bullying efforts even when they come from Washington, but here’s the problem. Obama’s government has become the biggest bully in America, a bad example to kids who need to learn how to get things done without coercion. How can we accept bullying that teaches that representative government is something to be avoided whenever it gets in the way?
Can our government do anything without bullying?
When our government really wants to get something done, it bullies. Obama didn’t invent this tactic. Neither did the Democratic Party. When Republicans get the chance they do it, too. What we can blame Obama for is putting a new spin on government bullying. Give the man credit. He’s really good at it.
Ignore bipartisanship and compromise. They are signals that nothing is being accomplished. The really big bills passed under Obama’s watch were passed by bullying. The Affordable Care Act, the Recovery Act, the Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform bill, and other measures were green lighted during the president’s first term because Democrats ruled Washington and did whatever they wanted. By the government’s own definition of bullying, Democrats were bullies. Just swap out “school aged children” with “politicians” in this snippet from StopBullying.gov:
Bullying is unwanted, aggressive behavior among school aged children that involves a real or perceived power imbalance.1
That definition is expanding as the government looks for new ways to define bullying behavior.
Should we use the government to fight bullies?
As part of its anti-bullying initiative, the Obama administration sponsored an online “hangout” that raised the question of where bullying fits in the White House agenda:
Representatives from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), U.S. Department of Education—Office for Civil Rights, and U.S. Department of Justice—Southern District presented information on individual rights and cases that highlighted these rights and the tools individuals have to deal with bullying.2
How White House officials like Eric Holder add value by expanding bullying to include civil rights and employment discrimination is hard to see. Is it because someone needs to explain the failure of lower income Americans to thrive under Obama and bullies of all kinds are deemed as good an excuse as any?
Obama + hubris = bullying.
America is still being bullied, but the White House no longer enjoys a congressional majority so the beatings are subtler and our bruises less obvious. Our president is honest about how he goes about it. He is one of the biggest bullies we’ve ever faced.
Don’t believe it when you hear that Congress is dysfunctional. Dysfunction and not having a majority are different things. Obama bullies because he doesn’t know how to lead and can’t get his way. Ignoring how our government is supposed to work, he embraces his own dysfunction:
I want to work with Congress to create jobs and opportunity for more Americans. But where Congress won’t act, I will.3
Anyone who has ever been bullied knows how this works. Give me your lunch money to buy jobs and opportunity or I’ll take it. It used to work with Congress. It doesn’t work anymore. Now we have lawsuits and executive orders from a president who warns us that if Congress doesn’t comply with his wishes, he’ll do things his way and no one can stop him.
The solution to government bullying.
There is a solution to government bullying. Just like fixing the problem of schoolyard bullies, Mr. Obama has an idea on how to end the abuse:
Which leads me to the reason we are here tonight — I need a Congress that works. And that means I need a Democratic Senate. And it would be helpful to have a Democratic House.4
Remember the real or perceived power imbalance the government uses in its definition of bullying? When it comes to Washington forcing bad laws on a bullied nation, a real imbalance of power works best.