There is one good reason Republican lawmakers in Congress do not like it when President Obama uses his executive authority to get things done: It ruins their effort to make him a failure.
In President Obama’s State of the Union speech, the president made it clear that he would do what he could to move the country forward, with or without Republican cooperation.
“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,” the president said at one point in his speech.
The nation has stood by and watched as Republicans lawmakers have blocked every effort put forward from Democrats that the president supports, and Obama has decided he is not just going to stand by helplessly as the same kind of blockade continues through the rest of his presidency.
It was Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell who revealed the true heart of the GOP when he said, “Our top priority over the next two years should be to deny President Obama a second term.” Though Republicans failed to do that, it is still their desire to make him a failure, or at least look like one. This is why Republicans in Congress have stymied everything Obama has wanted, from immigration reform to gun control and an increase in the minimum wage.
All the while, Republicans have stood in his way; they have consistently pointed out to the American public just how much a failure he has been, without taking any blame for his lack of success. It is as though they are saying, without saying it; this president has not been able to get past the many barricades we have put up to stop him and so he is a failure.
Now those same Republicans are criticizing the president for his insistence to go it alone, if they are to continue their efforts to block him. It is though President Obama is doing something unprecedented by issuing executive orders to get things done, which is far from the truth. Obama has issued 168 executive orders in 5 years, compared to 381 by Ronald Reagan, 291 by George W. Bush and 364 by Bill Clinton.
Presidential executive actions are much more limited than legislative action by Congress and signed into law by the president but it is far better than doing nothing at all. The president has promised to raise the minimum wage of employees of federal subcontractors and to create a retirement savings plan for workers whose jobs do not provide a 401k for their employees, which will help but all minimum wage workers need a raise.
Republicans have called Obama an imperial president, which is something Democrats called George W. Bush, but in my opinion, George deserved it more, with his “I’m the decider” attitude. President Obama simply wants to do his job and do it well, and leaves a legacy that shows that success. This is something that any U.S. president wants – nothing more and nothing less.
Republican lawmakers seem to want to wipe off the books any success this president might have had and stop him from any success he might still have, even if it means harming the nation in that effort. They have failed tremendously in my opinion. The Affordable Care Act being the main success of Obama, I believe will eventually succeed and change entirely the health care system in this country for the best. Americans will eventually and gradually see that and remember President Barack Obama for that.
In addition, Americans will remember the Iraq war, the Great Recession and the failure of the Bush administration’s hand in both. The Obama administration in turn will be remembered for ending that war and bringing us back from the brink of disaster from the Great Recession. It is easy to remember what Republicans were saying back then, when Obama signed a stimulus package to help ordinary Americans keep their homes and put more money into our pockets with long-term employment insurance and more money in our paychecks. Republicans predicted dire consequences and even a worse disaster than the Great Recession brought to us by a Republican president.
President Obama rose to tackle the problems of that day with all the wisdom and fortitude within him, all the while taking heavy criticism from the GOP. Under his watch, the nation recovered, the unemployment numbers went down, the auto industry recovered because he took action and the housing industry returned, all because he and his administration stood tall against the winds of opposition coming from Republican naysayers.
Now, here we are, going into his sixth year, facing the same opposition and the same type of criticism from a political party that has done nothing but stand in the way, trying to block him at every turn. So let them show outrage that he dare step over their barricades of non-action and act like a true president, moving forward to help a nation in crisis to bring equality to us all. He deserves better from a do-nothing congress than that, as do the American people.