This post isn’t about my politics, mind you, but I do want to get my biases out front–I’m worse than a Liberal, I’m a Rational. The closest analog I’ve been able to find is Teddy Roosevelt’s Bull Moose Party, but that’s hardly a good fit. You haven’t heard of us yet, much, but you will. We are legion–and I’ll tell you all about it in another post.
That said, this started out as our third edition of Dumb Ass of The Week, but the more I wrote the more I realized that in order to accommodate Mr. Weepy Tanning Bed himself, Speaker of the House John Boehner, we would have to stretch the meaning of the term “Dumb Ass” to include “Ass Hats” and “Assholes.” Then there would be the inevitable outcry from the “Ass Clowns,” demanding inclusion, but we have to draw a line somewhere. So, as Boehner is clearly more of the “Ass Hat” variety, we’re giving the award to a more bizarrely cracked sumbitch, and that’s okay. He’ll understand.
It’s important to note that Mr. Boehner wouldn’t have earned this award by himself, and should share it with the cabal of hardline Randian teabaggers and Fox news paint huffers who now drive the Republican Party, as well as those weak-spined opportunists who capitulate to the extremists and abandon their moral and intellectual capacities in order to court the teabag vote.
The thing is, Boehner knows better. He’s smart, and he used to be an effect legislator, but no longer. He fears the powerful extremist right and covets their contributions to his war chest. What got him on the list is the absurdly wasteful and divisive lawsuit that the Speaker has begun, cagily timed to provide angry talking points for conservative candidates in the upcoming elections. How much money will be spent, how much time? What will the cost be of one more political stunt aimed to widen the rift between the two major, useless parties?
But what about these horrible EXECUTIVE ORDERS? (That’s a link with some fascinating info regarding them–check it out in another tab.) You’ll learn more than this:
A presidential policy directive that implements or interprets a federal statute, a constitutional provision, or a treaty.
The president’s power to issue executive orders comes from Congress and the U.S. Constitution. Executive orders differ from presidential proclamations, which are used largely for ceremonial and honorary purposes, such as declaring National Newspaper Carrier Appreciation Day.
Executive orders do not require congressional approval. Thus, the president can use them to set policy while avoiding public debate and opposition. Presidents have used executive orders to direct a range of activities, including establishing migratory bird refuges; putting Japanese-Americans in internment camps during World War II; discharging civilian government employees who had been disloyal, following World War II; enlarging national forests; prohibiting racial discrimination in housing; pardoning Vietnam War draft evaders; giving federal workers the right to bargain collectively; keeping the federal workplace drug free; and sending U.S. troops to Bosnia.
That’s the gist of it. Executive Orders were included as part of the original establishment of our government, and the first President to issue one of these orders was George Washington himself. In the intervening years they have been used by every President, including President Barack Obama’s predecessor, President George W. Bush. And how many of these evil, supposedly illegal manuevers did Bush perpetrate? One? Two? Ten? Twenty?
Ha. In his first term, Dubya Bush signed 173 executive orders, compared to Obama’s 143. In Bush’s second term, he was less aggressive, signing a mere 118 orders, while Obama is (through July 20) clocking in at a modest 36.
My point is not that Bush’s actions were even more egregious than Obama’s, but that this is how it works. Presidents do this all the time–always have–and in while those numbers seem high, Obama and Bush both clock in as relatively restrained practitioners of the Executive Order. Crazed liberals like Richard Nixon and Dwight Eisenhower averaged considerably more Executive Orders, and let’s not even talk about Truman and Roosevelt. Ronald Reagan pulled the trigger 381 times over two years, and milquetoast Gerald Ford managed an astound 176 in little more than a year in office. The scoundrel.
Let’s see the lawsuit expanded to throw Bush in there as a co-defendent. Or Reagan’s gristly corpse.
What lets me feel good about trashing Boehner is that he knows this. He has to. I managed to educate myself on this subject in about 40 minutes, counting the time it took to go grab a glass of water and a handfull of Fritos. I’m wagering that the Speaker of The United States House of Representatives might know a little more than I do about how the law works, of course maybe he doesn’t.
The thing is: he doesn’t care. Every Republican looking at an election this fall will face a plethora of rheumy-eyed mouth-breathing self-educated constitutional experts who demand to know what those candidates are doing about impeaching “Barack Hussein Obama,” as they love to say. Forget that most of them don’t actually understand what the word “impeachment” means, let alone the process behind it–they want action. With this lawsuit, the candidates will be able to say, “Look Mr. Cletus, we’re suing the closet Kenyan-In-Chief” and then they’ll all be friends. Secondly, as less imperatively, the republicans are using this bull to raise funds–“help us win!” Of course, the Democrats are pulling in just as much scratch–millions and millions. What sucks about this is that millions and millions of dollars of government money will be spent prosecuting this case–and that’s the real kicker.
*As an afterthought, each time I mention Boehner’s name I’m compelled to point out that every spell-checking software I use, on every device, begs me to correct his name to “Boner.” Could be the machine revolution won’t be as bad as Terminator and The Matrix led us to expect.