by Randolph T. Holhut
Chief of AR Correspondents
July 17, 2014
IMPEACHMENT? HAVEN'T REPUBLICANS GOT ANYTHING BETTER TO DO?
DUMMERSTON, Vt. -- Conservatives are trying to gin up yet another effort to impeach President Barack Obama, this time for his alleged dictatorial abuse of executive orders and other means to get around the least productive Congress in modern history.
House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, is suing President Obama over his decision to delay the implementation of the employer mandate in the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
Boehner and the Republicans think they can get a political twofer: paint the President as overreaching in his use of executive orders and renew the opposition to the ACA.
Thankfully, many Americans think think is just a political stunt, and the record will support that line of thinking.
In the latest example of reality having a well-known liberal bias, President Obama has issued 182 executive orders in the nearly six years he's been in office, or an average of about 33.5 per year. He trails President George W. Bush, who issued 291 over eight years. or an average of nearly 36.4 per year.
Among two-term presidents, Ronald Reagan issued 381 executive orders, Bill Clinton issued 364, and Dwight Eisenhower issued 484. Woodrow Wilson was the two-term champ with 1,803.
The all-time champ is Franklin Roosevelt, who issues 3,522 over his 12 years in office, or an average of nearly 291 per year. The president that used it the least was Benjamin Harrison, with 143, or an average of 35.75 per year - lower than President Obama.
Trying to paint President Obama as a dictator who must be impeached is almost as ridiculous a notion as the recent Quinnipiac University poll that said 33 percent of voters believe he is the worst President since the end of World War II.
President Barack Obama worse than President George W. Bush? Worse than President Richard Nixon? That's as ridiculous as 45 percent of voters in that poll saying former Mich. Gov. Mitt Romney would've been a better president.
I don't know who the hell Quinnipiac's pollsters talked to, but what are they smoking?
To quickly review, President Obama took office with an economy teetering on the edge of a depression, amid two worthless wars, and facing an opposition party determined to destroy him by any means necessary.
For me, President Obama gets low marks for continuing the out-of-control national security state unleashed by the 9/11 attacks, and for having the most secretive, least transparent Administration in years.
But the truth is that Mr. Obama, despite getting no help from Republicans, helped the nation avoid an economic depression, got U.S. troops out of Iraq, started winding things down in Afghanistan, avoided getting into wars in Syria and Ukraine, got health insurance for 10 million Americans (and counting) who didn't have it before, and helped expand rights to gays and lesbians.
That's not a bad record so far, I think.
Could he have done more? Certainly. But given the train wreck that is Congress right now, President Obama has done what he could.
I'll let the President have the last word with some remarks he made last week in Austin, Texas:
"There are number of Republicans in Congress, including a number of them in the Texas delegations, who are mad at me for taking these actions. They actually plan to sue me.
"So it's not clear how the Republicans didn't seem to mind when President Bush took more executive actions than I did.
"Maybe it is just me they don't like. I don't know. Maybe there is some principle out there that I haven't discerned. That I haven't figured out. You hear some of them. 'Sue him. Impeach him.'
Really? For what? You are going to sue me for doing my job? Okay.
"Think about that. You are going to use taxpayer money to sue me for doing my job while you don't do your job.
"There is a movie called 'The Departed,'" the President continued.
"There is a scene in the movie where Mark Wahlberg - they are on a stakeout, and somehow the guy loses the guy they are tracking. "And Wahlberg is all upset, yelling at the guy. The guy looks up and says, 'Well, who are you?' "And Wahlberg says, 'I am the guy doing my job. You must be the other guy.'"
"Sometimes I feel like saying to these guys, I am the guy doing my job. You must be the other guy."
AR's Chief of Correspondents, Randolph T. Holhut, holds an M.P.A. from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and has been an award-winning journalist in New England for more than 30 years. He edited "The George Seldes Reader" (Barricade Books). He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.