In an important new article for Newsweek, “President Obama’s Executive Power Grab,” Andrew Romano and Daniel Klaidman note that Obama has “expand[ed] his domestic authority in ways that his predecessor never did.” Frustrated by congressional resistance to his agenda, he’s pursued “government by waiver,” reshaping welfare, education and immigration law via royal dispensations and decrees.
“Obama is drafting a playbook for future presidents to deploy in response: How to Get What You Want Even If Congress Won’t Give It to You,” Romano and Klaidman write. The result is an “extraconstitutional arms race of sorts: a new normal that habitually circumvents the legislative process envisioned by the Framers.”
… Presidential messianism infects the Romney camp, as well. On the stump and in his campaign ads, Gov. Romney insists that this is “an election to save the soul of America.” In a recent speech at the Virginia Military Institute, he made clear that his ambitions went well beyond preserving the Constitution and faithfully executing the laws: “It is the responsibility of our president to use America’s great power to shape history,” he told the cadets.
In Romney’s answers to an executive-power questionnaire late last year, he suggested that the president has great power indeed: He could launch a war without Congress, order the assassination of American citizens via drone-strike and use the U.S. military to arrest American citizens on American soil. …
“I’ve abandoned free market principles to save the free market system,” President George W. Bush famously proclaimed in December 2008. By so doing, he made sure that President Obama would inherit staggering new powers over the U.S. economy, effectively becoming commander in chief of the American auto industry, and much else besides.
Obama’s successor — whether eventual or immediate — will inherit an expanded National Surveillance State and a presidential “kill list” that includes American citizens.
… [T]he powers we’ve ceded to the office [of the president] will remain [after Obama] — a loaded weapon for future presidents to wield.
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