As far as I can tell, Sen. Ted Cruz was the first to make the persuasive case that Barack Obama is conducting himself like an “imperial president.”
On Feb. 16, I wrote a column on “Obama’s imperial presidency,” and the term caught fire – as it should.
- The headline writers at Commentary Magazine used the apt characterization over a Jonathan Tobin piece Feb. 20.
- The same day, headline writers at FoxNews.com used the phrase on a column by Andrew Napolitano.
- The same day, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor used the term to describe the Obama administration.
- Two days earlier, headline writers at Townhall.com used it.
- On Feb. 19, Jonah Goldberg made the case that Obama’s was not only the latest “imperial presidency,” it was also the latest “shrinking” presidency.
- On Feb. 18, Rep. Darrell Issa used the term with great precision and persuasiveness.
Even former Democratic Rep. Lee Hamilton wrote an op-ed warning of Obama’s abuse of the separation of powers.
Why is the term resonating and reverberating through the media?
Because the phrase just fits so perfectly.
Not since the administration of Richard Nixon has “the imperial presidency” seemed so apropos.
What are the characterization of a presidency that has gone imperially rogue?
It’s lawlessness – when a president does whatever he wants without regard to what the law specifically says and how it specifically restricts his actions. That’s where we are with the state of Obama’s presidency. It’s simply not accountable to the Constitution or even to the laws of the land he himself has signed – like Obamacare, which he has amended by fiat several times.
It’s a willingness to misuse executive orders, which are limited to the administration of the executive branch, but which Obama recently employed to raise the minimum wage paid by federal contracts throughout all of government. The White House promised to use executive orders more in an effort to bypass Congress, taking on legislative power in the executive branch of government – something strictly forbidden by the Constitution.
It’s demonstrated in Obama’s willingness – even eagerness – to not enforce laws the president is required by law to enforce. When he doesn’t like laws his predecessor signed, he stops enforcing them – like immigration laws, drug laws and the Defense of Marriage Act, for instance.
No one seems to know what to do when the president acts like a king.
Has it happened before in American history?
Sure, Franklin Roosevelt came pretty close. With Nixon it was more a matter of style than substance. Bill Clinton had his moments, and his top aides certainly flirted with “the stroke of the pen, law of the land” mentality with regard to executive orders.
But, in reality, the Obama administration has taken the abuses of the past to a whole new level – even causing concern among members of his own party, some of whom recognize how such precedents can come around to hurt you like a double-edged sword.
By the way, all of this talk about “the imperial presidency” took place before the nation learned about the shocking plan to send Federal Communications Commission contractors into the nation’s newsrooms for “research” that smacked of the kind of intimidation of the nation’s press forbidden by the First Amendment.
Is there a better term than “the imperial presidency”?
Is it more than hyperbolic as it often has been in the past?
What recourse do law-abiding people have when the president becomes the nation’s chief lawbreaker?
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