Of all the troubling aspects of President Obama’s presidency, it is the fact that the president has reached a point where the only remaining option to get the people’s work done is through executive orders. Well what do you expect? The Republicans in Congress have been MIA.The reality is governance by executive order is the only way to get the people’s work done and justified given the level of unprecedented obstruction this President has faced over 5 years and continues to face. What Republicans call a willingness to enforce his own policies via executive fiat and “lawlessness” is political hysteria and without merit given the depth of Republican opposition to anything this president does.
Lawlessness? A newsflash for Republicans: The Framers never intended the Constitution protect obstructionism and stagnation in Congress, hence it protects the use of executive authority as a presidential perogative when necessary- and now more then ever it’s necessary. The president’s approach will no doubt feed the right-wing narrative that he is is engaged in a power grab and is ignoring constitutional limits. So be it. Consider the source. Since the election of President Barack Obama followed by the emergence of the ultra-conservative Tea Party, the GOP has been taken over by an extremist ideology. How does a President negotiate in good faith with Republicans who want to cut government assistance programs that go to the so-called “lazy” poor, or negotiate in good faith with self-appointed vagina nazis ranting about uncontrollable female libidos and insisting women’s healthcare not cover birth control. Some Republicans believe to this day that the President wasn’t elected legitimately or that the President’s birth certificate is a forgery.
This President has been a prime target of hate-filled narratives from Republicans since his first day. “Obama sympathizes with Muslim terrorists; Obama is a communist who wants to institute death panels and touch off class warfare; Obama hates our men and women in the military.” Now they say the president is circumventing the U.S Constitution via executive fiat – a tyrant who want to take your guns, property, and liberties away. Convieniently, they ignore the fact that the Constitution guarantees citizens the right to equal opportunities and to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness not to a do -nothing Congress or a rigged system where the rich have been getting richer on the backs of the poor and middle-class since the days of Ronald Reagan.
Despite what the right would have you think, unilateral executive actions by presidents have been the norm for the last century beginning with George Washington. Franklin Roosevelt was clearly the most ambitious with 3522. Reagan had 381 executive orders to his credit. Who’s the least? That would be Barack Obama. All told, Obama has averaged fewer executive orders, per year, than any president in the last 117 years. It’s hard to tell how many more he’ll issue in his final three years. By any stretch of the imagination however, Republican hysterics about the excesses of an autocratic tyrant are politically motivated and ridiculous.
In keeping with his word, even in the first 9 months of his first term when the Democrats party effectively controlled both houses, the president did try to work with the Republicans but to no avail – they never wanted him to succeed from the get-go. Then came the mid term elections, and the emergence of the Tea Party that has accomplished nothing but help the GOP fight amongst themselves as they turn more radical, angry, and obstructive. So here we are, a situation where a president is left with no choice but to bypass a bunch of do-nothing radicals to implement programs that will benefit Americans.