Obama's creeping authoritarianism

The July 24 speech at Knox College in Galesburg, Ill., has at least four references to his intent to act on his own authority, as he interprets it: “That means whatever executive authority I have to help the middle class, I’ll use it.” (Applause.) And: “We’re going to do everything we can, wherever we can, with or without Congress.”

Every president since George Washington has felt frustration with the American system’s impediments to change. This president is done with Congress.

The political left, historically inclined by ideological belief to public policy that is imposed rather than legislated, will support Mr. Obama’s expansion of authority. The rest of us should not.

The U.S. has a system of checks and balances. Mr. Obama is rebalancing the system toward a national-leader model that is alien to the American tradition.

To create public support for so much unilateral authority, Mr. Obama needs to lessen support for the other two branches of government—Congress and the judiciary. He is doing that.