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Executive Authority

"There's little Republicans were happy with in Tuesday's State of the Union, but they were especially upset with President Obama's promise to utilize executive orders, whenever possible. This, for instance, is how he plans to raise the minimum wage for federal contractors to $10.10, as well as how he plans to create a new kind of retirement savings account through the U.S. Treasury," states The Daily Beast 1/29/14. Yeah. Some on the right are so freaked out by Obama's threat to use the power of the presidency to get some stuff done, they've been calling him a "dictator", "tyrant", "king", etc. But did you know that all of our presidents, except William Henry Harrison, have used executive orders? According to The American Presidency Project's tally, Obama has used 168 executive orders. That is less than Ronald Reagan's 381, Bill Clinton's 364, George W. Bush's 291, John F. Kennedy's 214, Lyndon Johnson's 325, Richard Nixon's 346, Dwight D. Eisenhower's 484, Gerald Ford's 169, Jimmy Carter's 320, Ulysses S. Grant's 217, William McKinley's 185, William Howard Taft's 724, Woodrow Wilson's 1,803, Warren Harding's 522, Calvin Coolidge's 1,203, Herbert Hoover's 968, Harry S. Truman's 907, Theodore Roosevelt's 1,081, or Franklin D. Roosevelt's 3,522. (See www.presidency.ucsb.edu/data/orders.phb)

Greg Sargent's PLUM LINE Jan. 28 bog post argues "In using executive authority, Obama is on solid political ground" "Republicans are already denouncing the planned executive actions, arguing it will make compromise between the two parties harder. But again, Republicans have openly confirmed they deliberately denied support for Obama's agenda explicitly to make it harder for him to claim he's bridged the differences between parties. Seriously, Mitch McConnell has publicly admitted this."

A new NBC/WSJ poll finds that a majority of Americans (51%) believe Republicans will be "too inflexible". By contrast, only 39% say Obama has been too inflexible with Republicans.  

The GOP has earned its Party of No reputation. Why wouldn't the American people prefer action and forward progress to more GOP obstructionism? The 112th Congress was the least productive in history. We deserve better than a do-nothing Congress. Robert Draper's book reported the GOP's anti-Obama campaign started the night of Obama's inauguration. Heck, in 2010, Senate Leader Mitch McConnell conveyed that the top goal of the new Congress was for Pres. Obama to be a one-term president! Oh, THAT was their priority? Rep. Michelle Bachman, a Republican, said "We're hoping that Pres. Obama's policies don't succeed." Wow. And who can forget the awful, irresponsible, costly government shutdown to defund Obamacare that was pushed by Sen. Ted Cruz? In his State of the Union address, President Obama said "What I offer is a set of concrete, practical proposals to speed up growth, strengthen the middle class and build new ladders of opportunity into the middle class. Some require congressional action, and I'm eager to work with all of you. But America does not stand still, and neither will I. So wherever and whenever I can take steps without legislation to expand opportunity for more American families, that's what I'm going to do."

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