Responding to the “obligatory” Rome reference whenever the executive branch accretes power, Michael Auslin writes that President Obama is no Caesar:
No, we are not Rome and Barack Obama is not Julius Caesar. But he is perhaps analogous to Sulla, whose crossing of hitherto sacrosanct lines and blatant disregard for timeless norms set the Republic on a dangerous path into chaos. What Sulla represented was the idea that anything was now conceivable, even though he justified his actions as responses to those taken by his political opponent Marius. Yet what he did could well be called the tipping point, and only inertia in the Republic’s system kept it going for another nearly half-century. As Julius Caesar crept towards the Rubicon, all of Rome could see it coming; all knew that two irresistible forces (Caesar and Pompey) were about to collide, yet the norms of restraint had been so eaten away, and creative politics so attenuated, that there was no chance of avoiding the explosion.
What Barack Obama sows in 2014 may not be reaped for years or decades. But it eventually will be reaped, unless the political leadership of this country today and tomorrow shows far more wisdom, self-restraint, and civic duty than it does now.