Topic of the day: President Obama's 'lawless' administration

Published: Monday, Oct. 5 2015 12:24 p.m. MDT

President Barack Obama pauses as he speaks at McGavock High School in this Thursday, Jan. 30, 2014 file photo, in Nashville, Tenn., about education.  (Associated Press) President Barack Obama pauses as he speaks at McGavock High School in this Thursday, Jan. 30, 2014 file photo, in Nashville, Tenn., about education. (Associated Press)

Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin blasted President Barack Obama this past Sunday over his accused executive overreach on George Stephanopoulos’ "This Week."

“It's not the number of executive orders, it's the scope of the executive orders. It's the fact that he is actually contradicting law, like in the health care case, or proposing new laws without going through congress, George, that's the issue,” Paul said. “We have an increasingly lawless presidency where he is actually doing the job of congress, writing new policies and new laws without going through congress. Presidents don't write laws, congress does.”

According to Breitbart’s Joel B. Pollak, there have been many presidents throughout history to use executive action, but Obama is in a league of his own that exceeds any of his predecessors.

Pollak argues, among other points, that Obama is invoking executive authority to “cover up his own errors” by altering his own legislation after it has already gone through Congress.

Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas recently penned an op-ed, "The Imperial Presidency of Barack Obama" in the Wall Street Journal. He wrote that the president’s persistence to choose unilateral action instead of preferring to work with Congress should concern all Americans.

Cruz cites Obama’s “willingness to disregard the written law and instead enforce his own policies via executive fiat” and said that there is nothing more dangerous than the “president's persistent pattern of lawlessness.”

Cruz also writes that the broader picture transcends party lines. “For all those who are silent now: What would they think of a Republican president who announced that he was going to ignore the law, or unilaterally change the law? Imagine a future president setting aside environmental laws, or tax laws, or labor laws, or tort laws with which he or she disagreed.”

Still, some are on the president’s side. Ruth Marcus writing for Real Clear Politics believes that these claims of unconstitutionality are unfounded. She writes that these assessments of his executive overreach are “overwrought” and “veering on the unhinged.”

Comparing Obama’s executive actions to previous presidents, she writes, “Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, notwithstanding the Constitution's recognition of slavery and his own concerns about the proclamation's susceptibility to legal challenge.”

However, the New Republic’s Noam Scheiber argues that Obama’s “go it alone” strategy is bad politics. Scheiber claims that the White House’s approach to pass laws unilaterally is the wrong approach for 2014 and Obama missed a big opportunity to actually get things done.

Obama chose the strong-arm approach rather than “forcing the goofy, self-defeating Republicans into the spotlight and making them answer for economic stagnation, Obama’s year of doing-things-all-by-my-lonesome has effectively let them off the hook. It makes no sense.”

Time will tell if Obama’s executive orders, that have given might to a constitutional push against him, will end up hurting democrats in the next election.

Erik Raymond is experienced in national and international politics. He relocated from the Middle East where he was working on his second novel. He produces content for DeseretNews.com. You can reach him at: eraymond@deseretdigital.com @RaymondErik

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