An Order for Change

Posted by tbaker |

TFW RachelPortrait.jpgBy Terrah Baker

“So, for those of you on the right who are screaming about executive orders, your god, Reagan, appears to be leading the pack.”

If we’re to believe what President Obama said in his State of the Union address, he’s going to start kicking ass and taking names. He built his first campaign on promises of change. After he was elected, he quickly learned that the only change Congress was going to make happen was their approval ratings plummeting to historical depths. So, to bypass the do-nothing-congress, he’s going to start using executive orders to get things accomplished.

As expected, Republicans are yelling that our president is breaking the rules. Eddie Munster’s doppelganger, Paul Ryan, even went as far as saying it was leading to “increasingly lawless presidency,” and that the president was thumbing his nose at congress and it was “creating a dangerous trend which is contrary to the Constitution.”

Now is when we’re all supposed to start running around, flailing our arms and screaming that the sky is falling.

If we were to look at the trends of executive orders with the past few presidents, we’d find that Reagan had 381, Bush had 166, Clinton had 364, Bush II had 291 and President Obama is sitting at 168. So, for those of you on the right who are screaming about executive orders, your god, Reagan, appears to be leading the pack. When confronted by George Stephanopoulos, host of “This Week,” about the above numbers, Ryan was quick to come back with, “It’s not the number of executive orders, it’s the scope of the executive orders,” which is kind of like saying, “I know you are, but what am I?” As far as executive orders being unconstitutional, they aren’t. In fact, Article II, Section 1 of the constitution covers this. It also states that the president can’t deliver any orders that are illegal or unconstitutional. So, for those who are trying to cause a panic, there really is none.

The Congress we’ve had under President Obama has the worst ratings in history. Just about the only thing they’ve accomplished is establishing the fact that both sides are going to sit on opposite sides of the playground and pout like petulant children. John Boehner and cohorts made a promise to stop this administration from being productive, and by golly, they’ve certainly accomplished that.

I think the President should have grown a pair a long time ago. But, now that he says he has, he needs to start passing out executive orders like keys at a swingers’ party. If the Republicans are going to accuse him of delivering an unprecedented number, or an unprecedented scope, he might as well prove them right. They’ve stopped progress from occurring long enough, and need to be shown that driving this country into the ground isn’t something our president is going to allow. Let’s get this bad ass ball rolling, because I am beyond ready for the change that’s been promised.

Rachel Birdsell is a freelance writer, artist and part-time cat wrangler. You can reach her at rabirdsell@gmail.com




anna February 6, 2014 at 8:15 am

The Youngstown decision was critical because it established a standard for the exercise of executive power. In his concurring opinion, Justice Robert H. Jackson described three different situations and three corresponding levels of presidential authority:
• The president acts with the most authority when he has the “express or implied” consent of Congress
• The president has uncertain authority in situations where Congress has not imposed its authority — either by inaction or indifference — and the president takes advantage of this “zone of twilight” to make an executive decision
• The president acts with the least authority when he issues an executive order that is “incompatible” with the expressed or implied will of Congress. Such an act, wrote Justice Jackson, threatens the “equilibrium established by our Constitutional system” [source: Contrubis]
In the spring of 2012, President Obama launched an aggressive campaign of executive orders to combat what he viewed as an intractable Congress. Since Congress refused to vote on legislation that would forward the Obama administration’s policies on the economy, job creation, education, energy and foreign policy, the president and his advisers decided to do as much as could be done without Congress’ help at all [source: Savage].

The Obama administration reversed, by executive order, executive orders enacted by President Bush that were perceived by his administration to be imposed with the “least authority” by a president.
The same will happen to Obama’s laws when there is a Republican administration.
Which just goes to show that if you don’t have the consent of Congress behind presidential authority the “stoke of the pen” is pure partisan politics and therefore temporary

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Steve February 6, 2014 at 4:01 pm

Eddie Munster’s doppelganger, hilarious. I use a variation of that term describing one of Fox News favorite retread contributor’s, Charles Krauthammer. Eddie Munster all grown up. Anna, good job on the added perspective. I knew FDR rammed a lot through via executive order, I was thinking in the neighborhood of 1600-1800, about quintuple Reagan. I was way off.

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Steve February 13, 2014 at 5:13 pm

Ha, yeah I know he’s in a wheelchair, it’s about the only area in which I respect the guy, not because he’s handicapped but because he picked himself up and kept going but that’s it. Eddie Munster though, is alright.

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