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Chart showing executive orders issued by president, with Obama below average—and fewer than any recent president.
House Speaker Clown John Boehner isn't saying exactly why it is that he's planning on suing the president, but in general he says that the issue is that President Obama has usurped congressional power through executive action. As a result, the president is no longer "faithfully executing the laws of our country."

So, at the 30,000-foot level, it's a principled stand against a president engaging in an unprecedented expansion of executive authority. Except one little thing, notes Christopher Ingraham:

Back in February I analyzed the numbers on executive order frequency and found that Obama has actually been less likely to resort to the pen and phone than any president since Grover Cleveland.
And John Hudak of Brookings adds: that President Obama is issuing more than his predecessors is just flat wrong—and continues to be a talking point completely at odds with real data.
Fair point, but I doubt Boehner is listening. He's too busy figuring out precisely why he thinks Obama is a renegade dictator-tyrant.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Fewer EOs than W… makes O a tyrant, eh? (17+ / 0-)

    Far fewer executive orders issued by Obama than by George W. Bush. But he's a tyrant because he's a black man ordering white people around.

  •  Where's Neal Cavuto when ya need 'em? (4+ / 0-)
  •  You libtards just don't get it (5+ / 0-)

    If only he HAD been a dictator. If only.

    "I feel a lot safer already."--Emil Sitka

    by DaddyO on Thu Jun 26, 2014 at 07:38:38 AM PDT

  •  I don't think anyone is complaining about the (4+ / 0-)

    number of Executive Orders.  

    I think the complaint (whether it's correct or not, we'll see) is the substance of the Executive Orders.  The complaint is that the President is using Executive Orders to effectively re-write statutes passed by Congress and signed into law (that's the complaint with respect to the ACA, and decisions not to enforce certain aspects of the immigration laws for example), and that's something that constitutionally can't be done by Executive Order.  

    Really, counting up the NUMBER of executive orders doesn't mean anything in conjunction with the present dispute between Speaker Boehner and President Obama.  

    •  I agree with your point that (7+ / 0-)

      counting is not as important as what the executive orders say, but I have read where people are complaining about the number of EOs issued by Obama.  It's like people complaining about how Democrats create more debt than Republicans.

      "Moon landing was real. Evolution exists. Tax cuts lose revenue. The research has shown this a thousand times. Enough already." - Austan Goolsbee

      by anonevent on Thu Jun 26, 2014 at 07:44:32 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Totally the opposite of reality, but they (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        aren't a reality based party, by any stretch of the imagination.

        "We know too much to go back and pretend" - Helen Reddy (humble cosmos shaker)

        by ditsylilg on Thu Jun 26, 2014 at 07:55:16 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  What "people" are complaining (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        about the NUMBER of executive orders, and not the substance?  

        If it's somebody in Congress, that shows that they are just uninformed at best, or incompetent or dishonest at worst.  That would be worth a diary.

        If it's some idiot on Facebook or something, I don't know why anyone would care.   Certainly not worth a diary.  

      •  Where are links to Republicans objecting to the (0+ / 0-)

        number of Executive Orders and not the substance of the orders (ignoring chain emails started by unknown parties)?

        The most important way to protect the environment is not to have more than one child.

        by nextstep on Thu Jun 26, 2014 at 08:10:06 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I don't have time to go looking for (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          anything more than snopes right now.

          "Moon landing was real. Evolution exists. Tax cuts lose revenue. The research has shown this a thousand times. Enough already." - Austan Goolsbee

          by anonevent on Thu Jun 26, 2014 at 08:37:09 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Your link does not even show 1 elected Republican (0+ / 0-)

            complaining about the number of executive orders, it does not even show one unelected Republican.

            The most important way to protect the environment is not to have more than one child.

            by nextstep on Thu Jun 26, 2014 at 09:22:53 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I personally never said anything (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              about elected officials.  In part, because what most elected officials stated was the abuse of EO's by Obama, implying both number and type to their followers.

              "Moon landing was real. Evolution exists. Tax cuts lose revenue. The research has shown this a thousand times. Enough already." - Austan Goolsbee

              by anonevent on Thu Jun 26, 2014 at 09:46:17 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

    •  Dubya (5+ / 0-)

      The Republican argument that it's worth suing Obama still is hypocritical, even we stipulate that you're right in your argument. George W Bush rewrote Congressional statutes by issuing signing statements which blatantly and deliberately contravened the very bill he was signing. If Bush wasn't wrong then in the eyes of Republicans, then Obama isn't wrong now. And while Democrats opposed Bush's practice of issuing creative reinterpretations of Congressional statutes, Nancy Pelosi didn't sue him, as Boehner now threatens to do with Obama.

      The Bush Family: 0 for 4 in Wisconsin

      by Korkenzieher on Thu Jun 26, 2014 at 07:47:10 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Nobody's defending GWB (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        But there's an argument that the President is being hypocritical about the reach of executive power as well.  He was against it when GWB did it.

        And the fact that Speaker Pelosi did not file suit does not say anything, one way or the other, about whether a lawsuit filed by Speaker Boehner has merit.  The fact that I did, or did not, choose to sue over an issue does not make your lawsuit have merit or not have merit.

        As I said above, on first glance, it appears to me that if the Speaker does file suit, the Administration may well argue to a Court that if the Speaker thinks the President is exceeding his powers, the Speaker's only remedy under the Constitution is to institute impeachment proceedings -- that a lawsuit is not the way to go.  

        •  Defending Dubya (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          Sure you are!!!  Because you and the rest of the WASP-nation were not crying foul when Dubya was doing it.  But since we have a black President that is actually trying to focus on America and keep us out of you have something to say.

    •  I agree (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      coffeetalk, JJ In Illinois, nextstep

      Let's define some terms and categorize executive orders.  Simply throwing out a count is not too useful.  I have no idea whether or not the President is using executive orders more often to write or re-write laws either.  Let's see those numbers with clear definitions and categories then we can have an intelligent conversation (unless all exective orders are equal - which I do not believe is the case).

      Fascism: The conservative notion that killing people makes them work harder

      by madtowntj on Thu Jun 26, 2014 at 07:55:55 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Seriously? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Should we look at the Tyrant Dubya and his EO's that were in direct violation of the Constitution, not just what laws congress may or may not have passed....lets look...

      Shortly after 9/11, George W. Bush secretly signed two executive orders. Both violated basic constitutional protections as well as U.S. obligations under international treaties, yet both carried the force of law.

      The first order granted Dubya (and other officials, including the secretary of defense, the secretary of homeland security and presumably certain postal clerks) the right to declare anyone -- including an American citizen -- an "unlawful enemy combatant." A person so declared has no redress, no way to appeal, no ability to challenge that designation. Once a person has been named an enemy combatant, according to the Bush Administration he has no rights. He can be held without charges forever, tortured, you name it—well, actually, the president or the secretary of defense names it.

      In the second covert executive order, Bush authorized the CIA to target and assassinate said "enemy combatants" -- again, including American citizens.

      These two documents first came into play on November 3, 2002, when a CIA-operated Predator drone plane violating Yemeni airspace fired a Hellfire missile at a car containing Qaed Salim Sinan al-Harethi, supposedly Al Qaeda's #1 man in Yemen at the time.

      U.S. officials didn't know that an American citizen, Kamal Derwish, was riding along. (You know what they say about hitchhiking.) "The Bush administration said the killing of an American in this fashion was legal ... this is legal because the president and his lawyers say so -- it's not much more complicated than that," It was reported that "I can assure you that no constitutional questions are raised here," said Bush's national security adviser, Condoleezza Rice, after the CIA assassinations. "He's well within the balance of accepted practice and the letter of his constitutional authority."

      It's right there in the Constitution between the right to tax and the repeal of Prohibition.

      Anyway, Congress tried to clarify matters in the Military Commissions Act of 2006, part of which -- the section that eliminated the writ of habeas corpus -- got struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court. But the rest of the MCA remains in force, including a passage that defines an enemy combatant as anyone who provides "material support" to the "enemy." And who is the enemy? The enemy is anyone the president says it/he/she/they is.  ***Remember this was a Dubya EO that violated the Constitutional rights of American Citizens---but did you say anything about this tyranny?

      Again, there is no distinction between foreigners and U.S. citizens.

      Jose Padilla, the so-called would-be "dirty bomber" held in a Navy brig since 2002, was tried and convicted of such "material support" charges in 2007. (The government couldn't prosecute Padilla for their original dirty bomb charges because they had tortured him so severely that he had been reduced to mental mush.)

  •  I have concerns about the President's (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JJ In Illinois, Betty Pinson

    conduct of the "war on terror."  

    Number of executive orders . . . well, okay . . . but

    "The opposite of a profound truth may well be another profound truth.”" -- Paul Dirac

    by Rikon Snow on Thu Jun 26, 2014 at 07:40:41 AM PDT

    •  Like death by drone of American citizens? (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Rikon Snow, Betty Pinson, david78209

      Yeah.. let's not bother Congress about these details..

      •  You got it. Deeply troubling. (nt) (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        "The opposite of a profound truth may well be another profound truth.”" -- Paul Dirac

        by Rikon Snow on Thu Jun 26, 2014 at 07:47:56 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  What does citizenship have to do with it? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Really tired of seeing that bullshit here.  

        When truth is only a matter of opinion, advantage goes to the liars.

        by Sun dog on Thu Jun 26, 2014 at 07:53:52 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Yes, the 5th Bullshit Amendment to the Bullshit (0+ / 0-)


          "The opposite of a profound truth may well be another profound truth.”" -- Paul Dirac

          by Rikon Snow on Thu Jun 26, 2014 at 07:59:38 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  The 5th Amendment (0+ / 0-)

            spells out that the rights it spells out are to be especially reserved for citizens?  It's ok to violate due process as long as someone doesn't hold citizenship?  

            When truth is only a matter of opinion, advantage goes to the liars.

            by Sun dog on Thu Jun 26, 2014 at 08:12:34 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  If you don't get the distinction (0+ / 0-)

          you need to do some research.

          An American citizen has rights to due process.  Summarily killing an American citizen away from the battlefield is against the law.

          •  Everyone has a right to due process (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            And the argument is that in the "War on Terror" this was a kill on the battlefield.  Let's have the argument about whether or not this is actually a battlefield.  All this crap where inalienable rights only apply to citizens is just a distraction, an emotional ploy for GOPers to drum up negativity about Obama and media companies to get eyeballs to their piece of shit outlets.  Don't like seeing these ignorant talking points echoed here.  

            If the killing of this guy was illegal and wrong, the killing of a non-citizen in the same circumstances is just as illegal and wrong.  

            When truth is only a matter of opinion, advantage goes to the liars.

            by Sun dog on Thu Jun 26, 2014 at 08:09:19 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  morally equivalent.. not legally.. (0+ / 0-)

              Sorry.  That's the way the laws read and how most legal analysts come down on this.

              I would agree with you that there no distinction morally.

              •  Again, where? (0+ / 0-)

                What part of the 5th Amendment spells out the distinction of citizenship?  It's legal to violate the rights of people if they're not citizens?  How does the law "read" that way?  This just seems to be an affectation of modern 'Murikanism.  No one has shown me what it has to do with the Constitution.  

                When truth is only a matter of opinion, advantage goes to the liars.

                by Sun dog on Thu Jun 26, 2014 at 09:18:59 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

  •  Boehner didn't say Obama was any good (0+ / 0-)

    at being a lawbreaking, renegade, tyrannical, dictator, just that he is one.

    If Reagan was the answer, it must have been a very silly question.

    by shoeless on Thu Jun 26, 2014 at 07:41:39 AM PDT

  •  Reality is what we say it is, dammit. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    You can play pretend with historical record all you want, but it's what people believe that counts.  Sadly.

    We do not forgive. We do not forget. The whole world is watching.

    by Tracker on Thu Jun 26, 2014 at 07:41:54 AM PDT

  •  Does Obama's EO's include (0+ / 0-)

    changes made to laws like ACA by HHS?  This administration seemed to change the law weekly for a while there, suspending parts and modifying others.  And that is besides all the exemptions.

    The powers the Obama administration have invested in the dozens of "Czars" as well as cabinet level position have been prodigious.

    When the EPA issues new carbon emissions rules, does that count toward his EO count?

    Without that data, it is hard to compare Obama to past Presidents.

    But Boner is still a dick.

  •  America: Fun Place (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ditsylilg, worldlotus

    Normally, I take the opportunity to comment on a wide range of political subjects (my blog, specializes in skewering the folks in the Capitol) but today we’re going to take a bit of a breather. The subject today is fun. Good old, unfettered, American fun.
    And the question of the day is: where has all the fun gone?
    Remember when America was really a fun place, a nation of enthusiastic, ambitious, intelligent men and women who looked at the future with excitement and inquisitiveness? Remember when that thing called “the American Dream” really seemed to be within reach of every American (well, maybe not EVERY American...) Remember when we respected our leaders and figured, if they got where they are, they must have some idea about what needs to be done?
    Today, too often, it seems as if the fun has drained right out of us all. We’re becoming a sad, discouraged, annoyed three-hundred-million-plus. We loathe our politicians, we hate the direction we’re heading as a nation, we don’t think our kids are going to be better off than we were, or even, better off than our grandparents were. And what about those kids? Ask your average Millennial what he looks forward to. Easy. The next iteration of a telephone. Number nine or ten or eleven.
    You know what? This is just too depressing. It’s a nice, warm day outside and this is all too dour to think about this early in the morning. And I said I wasn’t going to talk about politics...

    •  In part, at least, having fun outdoors is (0+ / 0-)

      unattractive because there are too many people ready and willing to sue if little Britnie falls down, goes boom, and gets her new sneaks dirty. Perhaps inspired by the GIPPER's excuse-makers, nothing is ever anybody's own fault. SOMEONE was negligent and needs to be sued!

      I remember how Ann Landers (of memory ever blessed) would say, "There are a lot of lawyers out there, looking for work," and though she may have been right, I detested her "Gee, what can you do?" attitude.

    •  My humble $0.02 (0+ / 0-)
      Ask your average Millennial what he looks forward to. Easy. The next iteration of a telephone. Number nine or ten or eleven.
      I'm a millenial, born in '86. I will turn 28 later this summer. I don't look forward to the next iteration of a phone or any other kind of digital technology. I look forward to trying to have my $90k of student loans paid off sooner than at the end of their 25 year repayment term, when I would be 49 and my son would be 28.

      But you're right, many members of my generation have little hope for a brighter future for our children than we ourselves have experienced. I will feel incredibly lucky if my (currently 6 year old) son's adulthood doesn't involve serious worldwide unrest, famine, and population die-off from the political, resource-access and immigration-related results of climate change.

      We are all students and teachers. I often ask myself: "What did I come here to learn, and what did I come to teach?"

      by nerafinator on Thu Jun 26, 2014 at 12:53:21 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I predict. . . (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    briefer, Shawn87

    That in an act of utter irony and inversion, Boehner will multiply Obama's actual number of Executive Orders by five-thirds to come up with are more usable total.

    They've done studies, you know. 60% of the time, it works every time. -- Brian Fantana

    by IndyScott on Thu Jun 26, 2014 at 07:45:44 AM PDT

  •  Well, officially he overreached on recess appts (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JJ In Illinois, nextstep

    SCOTUS today...

    "The poor can never be made to suffer enough." Jimmy Breslin

    by merrywidow on Thu Jun 26, 2014 at 07:46:44 AM PDT

  •  Your graph reminds me of the church lady types (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JJ In Illinois, ditsylilg, worldlotus

    Who would watch television shows and movies counting every push, every curse, and every breast to determine whether or not something is family friendly or even suitable for a reasonable adult.

    Just tallies.
    No context.
    No over-arching messages.

    Executive orders have always been part of the office, but you don't judge them with tally marks.  The nature and extent of the order matters.

    LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

    by dinotrac on Thu Jun 26, 2014 at 07:47:17 AM PDT

  •  They just need to act outraged (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    what he's actually doing hasn't mattered from the start.  When Fox can send thousands of boneheads into the streets screaming with signs about "Czars," it gets pretty obvious that the substance doesn't have anything to do with their schtick.  

    The sheer outrageousness of crowds of Bush supporters taking to the streets to scream about all the bad stuff that happened to the country should have been the biggest joke in the world.  Instead the pundit class sat around discussing the seriousness of this "New Movement."  They get credibility for free no matter how incredible their claims and their actions.  Boehner is just playing along with their usual schtick.  

    When truth is only a matter of opinion, advantage goes to the liars.

    by Sun dog on Thu Jun 26, 2014 at 07:53:14 AM PDT

  •  as usual (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    the republicans are nothing but a bunch of hypocrites.
    calling our president a tyrant....
    exploding heads at every single executive order he signs...


    republican executive orders (by average) are higher
    than democratic executive orders.

    what a shock!!!


    every adult is responsible for every child

    by ridemybike on Thu Jun 26, 2014 at 07:53:42 AM PDT

  •  Boehner's just trying to remain Speaker. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    "Remember, Republican economic policies quadrupled the debt before I took office and doubled it after I left. We simply can't afford to double-down on trickle-down." Bill Clinton

    by irate on Thu Jun 26, 2014 at 07:59:20 AM PDT

  •  I think that Boehner's hissy fit fits ..... (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    skillet, doroma, worldlotus, Subterranean

    "You ain't the boss of me" and "If my party don't win, anything you do is wrong.  It would be the reverse if we won."

    This attitude is irritating in a six-year old; in an adult it is totally obnoxious.

    For what are we paying this man?  Somebody remind me.

  •  EO's say as much about the opposition party (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    skillet, worldlotus, EastcoastChick

    As they say about the POTUS. Gridlock is dangerous for everyone and sometimes a POTUS has to use extraordinary measures to steer the country out of crisis.

    The true measure of a good POTUS or Cogressional leadership is in how they use their powers, but, yeah, context is everything.

    GOP leaders in Congress have been incredibly irresponsible. EO's in this case are necessary to prevent further damage.

    Money is property, not speech. Overturn Citizens United.

    by Betty Pinson on Thu Jun 26, 2014 at 07:59:35 AM PDT

    •  Congress was designed with gridlock in mind. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      So, you are of the opinion that whoever is in the White House should be able to sail his/her agenda through Congress unopposed?

      Let's have this talk the next time a GOPer is in the WH.. I'm betting your opinion will alter slightly.

      •  Not what I was saying (0+ / 0-)

        Checks and balances are good, but gridlock for the sake of destroying government and harming the public is wrong.

        EOs can be used as a safety valve when partisan obstructionism is interefering with the public good. EOs are limited in scope and can be challenged and changed if they are unconstitutional.  They can also be revoked or changed once a POTUS leaves office.

        Its a good tool, one Obama should have employed earlier in his first term. Republicans abuse it, but what's new about that?

        Money is property, not speech. Overturn Citizens United.

        by Betty Pinson on Thu Jun 26, 2014 at 08:37:37 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  This comment is way off base. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      nextstep, VClib

      It implies that if Congress refuses to pass laws that the President thinks should be passed, the President should just do what he wants by Executive Order.

      The Constitution does NOT give the President the power to do things Congress is supposed to do, or should do, but doesn't do because of gridlock.  The President can't, constitutionally, say, "Congress won't pass a law saying x,y,z so I'm going to do the same thing by Executive Order."  That would be a clear, clear abuse of Presidential powers.  Think about what people would be saying if GWB said, "Congress refuses to pass my change to the Social Security law, and I think we're in a SS crisis because it's running out of money, so I'm going to change SS by Executive Order."  People would be screaming -- and rightfully so -- to impeach him for an abuse of Presidential Power.  

      The Constitution is set up for the whole "checks and balances" thing.  That's why, other than specific powers granted to the President under the Constitution, the President is relegated to "faithfully executing" laws that Congress passes, and cannot order things just because Congress refuses to pass laws on the subject.  

      •  Not at all (0+ / 0-)

        Presidents should and do use EOs judiciously when all other options have been exhausted and harm to the public or the functioning of government exists.

        At another level, EOs are necessary for the general management duties of the Exec Branch. They're limited in scope, apply only to duties related to the Exec Branch and don't allow for appropriation of funds.

        Money is property, not speech. Overturn Citizens United.

        by Betty Pinson on Thu Jun 26, 2014 at 08:44:05 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Do you have ANY constitutional authority (0+ / 0-)

          for this statement:

          Presidents should and do use EOs judiciously when all other options have been exhausted and harm to the public or the functioning of government exists.
          What in the Constitution gives the president the power to alter laws by executive order because he thinks the law should be changed, that if there isn't a change in the law it will harm the country, and Congress won't do it?
      •  Then what kind of EOs are permissible, if any ... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Since Presidents have already been doing it for decades.

  •  Well, here's the problem... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ...completely at odds with real data.
    It's all that icky data, more commonly known as facts. Republican kryptonite.

    Only the weak & defeated are called to account for their crimes.

    by rreabold on Thu Jun 26, 2014 at 08:02:25 AM PDT

  •  He's Just Following Orders (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Boehner that is.

    If there were a Liberal Media, there wouldn't be a republican party.

    by ComradeAnon on Thu Jun 26, 2014 at 08:04:49 AM PDT

  •  I'm wondering when the Rs will realize that they (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    delver, Shawn87

    jumped the shark in '09 when McTurtle declared their intention to make the President a one-termer.  I blame Ford, if he hadn't pardoned Nixon, the Rs would have gone the way of the dodo several decades ago...

    "We know too much to go back and pretend" - Helen Reddy (humble cosmos shaker)

    by ditsylilg on Thu Jun 26, 2014 at 08:14:05 AM PDT

  •  I'm sure our media is reporting this fact (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Subterranean, Shawn87

    <<<<<< crickets >>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    <<<<<<< tumbleweeds >>>>>>>>>>>>>

  •  But Obama likes Boehner! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    He's always trying to work with Boehner.  Obama knows in his heart of hearts that he can work with Boehner to git 'er done.


    Let this be a lesson to the president:  They neither like you nor respect you.  You were wrong to EVER try to work with these vipers.

    "When I was an alien, cultures weren't opinions" ~ Kurt Cobain, Territorial Pissings

    by Subterranean on Thu Jun 26, 2014 at 10:38:14 AM PDT

  •  Don't oversimplify. It's "Executive Actions." (0+ / 0-)

    Boehner's complaint notes Executive Actions, not EOs.Those don't have the same channels and paper trail. That doesn't mean Tangerine Man has a good case, nor do I trust his claim that's what he really cares about (as does the gullible WaPo writer of the link) but misframing will help critics. See "Why John Boehner is Really Suing Barack Obama"

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