The imperial presidency has arrived. On the domestic front President Obama has found that in many ways he can govern by executive order. In foreign affairs he has the nerve to tell other people that they should get rid of their current leaders.
Oh, darn! The Stiletto mistyped that quote. Too lazy to retype the whole thing, so can you just substitute Bush for Obama, ‘cause that’s who Thomas was writing about back in July 2002.
On the domestic front, President Barack Hussein Obama, his cabinet, closest advisers and even some members of Congress have decided that the Executive branch of government is not co-equal to the Legislative branch but superior to it.
Education Secretary Arne Duncan decided to unilaterally grant exemptions to the No Child Left Behind law without waiting for Congress to amend it; Obama asked his Council on Jobs to advise him on those provisions of the American Jobs Act that he can implement without waiting for Congress to pass the bill; and in recent stump speeches he promised to implement programs to reduce the burden of college loans and mortgages, as well as help veterans get jobs without “waiting” for Congress “to do its job.”
The same people who became apoplectic over things like the signing statements Bush attached to the Congressional legislation he signed into law, are fine with Obama’s circumventing Congress altogether. Presidential historian and author Douglas Brinkley tells USA Today, "It's the executive branch flexing its muscles. President Obama's showing, 'I've still got a lot of cards up my sleeve.'"
White House chief of staff Bill Daley, who has “has near-total access to Obama,” tells Politico that his boss’ MO going forward will be: “Let’s figure out what we can do [without Congress] and push the envelope on some of these things”:
Daley recognizes that there are three branches of government and the president leads only one of them, but now is the time for him to flex his muscles and show what he can do without the squabbling, ineffective – and far less popular than even he – Congress. …
He is going to every agency, every department, and saying, ‘What can you do on your own? What can we not have to wait for legislation to do?’ ”
Daley slaps one hand into the other with a sharp crack. “Let’s re-emphasize what powers we have! What we can do on our own! Push the envelope!”
Which is why the president has recently announced new plans to refinance homes, ease the debt burden of some college students and fast-track former military medics into private-sector hospital jobs.
Congress? He don’t need no stinkin’ Congress! There is an obvious downside: Both Democrats and Republicans in Congress soon will grow furious over this.
Politico may be wrong about that. Some Dems seem to want to cede their power to this president, The Daily Caller reports:
Virginia Democratic Rep. Jim Moran told The Daily Caller … he would “like to see” the Obama administration “refinance every home mortgage at three-and-a-half to four percent” interest, which he said can be accomplished without approval from Congress.
“The banks aren’t doing it, but the federal government can borrow money at three-and-a-half percent today. They should use that money to refinance every home mortgage, and that would put $750 billion into homeowners [sic] pockets,” he said. “It would reset the economy, and I think it’s the one thing that would most quickly get this economy back on its feet.” …
Illinois Democratic Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. told TheDC that he would like to see Obama declare a “national emergency” on the question of jobs and act without congressional approval. …
“And if there are extra-constitutional opportunities that allow the president administratively to put the people to work,” he added, “he should pursue every single one of them.”
Phil Kerpen, vice president for policy at Americans for Prosperity, warns, “Congress must actively assert its legislative prerogative or be relegated to the sidelines”:
Our Congress-optional president has been surprisingly open about his approach. Last month, at a gala for the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute, he said, "Until Nancy Pelosi is speaker again, I'd like to work my way around Congress."
The sad irony in all this is that Mr. Obama campaigned against President George W. Bush's executive excesses, promising a return to a constitutionally limited executive branch. Once elected, however, Mr. Obama discovered that presidential power is only a problem when someone you don't like is the president.
Even that symbol of Bush-era executive power – the signing statement – has reached a new level of abuse under Mr. Obama. In April, Mr. Obama and House Republican leadership concluded tense negotiations on a funding bill to avert a government shutdown. Part of the deal the president specifically agreed to was language blocking funding for four of the president's policy advisers - czars, colloquially. Mr. Obama agreed to the language but after the bill's passage, he used a signing statement to explain that he would simply disregard it.
Now our Congress-optional president is moving forward on his latest bailout-and-stimulus scheme without congressional authorization. Enough is enough. Congress must assert its responsibility under Article I, Section 1 of the U.S. Constitution. It is Congress, not the president, that is vested by the people with legislative power.
In an interview with radio talk show host Laura Ingraham, House Speaker John Boehner said he has "great concerns" Obama may be in violation of the Constitution in bypassing Congress on laws regarding mortgages and student loans, The Daily Caller reports:
I thought we were a nation of laws and that our country was governed by our Constitution. …
[T]his idea that you are just going to go around the Congress is just, it’s almost laughable. And so we are keeping a very close eye on the administration to make sure they are following the law and following the Constitution.
Boehner can’t keep Obama in check by himself. As Kerpen notes, “The Senate must do what the House has repeatedly done and stand up to this administration – or voters must elect a Senate that will.”
† Obama Creating Green Jobs That Americans Won’t Do: It’s bad enough that President Barack Hussein Obama’s “green economy” is creating jobs for people in Finland (fourth item), Mexico (second item), Japan, South Korea, Spain (penultimate item) and China. A “costly 18-month redo” of USAJobs could lead an American job-seeker to believe that his entire jobs effort is geared to provide jobs for foreigners. The Washington Post reports:
Within hours of its debut, the federal government’s ballyhooed new jobs board was on the fritz: USAJobs crashed repeatedly, error messages popped up over and over, résumés disappeared, passwords were obliterated.
It even got basic geography wrong, with searches for Delaware, for example, turning up jobs in Germany. …
It was 48 hours before frustrated applicants stopped getting this cheerleading message: “USAJOBS 3.0 is here and you’re not the only one excited about it!” Any “unexpected errors ... have now been resolved.”
† Does The U.S. Need An Election Monitor?: In 2011 nearly three-quarters of the states in the union have introduced legislation to enact or toughen voter identification laws – a byproduct of the 2010 election that gave Republicans control of 55 of the nation’s state legislative chambers (related article, seventh item on the page), The Washington Times reports:
Voter identification was the hottest election topic in the 2011 legislative session, with 20 states considering proposals to require voters to show ID. Among those was Mississippi, where a photo ID bill that failed to win passage has been resurrected on the Nov. 8 ballot. …
If approved, Mississippi would become the 14th state with a photo ID law. Another 16 states require non-photo identification. …
In Maine, the issue before the voters is same-day registration. The Republican-controlled legislature approved a bill requiring voters to register at least two days before an election, instead of being allowed to register on Election Day, as Mainers had done for 38 years.
Republican Gov. Paul LePage signed the bill in June, but opponents gathered 68,000 signatures in less than a month to challenge it. …
In Washington, voters will decide whether to remove from the state constitution a provision that requires voters in presidential races to have lived in the state for 60 days or longer before Election Day. The limit in other races is 30 days.
The RI legislature has broken ranks with other Democrat-controlled state legislatures by passing a voter-identification bill, which Gov. Lincoln Chafee (I) signed into law July.
† The Rules Of The Game: Demin Zawity, 14, was forced to quit her high school’s Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC) after being told that she could not wear a hijab while on parade in uniform, The Daily Mail of London reports:
The student, from Brentwood, Tennessee, told Fox News: 'It was during Spirit Week. We were getting ready for the homecoming parade and the head officer said that I wouldn't be able to wear the headscarf while I had the uniform on.
'I said that it was a religious thing and that I really couldn't take it off.'
Miss Zawity said she had asked the officer if an exception could made for her beliefs.
However school officials and district lawyers decided that if the 14-year-old wanted to take part in the parade, she would have to follow U.S Army regulations. …
The U.S. Army Cadet Command stated that the regulations do not ban religious items of clothing but that they must not be exposed or cover uniform.
After her unsuccessful effort to get the rules changed to accommodate her, Zawity ran to the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), which fired off a letter to the Williamson County Schools superintendent demanding a formal apology to Zawity and permission to wear the hijab with the JROTC uniform.
A spokesman for the U.S. Army Cadet Command pointed out that the uniform “demonstrates personal responsibility, attention to detail and being part of a team” – but none of that is of concern to CAIR and Zawity, who insist upon flouting the rules everyone else has to follow, calling attention to herself and holding herself apart from the rest of the team. It’s only a matter of time before the Obama Justice Department sues for “compelling” Zawity to choose between her faith and a voluntary extracurricular activity (related article, fourth item on the page).