President Obama is under fire from conservatives over his proposed executive action on immigration reform, which is scheduled to be unveiled Thursday evening. By acting unilaterally on such a controversial issue, they argue, Obama would be continuing a disturbing trend with respect to the abuse of executive power.
It wasn’t long ago that liberals were the ones complaining about executive overreach. Yet, after denouncing President George W. Bush for abusing our democracy for the better part of a decade, liberals have spent the Obama administration defending the president from similar charges.
Looking back on some of the left-wing criticisms of the Bush administration, it is fairly easy to use the exact same arguments to make the case that the Obama administration has been “the least democratic in the history of the modern presidency.”
That last line, for example, was taken a 2004 cover story for the New Republic by Jonathan Chait (who, in fairness, has been somewhat critical of Obama’s executive action proposal). Chait’s points about the Bush administration’s abuse of power can be easily applied to the current administration. The following has been appropriated, more or less verbatim, from Chait’s piece, titled “Power from the People.”