Barack Obama as the last President of the United States?

With his own claims to originalism fading fast, Scalia suggests liberal judicial activism, practiced by some of colleagues on the Court, is part of what brought about the Holocaust in Nazi Germany. The speech was an address to the Utah State Bar Association.

[From Peak Scalia | TPM Editors Blog]

I wonder if this isn’t the wrong comparison to make, though I’m not looking through the lens of judicial activism.

Consider Barack Obama:
• as the inheritor of a lot of policies and mechanisms he claims to oppose (like domestic surveillance or inequality): whether or not he does and what he could actually do about it is another discussion
• with his non-aggressive (not to say passive) disposition (see above, what he could do about it vs someone more confrontational)
• his political disadvantages (minority in the House, bizarre anti-productive rules in the Senate, passive to oppositional big media)
• huge military expenditures, including politicized defense expenditures for weapons that will never be used (we’re buying tanks? Why? Do we need a navy larger than the next several nations’ fleets combined? And why the F-35, other than contracts and jobs it represents?)
• a massive state surveillance operation of which we have no idea the real cost, and the yet to be weighed divisive social effects
• and the current economic morass with consolidation of power and wealth in every industry and the resulting inequality.

Who do you think of as a 20th Century political figure, given that description?

The name Mikhail Gorbachev ring a bell? He rose to power just as the wheels were coming off the wagon and there wasn’t a lot he could do about it. He inherited a state that had been hollowed out by ideology-driven economic policies and ruinous military spending. He ended presiding over the dissolution of an empire, as Russia became independent of the USSR along with other nations that had been “unified” into the old USSR — Ukraine, Belarus, the central Asian states, etc.

There’s a lot of muttering about secession or breaking the country up, letting intransigent states or regions go their own way, but there’s an assumption of choice to those arguments, of a new CSA breaking away. But what if as a precursor to or result of that happening, the federal government was rendered powerless, through budgetary hijinks or other political stunts (maybe congress members from the intransigent states refuse to return to DC or some other personal veto)?

Crazy? Possibly. Unbelievable? I’m not so sure. I continually find myself thinking on that memo from Buchanan to Nixon on the “bigger half” [1][2] and am reminded there are people — a lot of people — who would break the country up rather than see it accommodate ideas or people they oppose. That and referring to Frank Herbert’s Dune as a political text: “He who can destroy a thing, controls a thing.” This has been the SOP of the Republican congress since the Gingrich era, though he was more loyal to the idea of a continuing United States than many of his successors.