Barack Obama Restrained? The President on Executive Action

In his own imagination Barack Obama restrained himself in the use of executive power. But he doesn’t want any future president to follow his example.

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As shocking as it sounded, no one should be surprised by what the President said. Compared to his own utopian imagination he has been restrained. Thus, the Hill reports,

President Obama said in an interview broadcast Sunday that he “bent over backwards” to give Congress leeway to pass immigration reform. 

On ABC’s “This Week,” Obama said he has issued fewer executive actions than most former presidents “by a longshot.” 

“If you ask historians, take a look at the track records of the modern presidency, I’ve actually been very restrained. And I’ve been very restrained with respect to immigration. I bent over backwards and will continue to do everything I can to get Congress to work,” Obama said.

But if Barack Obama has been so restrained, then why doesn’t he want future presidents to follow his precedent and issue their own executive orders. Consider this enlightening question and answer:

This is the man who selected Tim Geithner, tax cheat, as the Secretary of the Treasury.

But to recap, Barack Obama’s answer to the question is “Absolutely not.” If a future president thinks the tax rate should be a flat ten percent, and Congress refuses to change the law, then he is stuck. Issuing an executive order that no one will be prosecuted for underpaying their taxes, as long as they pay a ten percent rate, would be illegitimate.  Immigration reform can be addressed through executive action, but not tax reform.

[See also, “Barack Obama and the Bible on Immigration.”]

So the President is restrained but he expects future presidents to be more restrained than he is.

Can Barack Obama not see that this makes no sense outside his own head? He is basically telling us that he has special powers that other presidents can never have.