In light of President Obama’s repeated assertions made in recent weeks that he will ignore Congress and pursue his agenda via executive orders, this clip of candidate Obama from 2008 is all the more prescient.
During a 2008 town hall meeting in Pennsylvania, Obama stated the following;
“You know I taught constitutional law for 10 years, I take the Constitution very seriously. The biggest problems that we’re facing right now had to do with George Bush trying to bring more and more power into the executive branch and not go through Congress at all, and that’s what I intend to reverse when I’m president of the United States of America.”
Compare that to statements made by Obama over the course of the last few weeks.
During his state of the union address, Obama said that he would act “with or without Congress” to pursue his agenda, taking steps “without legislation,” via executive orders, to achieve this goal.
Two weeks before his SOTU speech, Obama arrogantly remarked that he would use “a pen and a phone” to bypass the legislative branch.
However, Obama’s obvious distaste for the constitutional process is by no means just a recent phenomenon. After being on the receiving end of criticism for attacking Libya without Congressional authorization in 2011, Obama churlishly snapped, “I don’t even have to get to the Constitutional question.”
Former Congressman Ron Paul reacted to Obama’s intention to exert executive privilege by warning that it heralded, “a milestone in presidential usurpation of Congressional authority.”
“Sadly, his pledge to use his pen to implement laws and polices without the consent of Congress not only received thunderous applause from representatives of the president’s party, some representatives have even pledged to help Obama get around Congress by providing him with ideas for executive orders. The Constitution’s authors would be horrified to see legislators actively adding and abetting a president taking power away from the legislature,” wrote Paul.