The only path to presidential greatness still open to Barack Obama may be a Republican victory in the 2014 midterm elections, and the resulting GOP majority in the Senate. This would create a completely Republican controlled Congress, leaving the president as the final and lone obstacle to all the draconian legislation likely to pass both a Republican House and a Republican Senate. With only Obama as a stop-gap, the old term, "grow a pair" would surly be heard across the land as the onslaught of dramatic, reactionary legislation begins reaching the desk of the President. Imagine that the only thing left standing between the long legacy of liberal Democratic government in this country, beginning with Franklin Roosevelt and continuing for the last 85 years, and new federal laws which would radically transform the nation as we know it today, is the veto pen of President Barack Obama.
A Congress under the control of the current Republican Party would very likely, if not certainly, make every one of the following 7 basic, fundamental changes in American public life:
1. Repeal The Affordable Care Act in its entirety.
2. Pass a Voting Rights bill requiring 2 types of federal IDs to both register to vote and to cast a ballot on Election Day.
3. Turn programs such as Medicaid, Unemployment Insurance and Food Stamps into block grants to states instead of direct aid to individuals.
4. End or severely limit federal regulation and oversight of fracking and other energy development on both federal and private lands.
5. Prohibit all federal funding to any public health provider that includes any birth control or abortion services, in any form, in any aspect of its operation.
6. Privatize Medicare for both future and current recipients.
7. Privatize Social Security while reducing benefits, such as the elimination of cost-of-living increases, for all recipients including current ones.
Additionally, with a now-Republican majority in the Senate, it is likely that no Obama appointee for a judicial position would be approved for the remainder of his term in office. This would include all federal judge nominees and any Supreme Court nominees as well. Even with 4 Justices of the Supreme Court older than age 76, and one already 81 years old, presenting a real possibility of a Justice resigning or dying in office, a new Republican Senate would almost certainly refuse to confirm any nominee put forward by President Obama. Nothing requires that an empty seat on the Court be filled within any time limit. Even a two-year absence of a full 9 member Court would suit a Republican Senate. A Court with only 6, 7 or 8 Justices would be a real possibility.
And these are only the laws, and other actions, we can be fairly sure a Republican Congress would act on quickly. There are other already existing Republican proposals for change that also could and likely would find their way to the floor of the House and then the Senate. These too could pass Congress:
- A total ban on all abortions, in all forms, at all times in any pregnancy, for any reason, with no exceptions.
- A repeal of automatic citizenship to all persons born in the United States as now granted by the 14th Amendment to the constitution.
- An immigration bill requiring immediate arrest and a speedy, hearing-less deportation for all those in the US illegally, with no exceptions.
- A Congressional ban on use of the "Commerce Clause" to authorize any federal economic legislation.
- A federal law defining marriage as only between one man and one woman, specifically denying validity for all other marriages.
- An explicit federal ban on the Supreme Court's authority to decide matters of constitutionality.
With both The House of Representatives and the Senate under Republican leadership nothing can be ruled out as possible federal legislation. Take for example, one of the most radical changes supported by Republicans in recent years, The Emmer Proposal. While running as the Republican candidate for Governor in Minnesota in 2010, Tom Emmer proposed that no federal law should apply within the state of Minnesota unless a super-majority of two-thirds of the state legislature approves the specific federal law. That would mean everything - Medicare, Social Security, Unemployment Insurance, EPA regulations, the IRS, FDA, USDA, SEC, FCC... and on and on for each and every piece of federal legislation in effect anywhere in the United States. Remember when that highway bridge collapsed and fell down in Minnesota? Well, you wouldn't even that bridge without a two-thirds favorable vote in the state legislature. What about natural disasters, like the floods that yearly plague Minnesota? No federal intervention, no aid without a matching two-thirds vote in the state legislature.
And The Emmer Proposal, if passed in Congress would apply to all states. Despite its plainly obvious secessionist roots, it could not be overturned by the Supreme Court because - well, because the Republican Congress also passed a law prohibiting the Supreme Court from ruling on issues of constitutionality. Whatever law Congress passes - that's it - that's the law of the land. Only one man could stop this - President Barack Obama.
A total GOP Congress presents the only possible circumstance that can still make the Obama presidency a great one. The vehicle to greatness will be his veto power. You see, once President Obama vetoes any of the above bills, or others like them, coming to him from this new GOP Congress, that bill will be dead forever. It will not become law. The Republicans have no chance to even come close to the number of votes needed to override a Presidential veto. The only thing that might save the American system of equal treatment under the law, and government rule in accordance with the Constitution, would be the veto signature of Barack Obama.
With his failure on so many of the promises he ran on in 2008 and again in 2012, coupled with his hawkish, Bush/Cheney-like war policies, the only remaining path to presidential greatness and a lasting legacy for Barack Obama could be a Republican victory in the 2014 midterm elections and a total GOP Congress during his final two years in office.