To the editor:
While it’s no secret that The Eagle-Tribune’s editorial slant at the state and national levels leans very heavily to starboard, last week’s editorial “It’s time to rein in an imperial presidency” (Thursday, Jan. 30) showcased the hypocrisy of today’s uber conservative political commentators.
The editorial chose political hyperventilation over reasoned thought in response to the president declaring that if the House of Representatives is going to continue to stonewall helping the working people of this country, he will take actions, via executive orders, and within his constitutional authority, to do so wherever he can.
Here are some facts that the editors of The Eagle-Tribune conveniently chose to ignore: President Obama has issued far fewer executive orders, 167 to date, than the heroes of the neo-conservative movement. George W. Bush issued 291 to get his way on policies he wanted, and the patron saint of the Tea Party, Ronald Reagan, issued 381. And the god of the libertarian wing of the Republican Party, Calvin Coolidge, issued a whopping 1,203 executive orders to get his way on policies he wanted.
And let’s not forget that not only did George W. Bush issue 291 executive orders but he also issued over 800 “signing statements” unilaterally declaring he was going to disregard parts of duly passed laws! So blatant was that abuse of power that the American Bar Association stated that Bush was flouting the rule of law and that his “signing statements” were clearly unconstitutional. For those “signing statements” alone, Bush should have been impeached by the House and convicted by the Senate.
By The Eagle-Tribune’s apparent definition of being imperial, Bush, Reagan and even ol’ Cool Cal, would have to be declared tyrannical. Along with Eisenhower, who sent the Army’s 101st Airborne division into Arkansas in 1957, and Kennedy, who threatened to nationalize the National Guard in Alabama in 1963, when they used the Army to deal with the governors of those two states, whose racist actions stood in the way of school desegregation by claiming that “states’ rights” trumped civil rights.
And of course, the most tyrannical of all, by The Eagle-Tribune’s way of thinking, has to be Abraham Lincoln for having the audacity to issue the Emancipation Proclamation in 1862, which declared the African-Americans being held as slaves in the states in rebellion to be free. Right-wing purists must consider the Emancipation Proclamation the end of the world since slavery was an enshrined and protected institution, baked into the Constitution itself by our slave-owning founding fathers and reinforced by the Supreme Court’s Dred Scott decision in 1857. How dare Lincoln issue an executive order that emancipated the slaves in violation of that slave-protecting document, I can hear the right-wing purists saying to themselves.
I guess by The Eagle-Tribune’s political standards, Eisenhower, Kennedy, and especially Lincoln, should be declared the most imperial of all presidents because Eisenhower and Kennedy had the audacity to use the Army and, in Lincoln’s case, the audacity to issue an executive order in order to guarantee civil rights for all, not just some, Americans.