White House senior staff are hitting the talk show circuit this weekend to relay President Obama’s newest threat: if Congress won’t do exactly as the White House wishes, the White House will go around them.
Press Secretary Jay Carney and Senior White House Advisor Dan Pleiffer made the President’s position clear on ABC’s “This Week” and Fox News’ “Fox News Sunday.”
Carney spun the dictatorial threat by saying that President Obama would work with Congress where possible, but will “bypass Congress where necessary” – a thinly-veiled threat to Congress to get-in-line or be circumvented by Presidential proclamation.
Pleiffer took an even more vague approach to informing Congress that the President will either get his way or throw a tantrum: “The President has a pen, and he has a phone, and he’s going to use those” – the pen threat conceivably hinting that the President will issue Executive Order edicts for any initiative on which the President has been unable to lead a divided government.
Unlike effective Presidents like Clinton or Reagan, Obama has been unable to lead a divided Congress to pass much of anything. Obamacare was passed with both the House and Senate being held by Democrats and most everything else the President has done through Executive Order, administrative action or other non-legislative paths.
Obama started his first term leading a parade. Democrats had control of Congress, he had just won the majority of the American vote and held high approval numbers – all squandered trying to push a heavily-extremist liberal agenda.
After shoving the incredibly unpopular Affordable Care Act down the throats of Americans, Democrats lost the majority in the House and Obama had to either lead a divided government or flounder. His current approval ratings have pegged-out on the floundering side.
Threats, like those issued by Carney and Pleiffer, are not how a confident leader gets things done. Compromise is difficult and in a divided Congress, compromise is required – unless you are operating in a dictatorial regime.
Now, Obama is throwing down the gauntlet: Do what I want, the way I want it, or I’ll stretch the powers of the Executive branch to their breaking point to get my way.