Thursday, February 18, 2010

why it's dangerous

The correct argument against the expansion of the executive branch under George W. Bush and Nixonite refugee Dick Cheney was not that they were inherently evil and doing irrevocable damage to the Constitution and the world (although they were); the deeper crisis was the precedent they set for those who came after.

I have no doubt that the 43rd President of the United States, what with his direct line to Jesus and all, truly believed that he was doing what was right for the nation, the world, and the Rapture. What worries me is the successor who has no interest in doing what's right, or God's will, but seeks only to line his pocket and smite his enemies. The last time we had a spiteful, mentally unbalanced President (see Nixon, Richard M.), things did not go well. And that was with a robust balance of powers in place -- a balance of power that Richard Cheney sought actively to undermine during his eight years in the Executive Office Building.

That is why it is so disheartening to see Obama make choices that are right for the short term, but are ruinous to the structure of our federal government. I'm not worried about you, Barack, I'm worried about the next guy (or gal!).
With much of his legislative agenda stalled in Congress, President Obama and his team are preparing an array of actions using his executive power to advance energy, environmental, fiscal and other domestic policy priorities.
“We are reviewing a list of presidential executive orders and directives to get the job done across a front of issues,” said Rahm Emanuel, the White House chief of staff.

Any president has vast authority to influence policy even without legislation, through executive orders, agency rule-making and administrative fiat. And Mr. Obama’s success this week in pressuring the Senate to confirm 27 nominations by threatening to use his recess appointment power demonstrated that executive authority can also be leveraged to force action by Congress.

Mr. Obama has already decided to create a bipartisan budget commission under his own authority after Congress refused to do so. His administration has signaled that it plans to use its discretion to soften enforcement of the ban on openly gay men and lesbians serving in the military, even as Congress considers repealing the law. And the Environmental Protection Agency is moving forward with possible regulations on heat-trapping gases blamed for climate change, while a bill to cap such emissions languishes in the Senate.
Yeah, liberals, I see you nodding your heads there. Remember signing statements? The establishment of Guantanamo? John Yoo?

What happens when Mitt Romney's hair falls out, Sarah Palin's teabaggers hijack the GOP Convention, and the Democrats crap the bed like they always do? Yeah, you know what happens: YOU BETCHA gets added to the pledge of allegiance, that's what.

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