Should President Obama use Executive Actions to improve our Democracy?
In the struggle to implement many of his progressive plans for the betterment of the citizens of our Nation, President Obama has faced the most recalcitrant, stubborn and misguided opposition from the right wing of the Republican party.
At the very start of President Obama's first term, one Mitch McConnell actually put it into words with this statement "We plan to make this man a one term president." So this is how it has gone and gone and gone. If President Obama chooses, he has the "legal" authority to use "Executive Action" to advance his agenda. Of course, when he does, the Tea Party and fanatical right wing will scream that he is becoming a dictator. That of course is all smoke and mirrors. Ronnie Reagan was prolific in his use of executive action, and certainly not for the betterment of the middle class or progressive America.
Michael Waldman writes in the Daily Beast: Presidents have long acted within their authority, from Jefferson’s purchase of Louisiana without consulting Congress to Lincoln’s freeing the slaves by proclamation. With Congress paralyzed, President Obama has promised to use his “pen and phone” to overcome the ongoing dysfunction and get some work done.Using every tactic, from blocking the President's choices for judicial nominations to trying to repeal ACA, this Congress has acted with childish impunity to interfere with any attempts to put America back on track after eight disastrous years of Bush/Cheney. No progress toward reconciliation or negotiations has left the President with few tools to combat this "Party of NO".
What are the options?
Do we support our President in using "The Pen" to neuter this bunch of obstructionists? There are already rumblings of hate from the far right of secession, armed confrontation and other hateful demonstrations by the right wingnut fringe. Is it possible that this President, a Black man and a Democrat, doing what is a legal thing for any President, will tip this country into violent actions by some deluded anarchists. Very possible, remotely possible or they will crawl back under their rock to spew at a later date. I doubt that rush limbaw could actually stir up and muster a group of rag-tag gunslingers who would have the internal fortitude to engage in a real armed confrontation with this Nations strength.
In the confrontations with this divided dysfunctional congress the President can "take it to them" by using his legal constitutional powers. This can move them off dead center and announce to them "Either lead, follow or get the hell out of the way."
From the Brennan Center for Justice: Waldman and collaborators have lined out ways President Obama can advance the progressive agenda.
1.Commission a Justice Department report, The Constitution in 2025, modeled after The Constitution in the Year 2000.To some this may come across as too "draconian" but to Progressives it is a call to support a President who is fighting for Middle America.
2. Direct federal agencies to find ways to increase voter participation nationwide.
3. Direct federal agencies to accept designation as NVRA (National Voter Registration Act) agencies.
4. Enlist the private sector to assure free and fair elections.
5. Appoint Republicans and Democrats to the Election Assistance and Federal Election Commissions.
6. Sign an executive order requiring disclosure of political spending by entities awarded government contracts.
7. Request that the Securities and Exchange Commission issue regulations requiring disclosure of corporate political spending.
8. Request that the Federal Communications Commission require more thorough disclaimers of outside spending on political advertisements.
9. Create a Presidential Commission on Mass Incarceration, modeled after the “Kerner Commission.”
10. Issue an executive order directing federal agencies to recast their criminal justice grants in a Success-Oriented Funding model.
11. Direct the Justice Department to identify federal prisoners to whom the Fair Sentencing Act would retroactively apply, and recommend commutations for all those eligible, barring exceptional circumstances.
12. Issue an executive order to “ban the box” on federal agency job applications, except for law enforcement positions.
13. Direct the Attorney General to issue new guidance banning discriminatory law enforcement techniques.
14. Request that the Attorney General survey the use of “secret law” in the federal government and develop procedures to make the law public.
15. Issue an executive order applying key federal information-sharing restrictions to “suspicious activity reports” provided by state and local law enforcement.