“We Can’t Wait”: Obama embraces executive orders to bypass Congress


Charlie Savage
NY Times
April 23, 2012

COMMENT: Apologists here for Obama’s use of executive orders point out the other recent presidents who’ve also overreached their use of executive orders. This makes the abuses more important, not less, as this has been an on-going deviation from the Constitutional limits of the president since at least FDR in the 30s. An executive branch run wild makes the abuses of kings and dictators almost inevitable. That is why it must be reined in; that’s why the framers constructed limited powers in their document. On the otherhand, there’s clear evidence that all of Obama & co.’s study of the Constitution must have been focuses on tactics to skirt its limitations.

“ In questions of power, let no more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution.” -Thomas Jefferson

WASHINGTON — One Saturday last fall, President Obama interrupted a White House strategy meeting to raise an issue not on the agenda. He declared, aides recalled, that the administration needed to more aggressively use executive power to govern in the face of Congressional obstructionism.

“We had been attempting to highlight the inability of Congress to do anything,” recalled William M. Daley, who was the White House chief of staff at the time. “The president expressed frustration, saying we have got to scour everything and push the envelope in finding things we can do on our own.”

[...]

But increasingly in recent months, the administration has been seeking ways to act without Congress. Branding its unilateral efforts “We Can’t Wait,” a slogan that aides said Mr. Obama coined at that strategy meeting, the White House has rolled out dozens of new policies — on creating jobs for veterans, preventing drug shortages, raising fuel economy standards, curbing domestic violence and more.

[...]

Many conservatives have denounced Mr. Obama’s new approach. But William G. Howell, a University of Chicago political science professor and author of “Power Without Persuasion: The Politics of Direct Presidential Action,” said Mr. Obama’s use of executive power to advance domestic policies that could not pass Congress was not new historically. Still, he said, because of Mr. Obama’s past as a critic of executive unilateralism, his transformation is remarkable.

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