Matthew Sanders: Rising executive power backs Congress into corners

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  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    Feb. 24, 2014 9:45 a.m.

    Salt Lake City, UT
    The oath to uphold and defend the Constitution of the US that the president swears to does not mean circumventing the elected congress. He is taking a page from Vladimir Putin and the late Hugo Chavez' play book.

    10:22 p.m. Feb. 21, 2014


    I'm a Veteran.
    I sworn to defend the U.S. Constitution.

    That's what makes me a Liberal.

    Vladimir Putin and the late Hugo Chavez -- sheez...pathetic.

  • Mark B Eureka, CA
    Feb. 22, 2014 7:42 p.m.

    At the risk of pointing out what the "other guys" did, it must be much easier than I thought to forget terms like "signing statement", the constitutionality of which has never been established, or "unitary executive, which is GOP for "our guy can do anything he wants when he says it's connected to national security". In fact, it should be Dick Cheney's picture accompanying the article, not Obama, who tried in vain to get a half ounce of cooperation from the other side and still gets daily accusations for his trouble.

  • Badgerbadger Murray, UT
    Feb. 21, 2014 10:23 p.m.

    Congress should move slowly and carefully, as it always has.

    It is the people that have changed, after becoming accustomed to instant gratification, first through the sexual revolution, and later through high speed technology.

    Debate and consideration of all the consequences of any government action is needed. When you hurry and pass something without even knowing what is in it, let alone considering all the long term effects, the program is apt to cause much harm.

    Consider bloodletting; doing nothing is often better than doing the wrong thing.

  • 4601 Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 21, 2014 10:22 p.m.

    The oath to uphold and defend the Constitution of the US that the president swears to does not mean circumventing the elected congress. He is taking a page from Vladimir Putin and the late Hugo Chavez' play book.

  • one vote Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 21, 2014 9:18 p.m.

    The tea party cornered themselves with help of Senator Lee.

  • cachedout Centerville, UT
    Feb. 21, 2014 7:58 p.m.

    The blame is squarely on the shoulders of the Congress themselves. Founders never, in their wildest dreams, believed that a group of men and women could be so corrupt, inept and so willing to work against the interests of the country in a quest for personal gain. Congress has plenty of power but almost no will or ability to wield it for the good of the people.

  • Jack Aurora, CO
    Feb. 21, 2014 6:08 p.m.

    As I recall, this isn't the only warning of this happening. A few years back, during another President's term, this was brought up. It seems that our Congress has a history of sitting back and allowing the President to do what they should be doing, and by lack of action, allowing that President more and more power. It's time for Congress to rein in the Executive and start behaving like the separation of powers actually means something.

  • Mikhail ALPINE, UT
    Feb. 21, 2014 4:12 p.m.

    This is a well-written and reasoned article. I didn't detect partisanship in the article. It appears to be quite factual - evening acknowledging that the number of executive orders is comparable to other sitting presidents. The system is no longer functioning as intended. Power is becoming more centralized. The press - whose freedom is insisted upon - no longer is objective in its reporting but has policies and objectives to pursue. The educational system looks the other way - worried more about the emotional "well being" of the student than teaching the lessons of civics, geography, history, language and mathematics. Where to start to make the change to these troubles? Let's try it at home...

  • E Sam Provo, UT
    Feb. 21, 2014 4:11 p.m.

    Mr. Sanders talks eloquently of his experiences working with Macedonia, trying to recover from Yugoslavian socialism. I quite agree that the communist experiment failed. But what does seem to work is the combination state, half market economies and half socialism. Works just fine; see Europe, all of.

    Feb. 21, 2014 12:27 p.m.

    Actually, it's the propensity of Congress to sit on its collective hands and do nothing (there's ALWAYS an election coming up) that has rendered Congress irrelevant.

  • JoeBlow Far East USA, SC
    Feb. 21, 2014 12:03 p.m.

    "It's not the number of executive orders, it's the nature of them."

    If Obama's executive order count far exceeded past GOP presidents, it would certainly be about the number of executive orders.

    So predictable.

  • Richie Saint George, UT
    Feb. 21, 2014 11:02 a.m.

    Obama is nothing more then a weak socialist puppet who spends most of his time playing golf and ignoring the Constitution. He is assisted by an inept Congress and Courts. We the people let it happen so ultimately its our fault.

  • Irony Guy Bountiful, Utah
    Feb. 21, 2014 10:43 a.m.

    Congress is not the "scapegoat" for inaction, it's the source of inaction. The President is acting entirely within the law. He was elected by the people of the USA to promote a certain agenda, and he is doing what he can to make that agenda happen. If Congress wishes to, it can advance its own agenda. But it obviously does not wish to.

  • Kirk R Graves West Jordan, UT
    Feb. 21, 2014 9:39 a.m.

    As I read the comments from the more left leaning folks here, what I see are 2 arguments.
    Argument 1: Your guys did it, so our guy can do it too.

    Argument 2: Its the republicans fault that Obama has to ignore the Constitution. If they would just do what he wants them to he wouldn't have to take matters into his own hands.

    Pretty weak arguments for the disintegration of separation of powers.

  • JoeBlow Far East USA, SC
    Feb. 21, 2014 9:01 a.m.

    "Its always better to do nothing than to always do the wrong things, like Obamacare!"

    Ok, I can agree that Obamacare stinks. But, ANY reasonable look at the deficit going forward has to understand that Medicare and Medicaid are the really killers.

    So, that leaves us 4 choices. Do Nothing is not a viable option

    Cut benefits
    Increase taxes
    Cut costs

    I cannot see another option. Anyone have something else to throw in the mix?

    Considering that the costs have been rising at such a fast rate, it seems obvious that that is the first place to look.

    So, to date, I have seen one GOP proposal (other than to kill Obamacare)

    And the proposal would never pass the GOP controlled house.

    Dont you think that the country would be much more open to killing Obamacare if there was a better proposal out there?

    I do not understand why conservatives are not LIVID with their party for not coming up with a better solution. One that is written as proposed legislation.

    Mtnman. What do you propose?

  • LittleStream Carson City, NV
    Feb. 21, 2014 8:47 a.m.

    Matthew, you must be a Republican. I would have liked to seen what this article would have said in 2007. It is far part the time that we stop being Republican vs Democrat; it is far past the time that we stop being conservative vs liberal; it is far past the time that we hate a President for being black, yet he was elected twice. We need to come together as a nation. We need to take care of our nation before trying to buy friends with billions of dollars of foreign aid. We need to stop the massive amount of money that is flowing to the wealthy and out of our economy from tax breaks and corporate subsidies. The only reason Social Security is a drain on this country is that government borrowed from it so heavily that it now has to pay its bill.

  • Mountanman Hayden, ID
    Feb. 21, 2014 8:45 a.m.

    Its always better to do nothing than to always do the wrong things, like Obamacare!

  • FT salt lake city, UT
    Feb. 21, 2014 8:35 a.m.

    BO's actions have been very typical to the Presidents that have come before him. And, contrary to what some other posters have stated here, nothing that he has done comes close to "impeachable actions". Conservatives biggest complaints are that it's him doing it and not a Republican. Currently, the Republican party is broken. They can't find common ground within thier own party on a lot of the challenges of our day. BO is an activist President so he's adopted the strategy to push the envelope and do what he can to keep things moving. History is going to be very favorable of BO because much of what he's done saved our country and the world from economic collapse.

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    Feb. 21, 2014 8:33 a.m.

    They might as well back into the corners. They weren't doing anything else, anyway.

  • Happy Valley Heretic Orem, UT
    Feb. 21, 2014 8:34 a.m.

    Perhaps if congress was not the least affective congress "EVER" than they wouldn't be necessary.
    When the other side announces it's intention to make him a one term president (they failed there too)
    it sets the stage for childish behavior from that party for Obama's entire presidency as they try and thwart
    his ability to govern and the country's ability to function.

    The Republican/Conservative/Teaparty Party has painted it's way into it's own corner.

  • Nate Pleasant Grove, UT
    Feb. 21, 2014 8:27 a.m.

    No one stands above the law, not even the president. Congress has a couple of ways to check his power: control of the purse-strings, and impeachment. They should actively de-fund unlawful elements at the IRS, the EPA, the DoJ, HHS, and wherever else the administration steps out of bounds; and they should prepare the ground for impeachment, in case it becomes necessary. It is the president's constitutional duty to take care that the laws be faithfully executed. If he refuses to follow the law, it is the duty of Congress to remove him from office.

  • Esquire Springville, UT
    Feb. 21, 2014 8:20 a.m.

    This is nothing but partisan talk. A longer term, more objective view would be more useful. Having been involved first hand in this issue, the Republican establishment believes in a stronger executive. This, for them, is a philosophical stance that transcends party politics. There are lots of reasons for this. It's not a knock on the GOP, just stateming the lay of the land. The only reason that Republicans, like the author of this piece, are complaining is because it is President Obama (who has not issued executive orders at a level on par with other presidents - it's substantially less. I would expect better scholarship from Harvard). The other thing to note is that Executive Orders are not only normal, they are necessary for the executive branch to carry out the will of the legislative branch as represented by passed and signed legislation. They are all based on established law and instructions from Congress. If you don't think so, birng a lawsuit and let the courts adjudicate the matter. But complaining partisans haven't done that because they know they are wrong. This piece is really nothing more, to quote Sarah Palin, "lipstick on a pig."

  • JoeBlow Far East USA, SC
    Feb. 21, 2014 8:17 a.m.

    "I can think of nothing that a recent Congress has done that matches this direct combat with the president."

    We should all be beating up on the President AND the congress. We sent them there to act in good faith to do what is best for the country.

    Obamas willingness to bypass congress to further his wishes is just as egregious as congress obstructing everything and everything for purely partisan reasons.

  • Mountanman Hayden, ID
    Feb. 21, 2014 8:03 a.m.

    Obama has made congress irrelevant. Same thing happened in Nazi Germany while the people applauded!

  • SCfan clearfield, UT
    Feb. 21, 2014 7:52 a.m.

    It's not the number of executive orders, it's the nature of them. When the President swears into office to uphold the Constitution and then ignores laws passed, that in and of itself should be grounds for action from the other two co-equal branches of government. The Supreme Court seems to be unable to do anything unless a case with standing is brought before it. The Congress would need to bring that case, but many in Congress are remiss to do anything because they are putting their guy ahead of principle. When Nixon was in trouble, it was Republican Senators who whet to the White House and told him that he should resign. However, I'll bet there is not one Democrat that would have the character to defend the Constitution first before the party. And it is pretty shortsighted for them to allow this, as it will set the precedent for a future Republican President to do the same. Very shortsighted.

  • Roland Kayser Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Feb. 21, 2014 7:44 a.m.

    According to the piece, federal spending right now is 21% of GDP. Under Reagan it averaged 22%. Did this paper express outrage back then?

    The article accuses the president of failure to enforce certain laws. Reagan and subsequent Republican presidents all refused to enforce the Sherman Anti-trust act, leading to the destruction of local businesses across this country. I still don't remember any outrage about that.

    Business has been routinely ignoring labor law without facing any consequences for at least three decades now, but there is no lamenting of that fact by this paper.

    We're all guilty of criticizing the other guy and giving our own guy a pass. But when the editorial section of a newspaper does it routinely, you lose all credibility.

  • gmlewis Houston, TX
    Feb. 21, 2014 7:41 a.m.

    The difference between Pres. Obama's executive actions and those of other recent presidents is that his employed the following:

    1) Enacted provisions of laws that Congress refused to pass, such as the Dream Act, gay marriage, and increasing the minimum wage.
    2) Eliminated provisions of laws that Congress recently passed, such as the ACA.

    I can think of nothing that a recent president has done that matches this direct combat with official Congressional decisions.

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    Feb. 21, 2014 4:20 a.m.

    Excellent points.

    If Americans cared as much for freedom as they care for cell-phones, they wouldn't allow the President to do what he is doing. They would use those cell-phone and talk to each other about his abuse of power. They would actually read what the Consitution says about the limits placed on each branch of government. They would rein in their Congress and they would require that Congress use its power of impeachment to rein in the President, not as a threat, but as a solumn duty.

    This nation cannot continue to exist when it ignores the foundation document that is the supreme law of the land. The checks and balances built into that Supreme Law keeps everything in balance and it severely limits the authority of the Federal Government to perform only those few duties that are truly beyond the scope and power of the States.

    Ignorance of the Constitution and deriliction of duty, as citizens, upon whose shoulders the responsibility of government actually rests, has fathered this crisis. It will only be solved when citizens insist that the law be followed.