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Liberals furious over Obama's threat of executive orders

Liberals appear to be furious over President Obama's recent promise – or threat – to use the power of executive order to enact new laws.

They must be furious.

How do I know?

Because many of them, in recent responses to public criticism of Obama's executive order threat, are burning up the Internet in order to let me know how many times former liberal presidents like Bush I, Bush II, Nixon and Reagan (yes, even Reagan, my favorite president of the past 50 years, was a liberal on fiscal policy) signed executive orders.

It seems many of Obama's loyal supporters are shocked (shocked!) to learn that the commander in chief is playing fast and loose with the Constitution.

Liberals are understandably dismayed, and they continue to reference the Bushes, et. al., as evidence of their current dissatisfaction with the POTUS.

For once, I agree with the liberals.

I also agree with U.S. Sen. Mike Lee, a Utah Republican, who recently all but undressed Obama Attorney General Eric Holder.

In a good, old-fashioned political grilling last week, the senator demanded the attorney general explain the constitutional authority for executive action on increasing the minimum wage and delaying the Employer Mandate in ObamaCare.

When the attorney general proved incapable of a plausible explanation, Sen. Lee called for the Department of Justice to release documents that explain the decision “so that the American people can be aware of what’s happening and on what basis [the president] is claiming that authority.”

From Senator Lee's website, we can read (and watch) some of the exchange between U.S. senator and U.S. attorney general.

(As Desi used to tell Lucy, "Somebody's got some explaining to do.")

Here's the discussion.

Sen. Lee: “…Is this [constitutional] analysis undertaken each time the president issues an executive order and…was it undertaken when the president, for example, announced on July 2, 2013, that he would not be enforcing the employer mandate of the Affordable Care Act?”

A.G. Holder: “…Those kinds of activities are done after consultation with the Justice Department and an analysis is done to make sure the president is acting in an appropriate and a constitutional way…”

Sen. Lee: “In which of those three categories would you put the president’s decision to delay the employer mandate?”

A.G. Holder: “To be honest with you, I have not seen – I don’t remember looking at or having – I haven’t seen the analysis in some time so I’m not sure exactly where along the spectrum that would come…”

Sen. Lee: “How about the executive order he proposed last night (during the 2014 State of the Union Address) with regard to minimum wage?”

A.G. Holder: “Um, again, without having delved into this to any great degree, that would…"

Sen. Lee: “But you’re the Attorney General. I’m assuming he consulted you.”

A.G. Holder: “Well, there have been consultations done with the Justice Department…”

Sen. Lee: “It would be very helpful for you to release legal analysis produced by the Office of Legal Counsel, or whoever is advising the president on these issues."

A.G. Holder: "[The president] has made far less use of his executive power at this point in his administration than some of his predecessors have and he will only do so, as I indicated previously, where he is unable to work with Congress to do things together…”

(Columnist's note: Oh, now I get it. The liberals are just following the party's talking points on blaming previous administrations for their current incompetence. Two wrongs obviously do make a right. Or a Left.)

Now, back to our program…

Sen. Lee: “General Holder, I respectfully but forcefully disagree with the assertion, if this is what you’re saying, that because the number of orders issued by this president might be comparable to the number of executive orders issued by previous presidents that that means he hasn’t made more use of it than other presidents have. When you look at the quality – not just the quantity, but the quality – the nature of the executive orders that he has issued, he has usurped an extraordinary amount of authority within the executive branch. This is not precedented. And I point to the delay – the unilateral delay – lawless delay, in my opinion, of the employer mandate as an example of this.”

Game. Set. Match. All go to Senator Mike Lee.

Eric Holder is carrying Obama's water on this, much like other attorneys general have done the heavy lifting for other presidents. It would be sad if it weren't so humorous.

In his most recent column, Sen. Lee offered:

• "The truth is that government policies are causing long-term unemployment, creating barriers for low-income Americans to work their way into the middle class, locking millions of Americans in poverty traps, and preventing families who are barely making it from getting ahead."

• "These policies unintentionally discourage almost every positive step underprivileged families can take toward social mobility and economic security."

I admire Sen. Mike Lee. And I agree with his first point. But I wholeheartedly disagree with one word in his second point.

"These policies 'unintentionally' discourage almost every positive step underprivileged families can take toward social mobility and economic security."

Frankly, after watching the insanity of liberal politics for decades, I think these policies are very much intentional. I really do.

Rory Ryan is Senior Editor, North American Desk, at Paperitalo Publications and the owner of The Highland County Press in Hillsboro, Ohio. He can be reached by email at or

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