The unthinkable has happened. Donald Trump has won the presidential race by the proverbial mile in surely the most stunning election upset in American history.
Now the Progressive Left must face the fact ‘that President Donald Trump could actually follow through on his promise to “cancel every unconstitutional executive action, memorandum and order issued by President Obama” on his first day in office.’
Come January 20, President Donald J. Trump will have the power to do exactly that — particularly those executive actions which experts said were unconstitutional and even unlawful.
Washington Post columnist Marc A. Thiessen writes:
Every president reverses some executive actions of the previous president. After President Obama took office in 2009, he revoked a series of executive orders issued by President George W. Bush — including Bush’s executive order barring federal funding for embryonic stem-cell research; his executive order implementing the Mexico City Policy, which bars funding for international groups that provide abortions; his executive order interpreting the Geneva Conventions with regard to the CIA’s detention of captured terrorists; and several Bush executive orders limiting the power of labor unions in dealing with federal contractors, among many others. Obama also used executive orders to reverse Bush’s terrorist interrogation policy and order the closure of the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay.
Obama’s actions were not unprecedented. Bush not only reversed executive orders of his predecessor, Bill Clinton, but in 2002 he actually withdrew the U.S. from a treaty Clinton had signed — the Rome Statute creating the International Criminal Court.
The reason Obama’s legacy is so vulnerable today is that the 44th president relied more on executive actions — issuing not only executive orders, but also a record number of rules, regulations and agency directives to legislate around Congress and impose his agenda.
After he lost control of the Senate in 2014, Obama announced at his first Cabinet meeting: “We’re not just going to be waiting for legislation. . . . I’ve got a pen and I’ve got a phone. And I can use that pen to sign executive orders and take executive actions and administrative actions that move the ball forward.” On immigration, when Obama could not pass his immigration reform to provide amnesty for entire categories of people not here legally, he tried to impose it on the American people though unlawful executive action — a move The Post’s editorial board called a “massive unilateral act” that “flies in the face of congressional intent.” When he could not pass his cap-and-trade bill, he used the Clean Air Act to impose it by executive action, twisting the meaning of the law in a manner that even the New York Times said was “stretching the intent of a law decades old and not written with climate change in mind.” He took executive actions on everything from gun control and financial regulation to health care and transgender bathrooms.
Now Trump may use his pen and phone to reverse many of Obama’s executive actions. And the lame-duck president can hardly complain. If you rule by executive fiat, then you should not be surprised if the next executive undoes your fiats.
In conclusion, Thiessen writes:
From legislation to executive action, the lesson is clear: The value of bipartisan compromise is not just about optics. If you build consensus, then your actions will last. But if you impose your agenda on an unwilling country, it is going to get repealed or reversed when the other party comes to power.
There is wisdom in the scriptural admonition to “be like a wise man who built his house on the rock” instead of the “foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.”
Obama built his legacy on the sand of unilateralism, instead of the rock of bipartisan consensus. And great will be the fall of it come Jan. 20, 2017.