“We can’t wait.”
That’s the phrase that President Obama has made popular recently. It’s meant as a shot at Congress — a Congress the president believes is slow to act on his policies. The phrase has also been used to justify the president’s increasing using of executive orders and signing statements. And now, the New York Times reports, it’s a phrase we could be hearing a lot more of as the president is looking to expand his use of executive powers.
That might not be too surprising given the president’s recent action. But consider: Obama criticized George W. Bush for his use of executive powers during the last election. The Times explains:
As a senator and presidential candidate, he had criticized George W. Bush for flouting the role of Congress. And during his first two years in the White House, when Democrats controlled Congress, Mr. Obama largely worked through the legislative process to achieve his domestic policy goals.
But increasingly in recent months, the administration has been seeking ways to act without Congress. Branding its unilateral efforts “We Can’t Wait,” a slogan that aides said Mr. Obama coined at that strategy meeting, the White House has rolled out dozens of new policies — on creating jobs for veterans, preventing drug shortages, raising fuel economy standards, curbing domestic violence and more.
Each time, Mr. Obama has emphasized the fact that he is bypassing lawmakers.
“Aides say many more such moves are coming,” the Times adds. “Not just a short-term shift in governing style and a re-election strategy, Mr. Obama’s increasingly assertive use of executive action could foreshadow pitched battles over the separation of powers in his second term, should he win and Republicans consolidate their power in Congress.”
That raises the question: Can you wait?