Tags: Barack Obama | Exclusive Interviews | MidPoint | Michael Flanagan | NPR | executive orders | Obama

Ex-Rep. Flanagan: Obama 'Will Use The Veto Pen Night and Day'

By    |   Tuesday, 30 Dec 2014 02:39 PM

Don't expect President Barack Obama to abandon his agenda, his use of executive powers or his refusal to sign bipartisan bills, even — or maybe especially — with his political opponents running both chambers of Congress, a former Chicago-area Republican congressman told Newsmax TV on Tuesday.

"The president wants to be in charge … and will use the executive orders to do that, and will use the veto pen night and day," Michael Patrick Flanagan, who served one term in the '90s by defeating legendary House Democrat Dan Rostenkowski, told "MidPoint" guest host Ric Blackwell.

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"The Congress has a very hard hill to climb when dealing with President Obama over the next two years," said Flanagan, a Washington, D.C.-based corporate consultant and political commentator. "I'm hopeful, I'm prayerful, that they can find some things to work on. I'm not of the opinion right now that that list exists yet."

Flanagan, the rare Republican to represent a district that straddles heavily Democratic Chicago and its suburbs, explained that Obama has carried "a Chicago point of view" into his presidency.

"And when you want to understand the Chicago guys, you have to understand that their view of the political landscape is different from the Washington view," said Flanagan. "It's a very different place. It's a zero sum game. There is no level for compromise: I'm leading, you're following; or you're leading and I'm following."

Flanagan said that it's also generally true that presidents, who want to steer the country's agenda, feel less inclined to compromise than do legislators.

But even so, in Obama's case, he said, "It is uncommon for a president to take that sort of bold stand against a Congress that has reached out and said we can do some things together."

In response to Obama's remarks to NPR that it's on Republicans "to show that they can responsibly govern," Flanagan said, "If you define governing as getting a presidential signature, they're not going to be able to govern."

But he added, "If you define governing by actually passing legislation that the people who sent them there to do … in cooperation with Democrats across the aisle in Congress, they'll ground out a huge amount of legislation.

"The president will veto it just the same," Flanagan predicted, even with many Democrats on Capitol Hill "prepared to be helpful" on bills covering immigration, health care, tax reform and federal regulations.

"And the president can claim the Republicans are obstructing all he likes but it will not prove to be true," he said.

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Flanagan also discussed the troubles befalling a pair of current Republican congressman: Michael Grimm of New York, after his decision to resign next week in the wake of a criminal tax-evasion conviction; and Majority Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana, who admitted that he spoke to a white supremacist group 12 years ago as a state legislator.

Flanagan said that Grimm's departure — even after Staten Island voters fully briefed on his legal woes re-elected him handily in November — is less about his standing with constituents.

"I am guessing that his decision to step down is more about the national politics, and the fact that he wants to make an accommodation with his district, with his state, and with prosecutors," said Flanagan. "So God bless him; it's probably a good decision. But again, it doesn't sound like Staten Island has any trouble with him."

Flanagan dismissed the controversy over Scalise as dated and insubstantial.

"My guess is he made a speech 12 years ago to a group he didn't really know or understand, and nothing has come out from that speech … that's nuts," he said. "Members of the Democratic Party talk to the Nation of Islam and other black supremacist groups all the time and it doesn't hurt them at all."

"This is a dozen years ago and I don't think there's a 'there' there," said Flanagan.

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Don't expect President Barack Obama to abandon his agenda, his use of executive powers or his refusal to sign bipartisan bills, even - or maybe especially - with his political opponents running both chambers of Congress, a former Chicago-area Republican congressman told...
Michael Flanagan, NPR, executive orders, Obama
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Tuesday, 30 Dec 2014 02:39 PM
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