As evidenced by President Obama on Monday, gone are the days of “I won’t wait for Congress to act,” and he’s now entered “The Constitution Zone.”
Case in point: The president was supposedly heckled by someone who wanted him to unilaterally halt deportations. Obama responded by saying he doesn’t have the legal authority to do that, pointing out that if he did so he’d be violating the law. What? Just last summer, Obama granted hundreds of thousands of deportation waivers. There was a similar waving of the EO magic wand in 2011.
Case in point II: At a San Francisco fundraiser, Obama stunned his audience with the news that there’s no Wizard behind that unilateral curtain, much to the dismay of a crowd that still believes in his ability to slow the rise of the oceans:
“A lot of people have been saying this lately on every problem, which is just, ‘Sign an executive order and we can pretty much do anything and basically nullify Congress,’” Obama said at a Democratic National Committee fundraiser at the SFJazz Center in San Francisco.
Many in the audience of more than 400 supporters began applauding. “Wait, wait, wait,” Obama said. “Before everybody starts clapping, that’s not how it works. We’ve got this Constitution, we’ve got this whole thing about separation of powers. So there is no short-cut to politics, and there’s no short-cut to democracy.”
Maybe next time Obama should start his fundraiser speeches by showing the audiences old “Schoolhouse Rock” episodes to familiarize them with the concept before he just dumps it on them like that. It must have been traumatic.
Of course, maybe it’s a little easier for Obama to trust in the system when “The Constitution Zone” is being softened up on the legislative side of things.