Obama is an imperial president! He's bypassing the will of the people! Those are the talking points GOP pundits are spinning about Obama's 2014 State of the Union address, after the President committed to executive action on a range of priorities, like minimum wage and environmental protection. Take one look at Tuesday's headline story on Fox News:
Then there's the homepage of the Drudge Report, with an ominous graphic of Obama's pen with "year of action" inscribed below it.
The issue with knee-jerk reactions like these is that they're either totally disengenous or just simply detached from reality.
Executive orders are used by every president to run and manage the branch of government they control. Guess how many executive orders Ronald Reagan signed? On average, 48 a year. George W. Bush averaged 36 a year. President Barack Obama? He's averaging 37.
Not only is Obama doing exactly what other presidents always do, but he's using these "imperial" executive orders less often than five of the six Republican presidents before him.
Some on the right will claim that Obama's executive orders, while possibly few in number, are far reaching and imperial in their substance. But for anyone who says that, and also supported George W. Bush, well, they'd be a hypocrite. Let's not forget just a couple of the gems that George W. Bush issued with the stroke of his pen: allowing CIA interrogators to sidestep the Geneva Conventions on torture and protecting U.S. companies operating in Iraq from legal liability.
What does Obama want to do in comparison? He wants workers for federal contractors to be paid a living wage and the federal government to more aggressively enforce environmental protections. Oh, the horror.
In the conservative media's rush to hate, they seem to have sidestepped history and fact.