Yesterday, President Obama showed his true colors when communicating with the Speaker of the House of Representatives, John Boehner: ‘Take the deal’, he said.
Now, in my Lexicon, a deal is something that is agreed between consenting negotiators. A deal requires consideration on both sides, transfers that move both parties to preferred positions by comparison with the status quo.
President Obama is a Harvard law graduate who spent ten (albeit unproductive) years on the faculty of the University of Chicago School of Law. So I must presume that he understands sufficient contract law to make sense of what I am about to state:
‘A contract requires an offer, an acceptance and a meeting of the minds that is identified at law in the concept of consideration’
There are just two explanations for the President’s turn of phrase. Either, he remains basically uneducated, despite his qualifications, accumulated perhaps on the basis of misplaced affirmative action. Or, he is donning the outfit of the highwayman, and holding a pistol at the head of the passer-by: ‘Your money, or your life’. At law, the passage of money to the highwayman in return for the life of the passerby does not constitute a contract, and hopefully, it never will do so.
If the second explanation holds, then Barack Obama is attempting to act like an autocrat. Fortunately, the wisdom of the Founding Fathers still constrains his ability to force anyone to ‘take the deal’. The Highwayman Presidency has not yet come to pass in the so-called Land of the Free.