WH adviser: Oh, we're not tearing up the Constitution -- trust us!

If Jennifer Palmieri means that we can trust that they’re not literally sitting in the West Wing shredding the original Constitution, then yes, we can safely bet that’s the case. Post-Gruberama, though, we’d have to check out the window if anyone from the Obama administration said “Good morning.” That’s the context that Barack Obama and his aides are ignoring in this “trust us” spin in the hours before Obama will make the claim that if you tear the Constitution into small enough shreds, you can piece together the Presidential Frustration Clause over Congressional inaction (via Daniel Halper):

[Joe Scarborough asked] “What’s your response to the Washington Post editorial that said that the president’s frustration with Congress ‘doesn’t grant the president license to tear up the constitution’?”

“Well, it doesn’t,” Palmieri said as she laughed, “and that’s not what he’s doing. And whatever the steps he’s going to take, you’ll see, are well within his authority to do that and we’ll have the legal justification to show that.”

Palmieri laughs, “Congress has free will,” but Obama clearly disagrees. Free will includes the decision not to act, and Congress has decided to do just that. The Constitution doesn’t grant the executive any extra jurisdiction in the absence of Congressional action, willful or not, but that’s precisely what Obama and Palmieri are arguing, even while paying lip service to the free will of a coequal branch of government. It’s basically a presidential temper tantrum for not taking up Obama’s priorities and his favored policies for addressing them, which the Constitution only allows if one cuts up the words into a quasi-ransom note — and that’s exactly what Obama’s doing with his announcement tonight, extorting Congress to act on his terms through an abuse of power.

Democrats will flood the zone today and tomorrow to claim that this is just the same kind of action that has been taken by Republican presidents in the past, especially Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush. In fact, that argument started last night. Don’t buy it, writes our good friend and frequent contributor Gabriel Malor, this time at the Federalist. No president has ever tried to push such a sweeping policy change through executive action, or more precisely, deliberate and widespread executive inaction:

In 1986, faced with a large and growing population of illegal aliens, Congress created a new, time-limited form of immigration relief for certain aliens who, among other things, had to have come to the United States more than six years previously. This is the much ballyhooed Reagan amnesty. It was, unfortunately, riddled with fraud in its execution, the uncovering of which is still roiling the immigrant community. But even setting that aside it left President Reagan with a moral dilemma. Congress’ amnesty was large—just shy of 3 million people—and it had the unanticipated effect of splitting up freshly-legalized parents from their illegally-present minor children who did not qualify for relief.

So Reagan, seeing this family unity problem that Congress had not anticipated or addressed when it granted amnesty to millions of parents, issued an executive order to defer the removal of children of the people who had applied for immigration amnesty under Congress’ new law. He allowed those children to remain in the United States while their parents’ applications for amnesty were pending. A few years later, Bush 41 extended this bit of administrative grace to these same children plus certain spouses of the aliens who had actually been granted immigration amnesty under Congress’ new law. …

Obama, in contrast to Reagan and Bush 41, is not trying to implement a lawfully created amnesty. There has been no congressional amnesty. In fact, there has been no immigration action from Congress in the past few years except the post-9/11 REAL ID Act of 2005, which made it harder, not easier, for aliens to qualify for immigration relief. More than that, Congress declined to pass a legalization of the type Obama is issuing during both Obama’s term and in a hotly-contested bill during President Bush 43′s term.

Thus, Obama is clearly contravening both ordinary practice and the wishes of Congress—as expressed in statute—by declaring an amnesty himself. This is nothing like Reagan’s or Bush’s attempts to implement Congress’ amnesty. The progressive media’s claims otherwise are blatant lies, relying on their readers’ ignorance of events in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Such attempts should be rejected wherever they are found.

In other words, the White House and its allies still assume they’re dealing with the kind of “stupid American voters” that Gruber et al tried to hoodwink in ObamaCare. The real Grubes in this case are, once again, Democrats who are carrying demagogic water for a President throwing a tantrum over Congressional refusal to bow to his agenda on his terms.