The Dictatorial President Has Been Hiding Behind Memos

Barack Obama has tried to avoid executive orders in order to obscure how much of a dictatorial President he is.

Back in July, when President Obama was giving a speech in Austin, Texas, he defended himself from the charge that he was a dictatorial president:

The truth is, even with all the actions I’ve taken this year, I’m issuing executive orders at the lowest rate in more than 100 years. So it’s not clear how it is that Republicans didn’t seem to mind when President Bush took more executive actions than I did.

With that in mind, here is a civics quiz that might make it more “clear” to everyone:

Which of these has the force of law:

  1. Presidential executive orders
  2. Presidential memoranda

(Hint: There is no wrong answer.)

That’s right, memorandums issued by the President have just as much the force of law as executive orders.

As USA Today explains:

Like executive orders, presidential memoranda don’t require action by Congress. They have the same force of law as executive orders and often have consequences just as far-reaching. And some of the most significant actions of the Obama presidency have come not by executive order but by presidential memoranda.

For example, Barack Obama recently banned oil companies from exploring Bristol Bay, Alaska, to find oil and gas. (Thankfully, this probably won’t matter until gas prices go up. I doubt oil companies want to invest much in oil exploration until their profit margins increase.)

Barack Obama has “used presidential memoranda to make policy on gun control, immigration and labor regulations.”

What makes all of this especially important to consider is that Obama’s defenders have been claiming that he cannot be a dictatorial president because he has issued fewer executive orders than many other Presidents. Correct, he has been using Presidential memoranda as a subterfuge.

[See also, “Is Obama Pulling an Amnesty Bait and Switch?]

As the USA Today story points out,

President Obama has issued a form of executive action known as the presidential memorandum more often than any other president in history — using it to take unilateral action even as he has signed fewer executive orders.

When these two forms of directives are taken together, Obama is on track to take more high-level executive actions than any president since Harry Truman battled the “Do Nothing Congress” almost seven decades ago, according to a USA TODAY review of presidential documents.

Here’s a graphic that puts Obama’s productiveness in historical White House perspective:

obama memos

And notice, that chart is comparing Barack Obama’s six years in office to George W. Bush’s eight.

USA Today quotes Harry Reid and Jay Carney both making the same argument that they tell us that Obama made in Austin last July: that the president has been restrained because he has used so few executive orders.

It is all a big fraud.