President Barack Obama is redefining the power of the presidency in a way that is "alien to American tradition" by bypassing Congress and the Judiciary to in effect issue his own laws, according to Wall Street Journal columnist Daniel Henninger.
Writing Thursday in a column titled "Obama's Creeping Authoritarianism," Henninger said Obama is using the plight of the middle class as an excuse "to undertake an unprecedented exercise of presidential power in domestic policymaking."
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"Obamacare was legislated. In the second term, new law will come from him," Henninger wrote, pointing to a speech the president gave last week in which he said, "Where I can act on my own, I'm going to act on my own. I won't wait for Congress."
Liberals will back the president, Henninger said. "The political left, historically inclined by ideological belief to public policy that is imposed rather than legislated, will support Mr. Obama's expansion of authority."
But he said "the rest of us should not" because "Mr. Obama is rebalancing the system toward a national-leader model that is alien to the American tradition."
Obama supporters, Henninger continued, are defending his actions as a response to congressional gridlock. But the columnist insisted Congress is "gridlocked because voters are."
In response, Henninger said Republicans running for Congress next year should do what they can to force Democratic incumbents "to defend the president's creeping authoritarianism."
He also warned that the president's recent travels and speeches playing to the middle class are aimed at attracting support from independent voters, a key voting bloc for Democrats if they hope to win back control of the House next year.
"If that happens — and absent a more public, aggressive Republican voice it may — an unchecked, unbalanced presidential system will finally arrive," Henninger concluded.
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