About That “Abuse Of Executive Orders” Thing

I didn’t watch the State of the Union address live, so I’ve had to play catch up in the past few days. Fortunately, the Internet makes this a very easy proposition and I’m now fully informed on, among other things, the current status of the union.

My initial thoughts: sounds like we have a lot of work to do as a union. That’s okay with me, though. Work is good, because work is progress and if there’s a term I love more than liberal, it’s progressive.

Another thought: is it just me or did this speech remind anybody of the Obama who ran for president in 2008? The man is a damn fine orator when he focuses on it. This speech felt like a return to form for the president which I, as a member of the liberal loyalist base, found especially invigorating. I think the base needed that shot of adrenaline after the debacle that was the healthcare.gov rollout.

My favorite part, however, isn’t the speech itself, but the political reaction from the other side. I swear I’m not trying to intentionally poke them with a stick, but the Republicans make it so easy. There’s the three different official Republican responses to the state of the union; way to look like a unified and coherent party there, guys. Seriously, well done.

I’m glad we covered all the different flavors of the Republican party: there’s the Republican Party response delivered by Cathy McMorris Rodgers, then there’s the Republican Tea Party response delivered by Mike Lee, and of course, the Rand Paul Tea Party Republican Party response delivered by Rand Paul, because hey, why not.

But for my money, the best punchline comes from Obama’s abuse of executive authority. Dictator! Emperor! King! How dare the president abuse his authority in so improper a fashion! It’s the death of the Constitution! The end of checks and balances. President Obama is going to unleash so many executive orders that we might as well start melting down the gold and platinum to make the man a crown.

Clearly, that’s his aim here, right? He’s going to flood the republic with executive orders. Take a look at the number of executive orders Obama has issued so far during his presidency compared to previous presidents:

Source: Nymag.com

Wait, what?

Where’s Obama on this list? Oh, there he is: one up from the bottom.

I think it’s safe to say that if unleashing a tide of executive orders was going to be President Obama’s modus operandi, he would have already started to do so instead of waiting until the sixth year of his presidency. Just a thought.

As an aside, it’s also interesting to note how few executive orders George W. Bush issued. I would have assumed his number would have been higher. But that’s the great thing about dealing with facts and reality; if facts contradict your view on a particular topic, you change your view.

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4 thoughts on “About That “Abuse Of Executive Orders” Thing”

  1. I liked this post, as the way you closed it at the end indicates a willingness to change your view on an issue if the facts disprove your previously-held view… which is something that I like to think I can take pride in myself. However, as a crazy member of the right and someone who did watch the SOTU let me try and bring some perspective to the table.

    A lot of the reason behind the outrage is not purely the number of executive orders President Obama has undertaken during his two terms, but the reasoning for them as well as his disposition when he brings up his intention to use his ‘pen.’

    Executive orders, under the Constitution, are intended to help the POTUS use discretionary power to decide where and when federal agencies and already-existing legislation should be implemented. Obama has made it very clear that he intends to circumvent Congress in creating new law, which is not the job of the executive at all. In reality, this is partially lip service to rally his base, but raising the minimum wage for federally contracted workers is something that should really be left to the legislative branch.

    1. Thank you for your reply. You make a fair point in that much of the actual vehemence from the Republican party is coming from the idea that the President is going to use the executive order to get around Congress. I agree that it’s likely intended to rally the base more than indicate a strategic outline, but as a member of that base, I can attest that we really, really needed that rallying. It’s been a dismal few months for us.

      But on another level, I can’t help but wonder if it might actually play out exactly as Obama said that it will. I think that the Republican Party is being carved up by the feuding between the various blocs within it and that feuding is making it very difficult to accomplish anything via a bipartisan approach. Which faction of the Republican Party do you choose to work with on something like the raising of the minimum wage? If the “mainstream” Republicans say, yeah, minimum wage increases are a good idea, the Tea Party is going to paint them as capitulating to the enemy and the mainstream party sees its support fracture.

      1. I think that what will likely occur is the president will issue the EO for the federally contracted workers and that will make it easier for the federal minimum wage being raised to be swallowed by Congress. But I think you are right as far as the Republican party fracturing. As a Republican voter myself, I have been watching in horror, esp. since Obama’s second term began. I wouldn’t say the “Tea Party” is much to blame for this, but more due to the varying views each individual Repub on the Hill has on how the minimum wage would affect the economy. In addition, they are all trying to pander to their constituencies which, like many liberal constituencies, are ignorant to the real pro’s and con’s of such a raise. The Democrats have this advantage over the Republicans in the economic arena, a more unified take on economic issues whereas there is more variety in the Republican party which kills them in the House every time. Piled on top of this are the ‘rogues’ such as Ted Cruz and Bachmann who consciously act in a very extremist way to get the spotlight on them when they have no real higher-office aspirations and are content right where they are. The Democrats have proven to be more able to unify on the landmark votes and this minimum wage thing will probably showcase that, if you ask me.

        1. Very true.

          As much as I like to poke fun at the current Republican disunity (and I really do like to do that), if you were to ask me to give my serious, non-sarcastic opinion on the future of the Right, it would be my hope that they pull together and shed the hijacking extremist elements. Healthy and coherent opposition is better for everyone, liberals and conservatives alike. The current fracture might make good fodder for snarky bloggers like myself, but for actual voters, it’s not a laughing matter.

          I can remember the Democratic Party during the Bush years and how despairing that was for lefties like me; the party seemed unfocused and anemic, unable to unify against a strong, organized Republican party.

          It’s a sobering history lesson and a reminder that Democrats shouldn’t get comfortable, because no side is immune to such fracturing.

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