Way, way back in the beforetimes, when Bush was the President, liberal groups like the Center For American Progress (CFAP) were wailing and gnashing their teeth over the rise of a neo-American dictatorship because President Bush used his executive powers to fight terrorism. CFAP referred to this as "abuses of power based on the sham "unitary executive" concept." Liberals were certain Bush's use of the unitary executive concept during wartime signaled the end of our democratic state.
But that was then, when the President was a [shiver] Republican. Everything is all hopey-changey different now that the President is a [hurrah!] Democrat. Just ask the head of the CFAP, John Podesta. From the Dailly Caller:
Former President Bill Clinton’s chief of staff John Podesta, now the head of the Center for American Progress, called on President Obama to push forward with his agenda using federal agencies and executive branch power Tuesday, even though Democrats were dealt a blow in the recent midterm elections. Podesta said the American people want the president to move forward with his agenda.
“I think most of the conversation since the election has been about how President Obama adjusts to the new situation on Capitol Hill,” Podesta said. “While that’s an important conversation, it simply ignores the president’s ability to use all levels of his power and authority to move the country forward.”
Citing his experience in Clinton’s White House after the GOP House takeover of 1994, Podesta said Obama’s administration “can and should take” the specific measures detailed in a report released by the Center For American Progress, utilizing all the tools at its disposal to circumvent Congress in a way to keep his agenda moving forward.
“One of the best ways for the Obama administration to achieve results of that nature, in the short term, is through substantial executive authority to make and implement policy,” Podesta said. “As noted in the Constitution and the laws of the United States give the president the ability and the responsibility to act as the chief executive using authorities granted to all presidents such as executive orders, rule-makings, agency management and public-private partnerships.”
Some of the areas in which the CFAP says the President should circumvent Congress and implement policy are as follows - Job creation and economic competitiveness; Educational excellence; A clean energy future and energy independence; Quality affordable health care; Consumer protection; The home foreclosure crisis; Accountable government delivering results at lower cost; Sustainable security for the nation.
Let me see if I have this straight. When President Bush claimed executive wartime powers to combat terrorism, that meant we were becoming a dictatorship, a failed democratic state, but if Obama uses executive powers to bypass Congress on legislative matters, which are obviously the Constitutional purview of the legislative branch, that would be "mov[ing] the country forward," according to John Podesta.
And people wonder why politicos have no credibility.
While I'm on the subject of governmental checks and balances, let's also remember that CFAP and numerous other liberal groups have been crying about GOP obstruction of the Obama agenda for the last two years, via methods such as the filibuster. Here's how CFAP describes those GOP obstructors of all that is good and righteous, in an article called Minority Rules: Ten Ways To Bring The Senate To It's Knees:
Presently, a minority of [GOP] senators are engaged in unprecedented obstructionism to block legislation and bring judicial confirmations to a crawl. They are able to do only because the Senate rules provide numerous opportunities for abuse. Dissenting senators can force days of pointless debate before a single vote can be cast. They can demand pointless rituals such as reading all amendments aloud. And they can bog down the Senate with time-consuming votes on frivolous objections. Indeed, with so many opportunities for abuse, the miracle of the United States Senate is that it has ever functioned at all.
Now let's journey way, way back to the beforetimes again, when Bush was the President and the Republicans controlled Congress. Here's what CFAP head Podesta had to say about the filibuster then. Notice the complete reversal of opinion:
“I’m convinced that Americans want the president and the Congress to work together to ensure that judges who populate the federal bench and who serve with life tenure are highly qualified men and women whose views are within the constitutional mainstream,” Podesta said in the April 2005 speech, according to a transcript obtained by The Daily Caller. “The filibuster is a means towards that end. Why? Because it encourages presidents to consult with the Senate and to name moderate, mainstream nominees who will judge cases fairly and without bias, and who will have no difficulty garnering the votes of 60 senators that they need to be confirmed. By removing the safeguard offered by the filibuster, the nuclear option would seriously and perhaps irreparably damage an institution that has functioned since its inception under customs and traditions that ensure an atmosphere of careful deliberation and mutual respect.”
Such integrity over at CFAP. To them, it's only obstructionism when their political opponents do it. When CFAP's friends do it, it's the American way. The phrase 'situational ethics' comes to mind, along with many other less genteel-sounding phrases which I shall refrain from using.
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