President Barack Obama loves to talk democracy and alleged belief that people should “have a say in how you are governed.” He pressed Egypt and the Muslim world in this vein in 2009 and spoke glowingly of it during the Clinton Global Initiative last year. Obama made a point to bring up democracy during his September speech at the UN, saying it made America what it was.
“I understand democracy is frustrating. Democracy in the United States is certainly imperfect. At times, it can even be dysfunctional. But democracy — the constant struggle to extend rights to more of our people, to give more people a voice — is what allowed us to become the most powerful nation in the world.”
Hillary Clinton has also proclaimed her support for democracy and making sure “everyone has a voice” when it comes to voting.
“We will make it easier for every American to vote, and we will fight back against the systematic and deliberate efforts to stop millions of citizens from participating in our democracy.”
Obama and Clinton’s actions are completely different from their word. Obama used the infamous “I’ve got a pen and I’ve got a phone” line to describe his distaste for listening to those who’ve been elected to serve alongside him. Especially if Congress didn’t do what he wanted them to do.
And I can use that pen to sign executive orders and take executive actions and administrative actions that move the ball forward…One of the things that I’m going to be talking to my Cabinet about is how do we use all the tools available to us, not just legislation, in order to advance a mission that I think unifies all Americans.”
Obama has used his pen and phone to do executive action after executive action, to get around those pesky Republicans who just muck things up. The same goes for Clinton, who has promised executive action on guns if Congress wouldn’t play along.
Tighten the gun show and Internet sales loophole if Congress won’t.
If Congress refuses to act, Clinton will take administrative action to require that any person attempting to sell a significant number of guns be deemed “in the business” of selling firearms. This would ensure that high-volume gun sellers are covered by the same common sense rules that apply to gun stores—including requiring background checks on gun sales.
This is something the left loves to do: promote democracy and getting people involved, then rule via mandate and diktat instead of listening to whoever elected them into office or to other branches of government. It’s something Matt Yglesias actually praised at Vox, when writing how executive action is the best way to promote leftist ideals.
Committed Democrats and liberal-leaning interest groups are facing a reality in which any policy gains they achieve are going to come through the profligate use of executive authority, and [ Hillary ]Clinton is almost uniquely suited to deliver the goods. More than almost anyone else around, she knows where the levers of power lie, and she is comfortable pulling them, procedural niceties be damned…
So in the final years of his presidency, Obama has reconciled himself to being a president who grinds out policy wins through executive action while facing constant lawsuits and controversy rather than the kind of president who secures huge bipartisan majorities and ushers in a broad era of good feelings.
“Procedural niceties”? That’s what following the Constitution means to the alleged thinkers on the left. They aren’t interested in playing by the rules, they’re interested in whoever is in the White House acting like an elected king or, worse, a dictator. The House and Senate are not just advisers on laws, they’re supposed to be the ones who draft them, then the president decides whether to enact them or not. Congress does have the power to override a president’s veto, but it’s not something which happens that often. But this isn’t just limited to Vox and their trove of writers. Harvard University Professor (and ex-Obama staffer) Cass Sunstein told the University of Chicago Legal Forum last year how a strong executive is a good thing (emphasis mine).
My principal proposal involves the importance and the value of grants of discretionary authority to the executive branch. I shall argue that amidst high levels of partyism, such grants can be highly desirable, at least if it is agreed that serious social problems need to be addressed. This conclusion has implications for judicial treatment of executive action, especially in areas of law in which the executive is interpreting vague or ambiguous statutory terms. Those who object to executive discretion, and to accompanying judicial doctrines, have things exactly backwards, at least under conditions of severe and persistent partyism.
This is so frustrating to see so-called “thinkers” deciding how important it is to give the executive free reign to act regardless of the checks and balances which are in the Constitution. The Anti-Federalists were worried about a strong federal government for a reason because they didn’t want to see too much power taken away from the states. The Anti-Federalist George Clinton (probably) wrote as Cato in New York Journal in 1787 about the dangers of an imperial president.
Every American whig, not long since, bore his emphatic testimony against a monarchical government, though limited, because of the dangerous inequality that it created among citizens as relative to their rights and property; and wherein does this president, invested with his powers and prerogatives, essentially differ from the king of Great-Britain (save as to name, the creation of nobility and some immaterial incidents…Will not the exercise of these powers therefore tend either to the establishment of a vile and arbitrary aristocracy, or monarchy? The safety of the people in a republic depends on the share or proportion they have in the government; but experience ought to teach you, that when a man is at the head of an elective government invested with great powers, and interested in his re-election, in what circle appointments will be made; by which means an imperfect aristocracy bordering on monarchy may be established.
Have we reached the point in history where what George Clinton warned about is now happening? If it’s not there yet, it’s certainly getting closer and closer. This is why the right needs to avoid the seduction of the strong executive and resist it at all costs. The left’s hypocrisy is evident. The right needs to learn from this and not let the next president (regardless of party) use supreme executive power or the pen and the phone to rule. It’s tempting to act like the left does, but this horrific strategy shouldn’t be implemented. If it is, it’s time to cancel the congressional elections and crown the next president king.