Friday, January 11, 2013
Obama Increasingly Acts Like a Monarch
His Majesty Obama has been expanding presidential powers since he became president. In bailing out General Motors, he overturned a century of legal precedents in bankruptcy proceedings, swept away the legal rights of GM stock holders and distributed GM stock to the labor union.
He has also made extensive use of executive orders to achieve his will without involving Congress, thus bypassing the legislative function. Here is a list of executive orders signed by U.S. presidents since World War II.
Harry Truman 5
Dwight Eisenhower 2
John F. Kennedy 5
Lyndon Johnson 4
Richard Nixon 1
Gerald Ford 3
Jimmy Carter 3
Ronald Reagan 5
George H.W. Bush 3
Bill Clinton 17
George W. Bush 77
Barrack Obama 146, as of December 12, 2012. Note, too, that most of the other totals are for presidents who served 8 years.
(Source: Wikipedia, based on “Administration of [president's name] Executive Orders Disposition Tables” from the National Archives as published in the Federal Register.)
The recent school shooting massacre has again raised the issue of gun rights for the American people. The president has made it clear that if Congress doesn't act on this issue to his satisfaction, he will take action on it without Congress. That probably means another executive order. It remains to be seen how this would fit with the Supreme Court's decision that citizens have a right to bear arms.
U.S. Treasury Secretary Geithner has suggested that Congress should avoid controversy over raising the national debt limit by granting the president the authority to raise it without limit whenever he wants and without future approval of Congress. That would be a power characteristic of absolute monarchs.
Senate majority leader Harry Reid, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and former president Bill Clinton are urging Obama to evade the debt issue with Congress by unilaterally raising the debt limit, presumably by an executive order. They argue he should claim the authority via a controversial interpretation of the Fourteenth Amendment. So the meaning of the Constitution would be altered according to the wishes of the ruler rather than meaning what it was intended to mean. That's another characteristic of an absolute ruler, to employ a whimsical interpretation to unilaterally alter the founding document of a government to serve his own purposes.
It seems Obama's goal of “fundamentally transforming” America is one of obliterating the concept of power sharing among three equal branches of government and moving toward the concentration of power in a single individual. Like a monarch. If the legislators don't do what he wants, he will do it without them.