Former Vice President Joe Biden has said a lot of crazy stuff on the campaign trail this year, but he’s never said anything as blatantly lacking in self-awareness as he did Tuesday in Iowa. It was there that Biden told an Urbandale audience that if there was anything he couldn’t abide, it was when the President of the United States abused his power.
“So, folks, think about the Constitution,” Biden said. “What was it designed to do? It was designed to separate power so it couldn’t be abused. The Congress is as powerful as the president. The court’s as powerful as the Congress. The president’s as powerful as the court. And what’s this president do? He is engaging in a gigantic abuse of power.
“Notice: He attacks the courts repeatedly,” Biden continued. “Says the reason that court ruled against me in my for-profit college that I ripped people off on, is because his father was Mexican. Seriously. Remember that? And he constantly talks about the court that way. He also, you notice, he goes after the Congress, Democrat or Republican, makes no distinction. To try to win, he attacks them all, it doesn’t matter. Why? So, he has a rationale to say: They’re not doing it, so I have to by executive order. He wants to build his wall by executive order. He wants to change the appropriation process by executive order. He wants to abuse the power that’s there.
“If there’s anything I can’t stand it’s the abuse of power,” he finished. “And he is abusing it every single day.”
This is a fairly standard line of attack from the left, but it takes on a particularly sour note when the man saying it was vice president to Barack Obama, a president who abused his power like few in history. Obama’s grasp of the Constitution – he actually taught it as a college professor – which made his shredding of its principles all the more blatant and unacceptable. Numerous times throughout his presidency, Obama seemed to take glee in trashing the norms and laws of our country, all the while posturing as a defender of democracy.
“Even for those like me who admire Barack Obama,” said liberal law professor Garrett Epps near the end of #44’s term, “the constitutional record is disturbingly mixed. Obama leaves the Constitution weaker than at the beginning of his terms.”
From Obamacare through Dodd-Frank, President Obama was able to use his short-lived Democratic majority in Congress to pass astoundingly unconstitutional legislation. Once he lost that majority, though, his abuse of power got far worse. Then we were treated to such constitutional nightmares as DACA, DAPA, and the Clean Power Plan. His IRS illegally targeted conservative groups, and the president himself appointed members to the National Labor Relations Board without the consent of the Senate – a move that was later voided by the Supreme Court. That doesn’t even begin to cover the breadth of his abuses, which traverse such bizarre terrain as transgender bathrooms, gun control, and free speech on college campuses.
Trump, yes, throws a lot of (earned, in many cases) criticism towards the legislature and the courts. But he has been far more faithful to the Constitution than his predecessor. Abuse of power? Biden, you should know all about it.