Once the president’s opponents have been defined in the American mind as despotically inclined, unsusceptible to reason, and unwilling to play by the normal rules of politics, it is only natural that extreme measures are permitted in response.

This White House has already shown a propensity toward ruling by executive fiat – whether by executive action that effectively enacts rejected legislation, by refusing to enforce existing law, or by crafting rules for legislation to grant vast new powers to bureaucrats.

Once it has de-legitimized the opposition, the White House can claim it is left with no choice but to accelerate and expand its use of executive power. What else can they do, the president and his operatives will argue, when faced with the insanity of the Republicans?

The press, which avidly buys into the notion that much of the House Republican caucus is beyond reason, will lend a sympathetic ear to Obama as he struggles with the forces of darkness.