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The Imperial Presidency

July 3rd, 2014
Boy, that Obama is just out of control. Boehner just has to sue him!
Republican charge: Obama rules by decree. Evidence: Has issued 180 executive orders. George W. Bush: Supposedly not ruling by decree. Evidence: Issued about 210 executive orders by the same time in his presidency.
Republican charge: Obama lied when he said you could keep your health care plan if you liked it. Evidence: Undetermined number of Americans forced to change health care plans; some got somewhat worse plans, many more got more advantageous plans. Obama made a formal apology for his statements, saying that his assurances had been wrong. George W. Bush: Bush lied about Iraq having ties to al Qaeda and terrorism, about Iraq working on a nuclear program and having massive stockpiles of WMD, about how an invasion would be short-termed and not costly, how we would be greeted as liberators, and how sectarian concerns would not be a problem. Evidence: A decade-long was costing trillions of dollars, 4489 American soldiers killed, 32,000 wounded, Iraq destabilized and sent plunging into a sectarian civil war. Bush never admitted doing anything wrong, said he would make the same decision again if he could go back; Republicans blamed Obama for anything bad happening concerning the war, including costs and outcome.
Republican charge: Obama's “Imperial Presidency” via executive orders and end-runs around Congress is “Unprecedented.” George W. Bush: from an article in 2007:
As he tries to end-run a balky Congress, Bush is taking a page from Bill Clinton's playbook by adopting a series of mini-initiatives to change policy through executive orders and administration actions that don't require legislation.

Let's face it, this is just a media stunt. According to Republicans, every Democratic president is “the most corrupt ever,” or “the most imperial president ever”—just like every single Democratic presidential nominee is immediately and automatically labeled as “the most liberal nominee ever.” It's a knee-jerk political attack, similar to how every domestic mass murderer or terrorist suspect is automatically labeled as a “Registered Democrat” in Freeper forums. This is not about Obama doing anything even remotely controversial. It's about Republicans running out of ideas about how to attack Obama and still make it look serious somehow.

  1. kensensei
    July 4th, 2014 at 07:58 | #1

    Luis,

    When comparing the two presidents in terms of their executive orders count, I think it’s also important to look at the degree of congressional support, or lack thereof (e.g. filibusters), which may incite a president to take matters into his own hands.

    As memory serves, Bush had little support from Democrats while in office, but at least there was a spirit of communication, opposition for the sake of compromise rather than blatant obstructionism.

    The recent Supreme Court ruling about Obama’s “recess appointments” is frustrating (or at least interesting) in that it does not suggest another method for making appointments when Congress refuses to put your appointment on the agenda.

    Recently, one of the photocopiers went down at work, and so everyone in the building was limited to the one working copier. Someone put a note on the working copier saying that only those in X,Y and Z departments could use it. In the meantime, no one has fixed the broken copier.

    Our Court system is similar in that it sometimes chooses to restrict the president’s options (when there is only ONE option left). Ridiculous!

    –kensensei

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