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What a hoot to see House Speaker John Boehner up on his hind legs recently, braying like a goofy mule and declaring that, by gollies, he is filing a lawsuit against President Obama for “aggressive unilateralism.” Or, was it unilateral aggressivism?
Whatever. Speaker Boehner says it’s an outrage – an outrage, I tell you – that a president would issue executive orders to take assorted actions without the approval of Congress – specifically, things that Boehner does not approve of. “Everywhere I go,” spaketh the Speaker, “I’m asked: When will the House stand up on behalf of the people to stop the encroachment of executive power under President Obama?”
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Really? Everywhere? That’s the question he gets? Maybe he needs to get around to more places. I think he’d find that most people are more concerned about the falling middle class, rising poverty, inequality, climate change, senseless wars, and even the failure of his own “leadership” to address these real-life issues. Nonetheless, Boehner is suing Obama for his “effort to erode the power of the legislative branch.”
But wait, let’s check the numbers. So far, Obama’s White house has issued 182 presidential orders. Yet, George W. Bush was far more outrageous, using this power 291 times. Did Boehner try to sue George W for aggressive unilateralism? No, no – he endorsed many of the Republican’s executive excesses, even writing to Bush in 2008 pleading with him to exercise that presidential power for a national emergency, namely exempting a steamboat in his state from safety regulations.
What about Reagan’s 381 executive orders, Nixon’s 346, Eisenhower’s 484, Hoover’s 968, and Teddy Roosevelt’s 1,081? I happen to oppose the use of these orders – but I also oppose using them to play crass partisan politics, as this goofy speaker is doing.
“Boehner’s Memo to Members on Obama Lawsuit (Complete Text),” www.rollcall.com, June 25, 2014.
“Boehner Will Sue Obama For Stuff He Thought Was Totally Fine Under George W. Bush,” www.thinkprogress.org, June 25, 2014.
“Executive Orders,” www.presidency.ucsb.edu, 2014.
“Letter from John Boehner requesting executive order for steamboat exemption,” www.johnboehner.house.gov, December 3, 2008.
“Federal Register: Executive Orders,” www.federalregister.gov, June 2014.