Not Holding His Peace

President Obama made a remarkable statement the other day–which is why I and many others are remarking on it:

“Ultimately, I’m confident that the Supreme Court will not take what would be an unprecedented, extraordinary step of overturning a law that was passed by a strong majority of a democratically elected Congress.

“And I’d just remind conservative commentators that for years what we’ve heard is, the biggest problem on the bench was judicial activism or a lack of judicial restraint — that an unelected group of people would somehow overturn a duly constituted and passed law.  Well, this is a good example. And I’m pretty confident that this Court will recognize that and not take that step.”

It’s rare for a president to comment on a pending Supreme Court case, let alone one of his own, in deference to the historic decorum surrounding the separation of powers among the three branches of government.

It is rare for a president to say many of the things which our current president has said, that above simply being the latest in an extensive list. When you or I say foolish things, we hurt people–but usually only a few. When legal head of the United States says foolish things, the damage he can do is commensurate with the position he holds.

Or, as someone else has put it:

[I]ntellectually, this is the week where Barack Obama jumped the shark. In a deep, fundamental way, he is no longer a serious man. Nor an honest one. His public words are now purposefully bleached of truth. And that is a painful thing to have to say about an American president.

And, I would add, the consequences of such words are far more painful than the words themselves.