The Republican Party has a new line of attack on President Obama: he’s a dictator who can’t get his way lawfully through Congress, so he’s being a dictator and using executive orders.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.), like Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) would like to be president, so he has to keep up appearances by getting all worked up about this:
GOP or Dem — you should be concerned by unchecked power in the presidency b/c it's fundamentally a threat to liberty https://t.co/JHl9mjDaKu— Senator Ted Cruz (@SenTedCruz) January 29, 2014
And here's the real doozy, from Rep. Randy Weber (R-Tex.):
On floor of house waitin on "Kommandant-In-Chef"... the Socialistic dictator who's been feeding US a line or is it "A-Lying?"— Randy Weber (@TXRandy14) January 29, 2014
Strong words! It sounds like President Obama doesn’t give a damn about checks and balances. In fact, since he became President in 2009, Obama has signed 176 executive orders.
176…is that a lot?
Executive orders signed by the last ten presidents:
Barack Obama: 176
George W. Bush: 291
Bill Clinton: 364
George Bush: 166
Ronald Reagan: 381
Jimmy Carter: 320
Gerald Ford: 169
Richard Nixon: 346
Lyndon B. Johnson: 325
John F. Kennedy: 214
So, of the last ten presidents, Obama has only signed more executive orders than the first George Bush and Gerald Ford. Bush only had one term, and Ford only had two and a half years. Obama, so far, has signed executive orders at a lower rate than any president since Grover Cleveland.
If Republicans think that executive orders are unconstitutional, maybe they should have brought that up at some point in the last hundred years.
So Obama is not being any kind of dictator, and given how obstructionist his Congress has been, he’s actually been remarkably restrained.
Here’s a translation of what Republicans mean when they say Obama is a dictator for talking about executive orders: “We can use this to rile up our base, who doesn’t know or doesn’t care that what we are talking about is nonsense.”