I am indebted to blogger Pied Type for bringing to our attention a NYTimes article about how president Obama has increased the use of executive power in the last two years. It’s a good article. It covers the history of the controversy well and I have to note how the author ends: “This is what presidents do.” I also would highlight this:
For their part, Republicans appear to have largely acquiesced. Mr. Grassley said in an interview that his colleagues were reluctant to block even more bills and nominations in response to Mr. Obama’s “chutzpah,” lest they play into his effort to portray them as making Congress dysfunctional.
I think this simply reflects reality in a nuclear-armed and politically-chaotic world. Congress is one huge bureaucratic committee of 535 members, each of whom has his/her own parochial agenda. Lacking a common threat now, like for example Adolph Hitler or the Soviet Union, I don’t think we should be surprised to find them acting like a colony of rabbits and about as easy to herd. Another symptom of this is the peculiar fact, given the founders’ intention, that since WW II America has fought at least four wars without the required Congressional declaration of war.
For better or for worse, this is the way it’s working now. To get much of anything done, the executive branch has to do it. But underlying the whole issue is the very nature of what “it” is that we expect from government. How will the body politic react to the president’s take on that role? That question will be answered next November. If the voters feel over-controlled and resentful, as some seem now to do regarding the Affordable Care Act, then the Tea Party just might get their chance to show us what life is like in the new Wild West.