Nat Hentoff, And Why His Opinion Matters
"I Don't Mind A Parasite. I Object To A Cut-Rate One."
Last comment by sebekm 9 months ago.

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There are “liberals,” and then there are liberal “icons.” For many years, Nat Hentoff has been referred to in the media as a liberal icon. According to our friends at

“Nathan Irving "Nat" Hentoff is an American historian, novelist, jazz and country music critic, and syndicated columnist for United Media and writes regularly on jazz and country music for The Wall Street Journal. Hentoff was formerly a columnist for Down Beat, The Village Voice, JazzTimes, Legal Times, The Washington Post, The Washington Times, The Progressive, Editor & Publisher and Free Inquiry. He was a staff writer for The New Yorker, and his writing has also been published in the New York Times, Jewish World Review, The Atlantic, The New Republic, Commonweal and in the Italian Enciclopedia dello Spettacolo.”

Of particular note in the above bio is that Hentoff has written for for The Progressive magazine, which is further described as follows:

“The Progressive is an American monthly magazine of politics, culture and progressivism with a pronounced liberal perspective. Founded in 1909 by Senator Robert "Fighting Bob" La Follette, it was originally called La Follette's Weekly and then simply La Follette's. In 1929, it changed its name to The Progressive.

The magazine is known for its strong pacifism. It devotes much coverage to combating war, militarism, and corporate power. It supports civil rights and civil liberties, women's rights, LGBT rights, immigrant rights, labor rights, human rights, environmentalism, criminal justice reform, and democratic reform.”

It may seem obvious to most that for one to write FOR The Progressive magazine one must BE a “progressive.” There is no indication that Hentoff ever wrote for that publication in order to provide an “opposing view.” Consequently, when a life-long, celebrated liberal “icon” calls for the impeachment of a sitting President of the United States who happens to have run on the Democratic party ticket, who has enacted a liberal agenda, and who also happens to be the absolute darling of the liberal left (and the mainstream media) – I believe his remarks, comments, thoughts and ideas are worth considering.

Those remarks (understandably) have not gotten much play in the liberal/mainstream media, so I provide them here in their entirety from an article posted by Garth Kant at


'The most destructive, dangerous president we've ever had'

WASHINGTON — Worse than Richard Nixon. An unprecedented abuse of powers. The most un-American president in the nation’s history.

Nat Hentoff does not think much of President Obama.

And now, the famous journalist says it is time to begin looking into impeachment.

Hentoff sees the biggest problem as Obama’s penchant to rule by executive order when he can’t convince Congress to do things his way.

The issue jumped back into the headlines last week when, just before his first Cabinet meeting of 2014, Obama said, “I’ve got a pen and I’ve got a phone … and I can use that pen to sign executive orders and take executive actions.”

“Apparently he doesn’t give one damn about the separation of powers,” Hentoff told WND. “Never before in our history has a president done these things.”

And just to make sure everyone knew how extremely serious he regarded the situation, the journalist added, “This is the worst state, I think, the country has ever been in.”

Many have regarded Hentoff as the conscience of civil libertarianism and liberalism for decades.

Recognized as one of the foremost authorities on the Bill of Rights and the Supreme Court, Hentoff was a columnist and staff writer with The Village Voice for 51 years, from 1957 until 2008, when his columns began appearing in WND.

Hentoff left the Voice after he looked into the abortion industry, was shocked by what he found and had a falling-out with colleagues.

The First Amendment expert still hews left on many issues, railing against former President George W. Bush, former Vice President Dick Cheney, the prison at Guantanamo Bay and the National Defense Authorization Act.

But he hasn’t liked Obama from the start.

“Within a few months after he was elected, I wrote a column saying he was going to be the most destructive, dangerous president we’ve ever had,” he said.

Hentoff said people he’d known for years told him to stop being so negative and to give Obama a chance.

“Well, we’ve given him a chance. I understated the case a little.”

In other words, Hentoff thinks Obama is the most dangerous and destructive president ever.

And, that’s why the veteran journalist thinks it’s time to begin looking into impeachment.

“He has no right to do these executive orders,” Hentoff insisted, his voice reaching a crescendo of indignation.

He says Obama gets away with it only because there is no outrage in Congress, no coverage by the media and no knowledge by the public.

“He’s in a position now where he figures he’s going to do whatever he wants to do.”

In fact, Hentoff said, Obama doesn’t even pretend to care about the separation of powers between the executive branch and Congress anymore, because “He’s the boss and hardly anybody cares enough” to stop him.

The most well-known examples of Obama changing or issuing laws with the stroke of a pen by issuing executive orders include:

• Delaying the employer mandate in Obamacare

• Changing the types of plans available under Obamacare

• Ensuring abortions would be covered under Obamacare

• Enacting key provisions of the failed Dream Act to halt deportations of illegal immigrants

• Enacting stricter gun-control measures

• Sealing presidential records

• Creating an economic council

• Creating a domestic policy council

• Changing pay grades

As WND previously reported, even the the far left-leaning FactCheck wrote, “It’s true that President Obama is increasingly using his executive powers in the face of staunch Republican opposition in Congress. He’s changed federal policies on immigration and welfare and appointed officials without congressional approval.”

“I would say that never before in our history had a president done these things,” Hentoff mused.

He noted that while Nixon merely claimed that winning an election gave him the right to do what he wanted, Obama is actually doing whatever he pleases.

The journalist said he doesn’t think any other president has acted so lawlessly as a matter of habit.

“So, if this isn’t a reason for at least the start of an independent investigation that would lead to impeachment, what is?”

Hentoff is baffled that Obama should escape such scrutiny when former President Bill Clinton faced impeachment just for being “a lousy liar.”

A big part of the problem, the journalist believes, is what he calls the utter ignorance of a huge portion of the population, which is not outraged at losing its basic right to be self-governing.

And Obama “doesn’t give a damn, because he can get away with whatever he wants.”

That’s why Hentoff called this the worst state the country has ever been in, “Even worse than Woodrow Wilson’s regime, when people could be arrested for speaking German.”

Compounding the problem he says, is the digital age, which has allowed the president to engage in unprecedented domestic spying with the apparatus of the National Security Agency.

WND asked if Obama really posed such a threat, considering he was a professor of constitutional law.

“People forget, he taught a course that he was not fully qualified to teach. But nobody seemed to care,” Hentoff observed.

He also pointed out that as president of the Harvard Law Review Obama never published an article, something that went virtually unnoticed when voters considered his qualifications.

“See, that was a case of affirmative-action and people feeling, ‘Hey we ought to do something important, symbolically, and here’s a black guy, and he’s articulate, so we’re gonna do this.’”

Hentoff mentioned that former U.S. Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas, the man Time Magazine once called “the most doctrinaire and committed civil libertarian ever to sit on the court,” once personally lectured him that “Affirmative-action on a racial basis is a total violation of the 14th Amendment, no doubt about it.”

And, referring to Obama’s presidency, the journalist said, “That’s what that kind of affirmative-action did for us.”

He told WND that he firmly believed the president does not care about due process, the separation of powers, the concept of a self-governing republic or many other basic American ideals.

And that’s why, he said, “What Obama is doing now is about as un-American as you can get.”

Hentoff wanted to make sure no one thought he was engaging in hyperbole.

He said it was literally true that Obama is “the most un-American president we’ve ever had.”

And just to make sure everybody heard him, he added, “I hope the FBI got all of that.”

Hentoff is just the latest public figure to be added to the growing list of those mentioning the possible impeachment of President Obama.”


So – is Hentoff just another “liberal icon” who has “gone off the reservation” like Ronald Reagan, Strom Thurmond, John Connally, Condoleezza Rice, Jeanne Kirkpatrick, and Zell Miller? Is he a RACIST? I’m convinced that most of Mr. Obama’s supporters/sympathizers will have knee-jerked to that conclusion not long after reading the word “impeachment” and noting that Hentoff is white. Even if Hentoff were black, I suspect that race would come into the conversation in some way, somehow.

I have not advocated for Mr. Obama’s impeachment on these here web pages, but I must admit after reading the above article, I fully agree that to by-pass Congress as this President has done is not only unconstitutional but also illegal. A President cannot just enact laws “with a phone and a pen,” and in particular he can’t just change existing laws the same way. The Republicans are absolutely correct to fight him tooth and nail on this and to challenge his actions in federal court.

This President has made it clear that what he really likes about being President is making speeches and running campaign-style rallies. The actual WORK of governing – the schmoozing, the cajoling, the arm-twisting, the COMPROMISE – is all anathema to him. His method of running this country now has even “liberal icons” calling for his impeachment.

This fact speaks for itself, and it's also the reason why Hentoff's opinion matters.

Latest Activity: Jan 26, 2014 at 2:40 PM

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JimmyMack commented on Sunday, Jan 26, 2014 at 15:17 PM

@Sebe. I can see that you have returned with a vengeance; this and multiple postings!! I forgot when I was pleading for your return the old adage 'be careful what you wish for cause you might just get it.' Looks like I got it!

Your tsunami of information sometimes takes me a while to digest. Best as I can tell at the moment is the Impeach Obama drum,(s?) is\are acting some.

I think that given the time, perseverance, and intellect one could make a case regarding impeachment against the MAJORITY of our Presidents during their terms of office. Of course, tricky dick WUZ a crook and his pal Kissenger was a war criminal, but to my mind W., the Boy King, still holds the title belt for Worst of ALL Time. The trials, tribulations, initiation of massive debt, loss of life and limb(s), EXCEEDS whatever can be drummed up against BHO.

But, it being SUPER BOWL WEEK and all, I will bet you a dime to a nickel that no impeachment initiatives will be brought to the floor of the House during Obama's final term. We may well hear some impeachment NOISE, but that's all it will amount to. Just a little 'rackit'(southern term for noise.) As in: "you boys stop that rackit before your daddy gets his belt."

JimmyMack commented on Sunday, Jan 26, 2014 at 15:19 PM

BTW: it was I who voted COOL, above.

sebekm commented on Sunday, Jan 26, 2014 at 16:01 PM

Sorry, Jimmy - this one got posted WAY before I was finished with it. The "real" version is now up above.

I didn't realize an earlier version was up until I tried to post the "almost final" version and saw that an incomplete part of it was already here. You may want to reconsider your rating - but I'm not sure how to change it. I can't vote one way or another. Perhaps the system will let you change yours if you want to. I never tried to do that.

As to any movement toward actual impeachment, I don't see it happening - at least not until after the November elections IF the Republicans hold the House and take the Senate. Then all bets might be off - especially if Mr. Obama continues to do business "with a pen and a phone." That will give the Republicans the reason and the argument to move on it. The fact that they would be holding both houses of Congress could further embolden them to proceed.

This country doesn't need that. What it needs is a functioning government where laws are enacted the way the Constitution specifies and our leaders WORK TOGETHER to get things done. Executive fiat is not the way - even if you think the opposition is being "obstructionist." The solution to that dilemma is to LEAD - to make them stop being "obstructionist" by forging legislative coalitions and compromising. Mr. Obama would do well to start forging those compromises and coalitions IN HIS OWN PARTY. This article does a pretty good job of telling the tale:

JimmyMack commented on Sunday, Jan 26, 2014 at 16:36 PM

The COOL was more of a Welcome Back Cotter moment. :)

sebekm commented on Sunday, Jan 26, 2014 at 17:05 PM

Okay - so I guess you're not cool with impeachment.....

sebekm commented on Sunday, Jan 26, 2014 at 17:13 PM

....but thanks for the "welcome back"....

Now if we could only find Sporty....

JimmyMack commented on Sunday, Jan 26, 2014 at 17:36 PM

Sporty, Funk, Sebe, JimmyMack, Up2, sheran, and ....drum roll....Tot!!!!
Eyes, gacpl, lholmes, dare I say it: MURELLET; IKY,PN, of course, bring back TANDSHICKEY, WHAT HOT LIPS,......

AND WE will all end up in jail...

sebekm commented on Sunday, Jan 26, 2014 at 19:55 PM

Yes - as Agent Smith so famously said in The Matrix Reloaded: we need MORE....

timeontarget commented on Monday, Jan 27, 2014 at 07:59 AM

How about the female sky ???????????

I don't remember her full handle but way back she was here often.

She was a big supporter of the local animal shelter.

timeontarget commented on Monday, Jan 27, 2014 at 08:01 AM

sebekm an excellent piece, hopefully the tide is starting to turn.

timeontarget commented on Monday, Jan 27, 2014 at 08:56 AM

I just read something interesting in Leonard Pitt's column this morning.

He quotes Dr King


We have reached that point when we don't voice our opinions about the current abuse of Executive orders by Obama.

Seems to me it fits right in with Hentoff's thoughts above.

JimmyMack commented on Monday, Jan 27, 2014 at 10:29 AM

I read it too, Tot. But Pitt's column had nothing to do with the impeachment of Obama. It dealt with race and Conservatives and was titled: 'ON RACE, CONSERVATIVES ARE SILENT.' To quote Pitt's observation regarding Conservatives and what Martin Luther King had to say 'They can't quote what he said about injustice: "America has given the Negro people a bad check, which has come back marked, 'insufficient funds.'

But, continued Pitt regarding Conservatives: "They always quote the "content of character" passage from King's I HAVE A DREAM speech. They see it as supportive of their ideal of a so-called 'color-blind' society wherein RACE and racial problems are acknowledged NEVER."

sebekm commented on Monday, Jan 27, 2014 at 13:35 PM

We can acknowledge racial problems, but to bait and profit from their proliferation and continuation is the Democratic party's stock-in-trade. Once again we are comparing the lesser of two evils. Perhaps that's all we can hope for. The past five years of "hope and change" haven't gotten us much closer to "racial harmony." By all accounts this country is more racially polarized than it has ever been.

timeontarget commented on Monday, Jan 27, 2014 at 16:15 PM


What is the benefit of continuing to lament the effects of slavery???????????

None of us here at this time had anything to do with it.

None of us now have any responsibility for what happened.

Why can't we all just simply move on.

Don't stir foul matter if it is not necessary.

My folks were written a bad check too, in my opinion, but that is not anything that I ever expect my government to afford me any compensation or benefit for.

JimmyMack commented on Monday, Jan 27, 2014 at 17:48 PM

Tot: Amazing to have both of us read the very same article and come away with different reasons of what the article was really about!!! Pitts emphasis was Conservatives, of which he named and gave examples, regarding their belated embrace of Martin Luther King, and if they realize THEY are what he struggled against all his life!

Your comments above Tot were addressed by Dr. King. Though the term 'playing the race card' did not exist in his lifetime, King was familiar with the argument. His focus on racial injustice, said his critics, 'fanned the flames of racial tension.'

To which Dr. King said this: "We who engage in nonviolent direct action are not the CREATORS of the tension. We merely bring to the surface the hidden tension that is already alive. We bring it out in the open where it can be dealt with."

This quote above was 'another quote most conservatives will not know. Too bad, says Pitts. If they (Conservatives) understood it, they might better understand the man they purport to embrace. "Our lives begin to end," said King, "the day we become silent about things that matter."

You see Tot, you as many Conservatives do, cherry pick Dr. King's words to fit your own exclusionary agenda.


That and a few other reasons is why I speak up regarding your narrow world perspective which you unashamedly post here on these pages.

Thank God for the Democratic Party.

timeontarget commented on Wednesday, Jan 29, 2014 at 07:26 AM

I fear that Obama was elected President because for one thing McCain was a terrible choice for the republican ticket.

Another reason and a formidable one too,

Was that many voters did not judge Obama for the content of his character, they simply judged him by the color of his skin.

Simply put:

Reverse discrimination.

JimmyMack commented on Wednesday, Jan 29, 2014 at 11:52 AM

@Tot: "Reverse discrimination." So, Tot, for someone that likes to cherry pick MLK's views regarding the ABSENSE of discrimination, you now wish to make the point that discrimination does in fact exist. But it exists in those who voted for Obama based on his color?

I will say again: inconsistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.

Say hello to Honey Boo and Phil Robertson for me. At least they get paid to be stupid.

sebekm commented on Wednesday, Jan 29, 2014 at 13:30 PM

"Thank God for the Democratic Party."

Part I:

The ones who should first be thanking God ARE the Democratic party. Now even the RUSSIANS say that we are more "godless" than they are:

One way the Obama administration has fed the Russians ammunition with this claim is by striking God from their party platform at the last Democratic National Convention. Another way is to STOP SCREWING WITH THE LITTLE SISTERS OF THE POOR. As pointed out by Kirsten Powers in her article yesterday:

"Friday, the Supreme Court gave the Colorado-based Little Sisters of the Poor a reprieve in their battle over the Obamacare contraception mandate. While the Sisters' case is on appeal, the government must cease demanding that the nuns sign a form they say violates their religious beliefs.

The Sisters had been facing hefty fines.

This is a very strange case. The government has argued that signing the form is meaningless because the nuns' insurer, the Christian Brothers Employee Benefits Trust, is exempt from the mandate. Yet it has fought the Sisters all the way to the Supreme Court to make them sign it. What's going on?

The government's brief to the Colorado court provides a clue. It drips with contempt. The Obama administration finds the nuns' complaint "implausible" and alleges that the Sisters are "fighting an invisible dragon." Oh, you silly, simple-minded nuns! Just stop imagining things and do what the government tells you.

sebekm commented on Wednesday, Jan 29, 2014 at 13:33 PM

Part II:

The Sisters reject the government's contention that the form does nothing, as did all six lower courts to consider the claim in other church plan cases. They are wise to be leery of Uncle Sam's intentions.

The dismissive tone of the administration's brief is consistent with its overall attitude toward religious liberty issues throughout the implementation of the contraception mandate. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius never bothered to consult the Justice Department to determine whether the mandate was consistent with the Constitution and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, despite requests from Congress.

When asked whether she consulted the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops over their complaints about an effort to find an "accommodation," Sebelius said she didn't. Considering it was the primary group complaining, why not?

The administration's indifference to religious liberty complaints is not limited to issues arising from Obamacare. In 2011, the government made the argument in Hosanna-Tabor v. the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission that churches do not have special rights under the First Amendment but merely association rights, like unions. Justice Antonin Scalia called this "extraordinary," and Justice Elena Kagan said it was an "amazing" claim. Another word that comes to mind is "disturbing." A unanimous court rejected the administration's claim."


So - "thank God" for the Democratic Party? I see absolutely nothing about the Democratic Party to thank God for - other than providing a greater of two evils for Americans voters to choose between each time we go to the ballot box. In fact - if the Democratic Party was a river, I'd suggest that they be dammed.

JimmyMack commented on Wednesday, Jan 29, 2014 at 15:57 PM

@Sebe. You being a self-admitted Center-Right Independent, I can well see how you would view the two party system as a choice between two Evils. And coming from Chicago, where you have seen the 'hands on' machinations of politics, and it being a predominantly Democrat enclave, your revulsion is understandable. The same is so for watching how sausage is made. A thoroughly revolting thing to see up close and personal. Not that it is perfect, by any means, but the two party system is what we got. Two differing political philosophies locked in a battle for the middle ground. Each one has their own methods to get out the vote. I view the Republican voter roundup strategies as abhorrent as you do the Democrats.

Abortion is a polarizing issue. One either is against it or not. You know how I see it as I have stated my position on these pages and in the Courier.

We will never see eye to eye on this one, Sebe. But, it will all come down to either the Republican or Democrat way of doing things in the forth coming elections.

You know how I will vote. I think I know how you will vote. One of us will "win" the battle between 'the two evil choices.'

sebekm commented on Thursday, Jan 30, 2014 at 18:41 PM

Yes We Will.

sebekm commented on Friday, Jan 31, 2014 at 15:15 PM

(Added pertinent political cartoon)

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