.... The White House put out a picture of a private meeting in the Oval Office on Jan. 27 that included former President George H.W. Bush and his son, Jeb, the former governor of Florida.
The Bushes were in town for the annual black tie dinner the next night at the Alfalfa Club, a gathering of business and political elites. The two featured speakers, both intended to be brief and humorous, were Obama and Jeb Bush. The president spoke to good reviews.
He left before Bush spoke.
Obama hates such dinners. Some of his aides, in particular his political adviser David Plouffe, urged him not to spend an evening mingling with the 1 percent. Yet he chose to go, and attendees said it was the first time they could recall a speaker leaving before the other side had its fun.
In addition, Obama’s 87-year-old predecessor was present.
Imagine the criticism five years ago if President George W. Bush had walked out on a dinner before Hillary Clinton spoke, with Bill Clinton in the audience....
Unlike the episode at the Alfafa dinner, which is closed to the press, some of His Haughtiness is being played out before our very eyes:
.... As Philip Klein pointed out in the American Spectator two years ago, the Obamacare bill contained 700 references to the Secretary "shall," another 200 to the Secretary "may," and 139 to the Secretary "determines." So the Secretary may and shall determine pretty much anything she wants, as the Obamaphile rubes among the Catholic hierarchy are belatedly discovering. His Majesty King Barack "shall have full power and authority to visit, repress, redress, record, order, correct, restrain and amend all such errors, heresies, abuses, offenses, contempts and enormities whatsoever they be." In my latest book, I cite my personal favorite among the epic sweep of Commissar Sebelius' jurisdictional authority:
"The Secretary shall develop oral healthcare components that shall include tooth-level surveillance."
Before Obama's Act of Supremacy did the English language ever have need for such a phrase? "Tooth-level surveillance": From the Declaration of Independence to dentured servitude in a mere quarter-millennium.
Henry VIII lacked the technological wherewithal to conduct tooth-level surveillance. In my friskier days, I dated a girl from an eminent English Catholic family whose ancestral home, like many of the period, had a priest's hiding hole built into the wall behind an upstairs fireplace. These were a last desperate refuge for clerics who declined to subordinate their conscience to state authority. In my time, we liked to go in there and make out. Bit of a squeeze, but it all adds to the fun – as long as you don't have to spend weeks, months and years back there. In an age of tooth-level surveillance, tyranny is subtler, incremental but eminently enforceable: regulatory penalties, denial of licenses, frozen bank accounts. Will the Church muster the will to resist? . . . .