Back to the Imperial Presidency

by Pejman Yousefzadeh on January 5, 2011

And remember, many of the same people who decried the supposed increase in Presidential power during the Bush Administration won’t utter a peep in protest about this:

President Obama challenged congressional Republicans to embrace the “shared responsibility” of governance even as the White House appears ready to use unilateral executive powers to battle Capitol Hill. With Republicans taking over the House and increasing their number in the Senate, Obama faces the possibility of having his agenda stalled with limited room to maneuver — making for tough sledding in the two years leading up to his 2012 re-election bid.

In response, Obama is expected to make more frequent use of executive orders, vetoes, signing statements and policy initiatives that originate within the federal agencies to maneuver around congressional Republicans who are threatening to derail initiatives he has already put in place, including health care reforms, and to launch serial investigations into his administration’s spending.

[. . .]

Obama said during his 2008 campaign that he wouldn’t use signing statements, codicils presidents can attach to bills challenging or refusing to enforce parts of a law, the way his predecessor, President George W. Bush, did. But since taking office, Obama issued signing statements on budgetary matters, foreign aid, commission appointments and more — along with a memorandum promising to use “restraint” whenever exercising that power.

Of course, I don’t think that there is anything wrong with the President exercising his authority in this manner. But then, I am determined not to be a hypocrite on the issue. Others, apparently, have no such compunctions.

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