Progressives justify coerced public policy with their belief that what they are doing is good. Setting aside several hundred years of unhappy world history with this notion, a glitch always occurs in the U.S.: Because the Founding Fathers designed an arduous system for producing progress, the far left has never been able to put its most purebred ideas consistently across the legislative goal line. Too many citizens resist. One might say the same of the far right, but they’re not running anything just now. In frustration—and Mr. Obama is nothing if not frustrated—the White House is defaulting, as the left does everywhere, to direct executive action. We are at the dawn of the Unilateral Presidency.
How can this be good, if the price is more national disunion than we have now? Disunion is a dangerous political virus that sends a nation as complex as the U.S. toward a state of permanent, embittered opposition, which can be difficult for mere politicians to set right. We’re about there.
Barack Obama could have allowed some accommodation to decompress the discord and political tension. For example, he could have lifted the economy with a bipartisan cut in the corporate tax rate in his first term. Instead, he raised taxes on “the wealthiest,” and defined them as people with before-tax incomes above $200,000. Instead, the IRS audited his opponents. Get over it? Not anytime soon.