Pen and phoning it in
Speaking to the Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders this week, President Obama touted the rule of law as vital to a nation's success:
Regardless of the resources a country possesses, regardless of how talented the people are, if you do not have a basic system of rule of law, of respect for civil rights and human rights, if you do not give people a credible, legitimate way to work through the political process to express their aspirations, if you don't respect basic freedom of speech and freedom of assembly... it is very rare for a country to succeed. [Devex]
Obama explained that though some short-term success might be possible in the absence of the rule of law, long-term failure would be inevitable.
As civil libertarians have readily pointed out, Obama's comments are incongruous with his willingness to defend the NSA's unconstitutional activities, to ignore laws which contradict his campaign promises, and to govern by "pen and phone" if Congress does not pass his preferred legislation. Speaker of the House John Boehner recently announced his desire to sue the President on charges of lawlessness.