Obama the Philosopher King; the O Force Uses Executive Power to Get around That Pesky Congress

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), February 22, 2010 | Go to article overview

Obama the Philosopher King; the O Force Uses Executive Power to Get around That Pesky Congress


Byline: THE WASHINGTON TIMES

President Obama is readying to unleash a variety of executive powers to circumvent Congress and push his agenda. White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel said that a review of mechanisms was under way to get the job done across a front of issues. The president claims he has to resort to extraordinary methods because of partisan gridlock, but he has learned the wrong lessons from his failed freshman year in office. Mr. Obama's initiatives haven't stalled because of partisanship but because they are transparently bad for America.

It's odd that the president and his apologists blame partisanship for his legislative problems. Mr. Obama came into office with a filibuster-proof Democratic Senate majority, the largest since the Jimmy Carter era, and the most Democratic House members since the early 1990s. Those comfortable majorities should have meant smooth sailing for Mr. Obama's legislative agenda, and some of his early initiatives, such as the so-called stimulus package, passed fairly easily. Republicans were shunted aside unceremoniously and could not stop the liberal juggernaut.

The reason Mr. Obama began to run into problems had less to do with partisanship than with public opposition to his ideological agenda.

When the ambiguous hope and change theme was replaced with a series of hard-left policies, America balked. A Feb. 8 Gallup survey shows that Mr. Obama suffered 60 percent or worse disapproval ratings on his economic policies, health care proposals and budget deficit management. Resistance in Congress reflects the mood of the electorate, and the critical push-back comes from within the Democratic Party. Previously safe congressional seats are suddenly in play, and many members of Congress wonder if they will soon be joining the swelling ranks of the unemployed.

A prudent president would understand that his policies are the problem and move to the center to give moderates in his party room to breathe. Instead, Mr. Obama is seeking ways to advance his agenda by circumventing Congress, even though Democrats will bear the brunt of the blame in November. …

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