Do you think Barack Obama is an imperial presidency (For people doing 3C and 4C) Watch
Firstly I DO NOT think Obama is imperial, far from it at the moment. It would be difficult for him to be anyway due to the high levels of partisanship in congress. For the most part he has relied on Congress to pass his main policy proposals such as Obamacare and his fiscal stimulus package in 2009. Even though Obamacare passed it was significantly watered down, even by the Democrats' conservative wing at the time. He consistently says he 'can't wait for congress', clearly showing that, especially more recently that congress is significantly limiting what he can do. His proposals for Gun Control in 2013 and, more recently, his pushes for immigration reform have all failed due to the divided congress.
However, I think as a result of this he has had to resort to using extra constitutional powers, which are considered controversial. These include signing statements and executive orders, and conservatives such as Texas Senator Ted Cruz criticise him for abusing his power as President and acting 'imperial'. Obama has interpreted the National Defense and Authorisation Act in such a way to better suit his administration and this has been widely criticised. He has also used executive orders in areas such as gun control and controlling immigration. Even a bill was introduced recently called 'Enforce the Law' act which was created to force the president to implement the law how it is written by congress. Of course this bill is certain to fail as it has the contend with the Democratic Senate and the Presidential Veto, not that it will even get to the president.
But anyway, that is just brief. Would anyone like to add? Tell me if you would like me to add similar threads on other topics.
Also it will be greatly appreciated if anyone can extend any of the points I have written. Maybe some detail about the executive orders that he used?
Thanks and get posting!
I agree, I don't think he is good evidence of an imperial presidency. I'd actually argue that Obama demonstrates a bifurcated presidency quite nicely; he's consistently struggled to pass his agenda in the face of Republican opposition in Congress but in terms of foreign policy he has demonstrated considerable power, e.g leading initiatives such as drone strikes, Bin Laden assassination etc.
Does the Bin Laden assassination demonstrate an abuse of power? Was it an executive order by the president? You could also talk about Libya and his evasion of the War Powers Act there.
How did he circumvent the WPA in Libya? (Serious question, unsure.)
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He was using jet fighters and no ground troops. Most of the time the US was just aiding foreign nations by providing aircraft carrier support. He made the excuse that no ground troops were in use and so he was not outside of his constitutional powers. Also he sent ships and aircraft carriers to Libya without the consent of Congress.
Interesting stuff, thanks.
Alternatively or indeed implicitly you might link that to Richard Neustadt's analysis of the presidency as depending on the 'power to pursued' - Obama was able to do that in 2009/10 because of the optimism and hype that surrounded him meaning Congress wanted to 'coat-tail' him and therefore allowed him to be strong. Since 2010 though he's become far more divisive in society and the Republican (especially Tea Party) surge in Congress (which essentially thinks he's a devilish Kenyan muslim terrorist) proudly wants nothing to do with him (meaning Obama's very words have become toxic to the right/centre right) while moderate Democrats have become more cautious of associations with him (34 Democrats in the House voted against Obamacare). Basically Obama's aura has failed him and that has cost him his coat-tails and therefore he is no longer able to pursued and so no longer powerful (and certainly not imperial).
I'm pretty sure they won't word a question on presidential power around Schlesinger anymore -
it's been an outdated description virtually ever since the book was written.