The Folly of the Executive Action Diktat Argument

In elementary school most of us learned about the branches of the Federal government and the separation of powers. Some of us would later learn in junior high and high school of a number of nuances that results in that separation of powers moving from 3 distinct circles to 3 circles with some overlapping taking place. A few of us whether through higher education, first-hand experiences, or our own quest for knowledge through self-study discover that this overlapping has morphed throughout our history. Actually the separation of powers has transitioned throughout US History. The “perfect circles” discovered in grade school are truly shapes that perhaps a mathematician could identify if those shapes were not in continual flux. An easy example of the transitioning can be seen with the judicial branch. Did any of the signers of the Constitution anticipate the fundamental changes to our governmental system with the decision in Marbury v. Madison?

Yes the concept of judicial review was not unique in 1803. A number of delegates at the Convention made remarks concerning judicial review, and many of the state ratifying conventions had extended debates on the subject. Still a law had stood on the books for about 14 years. Likewise so many of the “rights” we have today argued either as coming from a Supreme Being and merely repeated in the Constitution or argued as being unique to the Constitution became standard practice and recognized long after 1789 with later Court decisions. Often the interpretations on what is and what is not a “right” has changed during the course of US History. For example based upon a strict interpretation of the Constitution and its time period, few people today would have the “right” to vote. Only through future interpretations did the franchise right expand.

So much has been said about President Obama’s address where he proposed issuing Executive Actions concerning immigration and border security. To this point he has not authored any Executive Actions, and his address did not contain suggestions of amnesty. As I wrote the other day, by its inaction to address the issues, Congress is actually the branch granting amnesty through its failure and refusal to act.

Senator Ted Cruz penned an opinion piece for Politico, “Obama Is Not a Monarch: The president cannot act alone; the Constitution requires compromise,” that is designed to either take advantage of his presumed belief in the ignorance of the American people or to inflame dissension and even suggest a dismantling of our governmental structure and country.

I’ll give Senator Cruz and others propagating this nonsense the benefit of the doubt about not wanting to cause riots or overthrow our own government because we can attribute these deceitful claims of amnesty charges as part of our partisan political rhetoric. It is a false allegation which is being made to build animosity toward the President which hopefully stops short of an Aaron Burr and James Wilkinson styled conspiracy allegation.

The “historic losses” by the Democratic Party during the midterm elections of 2014 contention, I’ll attribute again to the partisan political rhetoric. The only other manner to account for that statement is an extreme level of ignorance about American History and American Government as the political party of the President losing seats in Congress and at times the majorities are the norm and not the exception.

Mid year election change in Congress from Presidential Party

The bars dropping down illustrate the number of House and Senate seats lost by the political party of the President during the mid year elections.
(2014 numbers are estimated with some races yet to be decided)

The suggested reaction against the Executive Actions if or when they are actually written of blocking confirmations doesn’t make much sense to me even from the partisan perspective.  Instead of addressing actual issues, the goal is for Congress to punish every American citizen? Isn’t that the Senator’s suggestion?

Sir, the deterrent to any Executive Action is for Congress to pass a law that in effect renders that Executive Action null and void. I learned that in grade school, but sadly it does result in some hand raising in undergraduate survey level history courses before a refresher on the responsibilities of Congress.

Per your remarks on funding that power continues to reside in the House of Representatives. Senator Cruz, however, also writes of attaching riders to individual appropriations. Then if the President does not accept the funding levels provided by Congress, it will be President Obama shutting down the government according to the gentleman from Texas.

There are a number of issues here.

First the idea of attaching riders suggests that the proposal does not have the standing to pass by itself. Forget the partisan rhetoric of the GOP following the 2010 midterm elections of passing legislation on its own merits. Essentially the Senator is asserting that the goal is to abort the President and not to take up the task of legislating as a body. That’s an opinion on my part that anyone can contradict.

One cannot contradict, however, the fact that if Congress would pass a budget, these appropriations become a moot point.  The President sends a budget proposal, but a budget passed by both Chambers is a Continuing Resolution that does not go to the President for his or her signature to become law.

It’s an insult to the American people for Congress to spend time on absolutely worthless legislation such as the vaunted No Budget, No Pay Act passed by the current Congress. Seriously, do your job.

Sequestration happened because instead of making decisions on what to cut and what not to cut, Congress took the route of let’s just have the broad across the board cuts and blame the President. Blame the Senate or blame the House. Blame Democrats or Republicans. The reason no budget has been passed is because 535 voting individuals are either incapable or unwilling to work together.

Love or hate Barack Obama, what Senator Cruz asserts as a Presidential temper tantrum are in fact statements that Congress is expected to address the issues facing this country and to represent the American people. Instead we have Members of Congress on both sides of the aisle who represent themselves and those providing them with perks such as financial resources.

Asking adults to perform the work for which they are being paid has apparently become a “temper tantrum.” The person asking the individual to earn their money is the so-called dependency creator? I guess it all depends on who is expected to do the work.

Think about it, the constant message is blame the President for expecting Congress to work.

Seriously can any Member of Congress, either Chamber or party, cite something without dragging Barack Obama into the discussion? This blatant disrespect of the President and thus the United States was ridiculous during the final stages of the George W. Bush administration, and the absurdity has increased exponentially during the Obama administration. Previous generations did not exhibit the same degrees irrationality.

Again, love or hate Barack Obama, argue what you want about Benghazi, the IRS, Fast and Furious, and so on. Just take a look at some of the Executive Actions he has signed. I’ll agree with many of you and even Senator Cruz that much of what I’m about to list should not have been done via the President with his pen and phone.

The problem, however, is that without Barack Obama being willing to use that pen and phone such matters that Congress has deemed less important than say…

  • How many votes have been recorded to repeal ACA in the House?
  • How did No Budget No Pay work out for you?
  • Remember the rush to pass legislation to assure that flights from DC would not be delayed?
  • Remember Senator Cruz in what was not a filibuster since no questions were on the table to filibuster reading Green Eggs and Ham to the country?

Of course Obama got blamed for the government shutdown, but seriously our tax dollars paid a man $174,000 +  to read Dr. Seuss.

So if we had to rely upon Congress to try to perform their duties, what would we have?

Actually, it’s easier to look at a few of the things that would not have happened.

For example We the People needed Executive Actions to get government attention for:

Do I agree with every one of these Executive Actions or Executive Orders if you prefer that term?  Absolutely not.

I can cherry-pick each one to find elements that I disagree with from my personal ideology and others that I think are good ideas but unrealistic.

Simply put, I differ in opinion on multiple aspects of these and others which I did not list. I won’t list any here, but historically some of the Executive Orders signed by Presidents before my lifetime (Presidents before Nixon) will probably surprise you as to their scope and direct impact upon the lives of many without much direction from Congress.

Well, the professor hat wins out, so at least consider the Emancipation Proclamation, the desegregation of the Armed Forces, the forced internment of Americans of Japanese descent, and so on.

My point, however, is that I believe that some actions, maybe not these specified in the orders issued by President Obama, but something needed to be addressed for the benefit of the United States of America.

Seriously opponents of the President now oppose the various measures to assist Veterans, to work on medical and biological preparedness whether from a terrorist attack on antibiotic resistant bacteria, and discussing ways to streamline the government and prevent waste. For individuals who oppose abortion for whatever reason, understand that it took Barack Obama’s pen and phone to clarify provisions that Federal funds in ACA would not be used for abortions on demand.

While people are blaming Obama, think of the idiocy. Because Obama supports ACA, these pro-life Members of Congress would have allowed Federal funds in spite of the Hyde Amendment finance who knows how many abortions. Yep, I know that I’m confusing the issue because many of these same people do not like ACA or recognize its legitimacy. I reckon then that without Obama’s pen and phone every abortion would have only been imaginative and not a true life altering situation.

Yep, I know that some will argue that common sense would have prevailed without the pen and phone. Remember, however, that we are talking about politicians; people who ask others to give them money in return for nothing more than promises. Don’t get me wrong, many holders of political office are in fact honest, hardworking individuals. I’ve worked for and with many and consider many personal friends. I specialize in political history, but I certainly slept better at night working out in the berry field or teaching in the classroom than I do spending all that time working on legalese or bureaucratic red tape untangling.

The simple truth is that Congress, both Chambers, both political parties, chose not to work together and send legislation regarding any of these matters to Barack Obama to either sign into law, allow to become law without signature (provided Congress would then stay in session to work although pro forma sessions to prevent work are apparently acceptable), or pocket veto if Congress did recess.

And Barack Obama is the one guilty of showing condescension towards the voters. This is the “lawless President.”

“If the president will not respect the people, Congress must”  (Senator Ted Cruz).

  • Folks hate Barack Obama because his skin is too dark or not dark enough. There you have the words to dismiss me entirely for playing the race care.
  • Hate Barack Obama because he is taller or shorter than you. Use this if you want to dismiss me from playing the proverbial height card.

For many it’s not personal hate, and you have every reason and right not to support Barack Obama’s views on say climate change.

  • Do not support him because of his campaign promises.
  • Do not support him for carrying out existing agreements in foreign affairs.
  • Do not support him for his actions regarding current affairs.

Join me and criticize many of the appointments he has made to multiple positions. Yes, I know about political debts, the good ole boy system, or y’all can’t call it nothing else than patronage and the realities of having power, but I’ll maintain that others were better suited for their jobs.

I mean I neither love nor hate Barack Obama.

I neither love nor hate Ted Cruz.

I think both are politicians who try to appeal to their respective bases.

I can find areas to praise or to criticize either of these political figures.

I do see one man who is making decisions. I might not agree with them, but he is working just as his predecessors did when elected to the same office.

I see those in opposition not willing to make decisions. I see them criticizing but not offering alternatives. I see them searching for a scapegoat and doing little more. They have the power to accomplish many things and to take action that would prevent the necessity or if you do not believe any of the above were necessary they could at least negate the opportunity for the President to take action. They refuse, and they point fingers of blame.

Who gets hurt?

  • We the People get hurt because Senator Cruz and others talk but are unwilling to work.
  • They claim that they cannot work because of the President, but they also argue that the President is weak and lawless.

Perhaps President Obama is weak and lawless, but what does that say about the strength and desire of his criticizers to abide by the law?

Maybe President Obama doesn’t respect the people, but he is working more for the people than the 112th and 113th Congresses combined. Heck, the current House is suing the President for doing too much in their opinion? I reckon that the upcoming 114th plans to continue with that lawsuit.

Any Member of Congress, Who is spending out of control?

Any Representative, Why not use the power of the purse to stop other waste and not just Obama?

Any Senators Why not analyze appointments based on individual merits instead of this premise of blanket vetoes?

  • Is it because Congress does not respect the people?
  • Is it because Congress does not respect the position of President of the United States?

Who in the heck is dividing the people?

Surely this weak and lawless President does not have the power or ability even though apparently he is a dictatorial monarch.

Yep, that’s the answer but it ain’t, or is it. All I know is may the good Lord or something help us….