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Your Opinion: Obama behind predecessors in executive orders

by Robert Haslag, Centertown | February 9, 2014 at 6:20 p.m. | Updated February 9, 2014 at 6:20 p.m.

Dear Editor:

It has run like a thread through the glen plaid of criticism of this president among his extreme haters that he is imperialistic, has royal ambitions, usurps powers belonging to the Legislature and is focused on destroying American democracy. This argument has rested upon his supposed excessive use of executive authority.

After the president's State of the Union, this warning of the dangers he poses has added a new word to the Republican lexicon, "lawless." Republican congressman and senators have rushed to cameras to proclaim it.

I am going to end this right now. After this anyone who tells you that this president is using his powers in an unprecedented fashion, you can now know they are willfully ignorant or purposely deceptive.

The New York Magazine listed all presidents serving during the past 115 years, ranking them by use of executive orders. The president issuing the most executive orders in that period of 115 years was FDR who issued more than 3,000. The ranking proceeds down from there to Hoover [R], Wilson [D], Harding [R], Coolidge [R], Taft [R], Teddy Roosevelt [R], Truman [D], Carter [D], Kennedy [D], Ford [R], Johnson [D], Nixon [R], Eisenhower [R], Reagan [R], Clinton [D], George Herbert Walker Bush [41] [R], McKinley [R], George W. Bush [43] [R] and, drum roll please, the president with the fewest executive orders in the past 115 years was President Obama [D] with 167.

The ranking is simple and straightforward and this president, if anything, has been extremely conservative in his use of executive orders. Otherwise, how could he have the fewest in 115 years?

Comparing the records of George W. Bush and Ronald Reagan on executive orders, President Bush issued 267. President Reagan issued 381 executive orders. By current Republican logic, President Bush was more threatening to American democracy than President Obama by almost 50 percent. And President Reagan was more than twice as imperialistic and aggrandizing in his use of executive orders as President Obama.

Finally, to put this further in perspective, President George Bush issued 750 signing statements affecting 125 pieces of legislation. Signing statements are statements by a president that he will sign a bill into law but will not enforce certain elements. President Obama has issued 27. I would guess that makes George W. Bush a multiple of 30 times as dangerous to America as President Obama.

Remember this the next time Republicans use this lie/ignorance.

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