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Obama, Imperialist By Fiat

January 29, 2013 by  

Obama, Imperialist By Fiat

Historian Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr. wrote “The Imperial Presidency” in 1973 to call to attention President Richard Nixon’s vast abuses of executive authority to circumvent Constitutional limitations of the office. Democrats have since described a number of Republican Presidents, including Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush as being imperial Presidents. But as Barack Obama continues to push the limits of Presidential power, those who have traditionally rallied against the onset of Presidential imperialism are noticeably silent.

In an updated edition of his treatise against Presidential imperialism, Schlesinger writes:

The Imperial Presidency reached a twentieth-century climax with Nixon. The post-Watergate reaction cut back on some presidential excesses. None of Nixon’s successors, for example, used emergency powers against political opponents. The presidency of Jimmy Carter even led to concerns about the impotency of the office. “We have not an imperial presidency,” former president Gerald Ford said in 1980, “but an imperiled presidency.” But such lamentations were soon refuted when Ronald Reagan showed that a president with only a misty understanding of issues could still dominate the government and lead the country.

In a 2004 re-issue of “The Imperial Presidency”, Schlesinger added more recent abuses of Presidential power, including the vast expansion of power laid out in the Patriot Act and Bush’s unConstitutional wars.  Schlesinger died in 2007 before the onset of the Obama Administration. But even though Schlesinger was a lifelong Democrat, most historians would probably argue that the Obama Presidency fits into his definition of the imperial President.

Last Friday a U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington D.C. ruled unConstitutional the power grab Obama made just over a year ago when he made three appointments to the National Labor Relations Board and appointed a director to the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau—all of which required “advice and consent” of the Senate per the Constitution—unilaterally. Obama justified the appointments by using the Appointments Clause of the U.S. Constitution, which allows the President to “fill up all vacancies that may happen during the recess of the Senate, by granting commissions which shall expire at the end of their next session.” But when Obama made those appointments, the Senate was in session.

“Allowing the president to define the scope of his own appointment power would eviscerate the Constitution’s separation of powers,” Chief Judge David Sentelle wrote in the 46-page ruling.

The case will likely go to the Supreme Court.

Another example of President Obama’s imperialist tendencies occurred last year when he consulted the United Nations, and not Congress, in deciding to engage in what boiled down to a preemptive war in Libya.

The current President’s foreign and domestic policy procedures for combating terrorist threats (i.e. NDAA, remnants of the Patriot Act, drone strikes in countries where the U.S. isn’t at war and the killing of American citizens) fall almost in lockstep with the policies that earned Bush the title “Imperialist President.”

The President has vowed to push an ambitious second-term agenda—complete with draconian new gun control policies— with “a judicious use of executive power” if Congress fails to comply with his wishes.

“[W]hat I do see is that there are certain issues where a judicious use of executive power can move the argument forward or solve problems that are of immediate-enough import that we can’t afford not to do it,” Obama said in a recent interview.

And the President’s willingness to act unilaterally is evidenced by his use of signing statements and executive actions— like his 2012 order that barred the deportation of young illegal immigrants to the country. More recently, the President deemed the mass shooting incidents that have sparked the Nation’s current debate over gun control as being “of immediate-enough import” to issue 23 separate Presidential directives related to gun ownership.

It remains to be seen just how imperial the Presidency could become under an Obama unworried about the challenges of reelection. Many conservatives fear that every Federal agency is rife for abuse via executive fiat in the coming years, especially if Congress remains as ineffective as it was during Obama’s first term.

Sam Rolley

Staff writer Sam Rolley began a career in journalism working for a small town newspaper while seeking a B.A. in English. After learning about many of the biases present in most modern newsrooms, Rolley became determined to find a position in journalism that would allow him to combat the unsavory image that the news industry has gained. He is dedicated to seeking the truth and exposing the lies disseminated by the mainstream media at the behest of their corporate masters, special interest groups and information gatekeepers.

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  • Warrior

    Well Rand, it’s not too late to start a “Constitution Caucus”. Everyone else appears to have one. I would be VERY interested to see who might join. Go for it!

    • deerinwater

      I’m disappointed in Rand Paul ~ he’s not ready for the big league yet. ~ I was of the opinion he was a stronger player then what he’s show us to be.

    • Nancy in Nebraska

      LEARN about Constitutional Convention before you advocate for one!!!!!!! Very dangerous!!!!!!!

      • Warrior

        I’m not saying convention, I’m just insinuating that conservatives need their own caucus in Congress similiar to every other “perceived” minority. One that adheres to constitutional principles.

  • figmo

    If obama is king the republicans are the palace eunuchs. It’s time for a new party to replace these inefectual wimps who cave in to obama on every issue. It would be so easy to go one step further in the court system and get an injunction or an order from the court ordering obama to cease his illegal conduct. Instead, they get what amounts to an advisory opinion by a court and obama ignores it because he is not under the threat of going to jail for contempt.

    • Don 2


      I agree. The time has definitely come for a new party.

    • ibcamn

      Figmo,they do their job,unfortunetly,they are being bullied by Obama and being castrated in the media.the people keep hearing king Obama say”the republicans don’t want to play ball or do a bipartisin vote or agreement!”that’s because they are trying to do their job,but the press and public(yes you)are bitching so much you aren’t hearing the wrench they toss into Obama’s works!and yes they bent on a few things they should not have,a-holes.but for the most part they are doing their best and know they may be headed out the door,but they are messing up the kings attempt to kill America and build up HIS vision of a NWO!Obama is villafing all conservatives and republicans in the media,they have too many fronts to fight on!

      • Nancy in Nebraska

        The republicans are OWNED by the same people that OWN the democrats!!! They are following the SAME agenda!!! They were bought and sold a long time ago by the money people who control everything!!! The PEOPLE need A party, ANY party!!! We have NO representation!!!

  • Deerinwater

    Sams says, “Another example of President Obama’s imperialist tendencies occurred last year when he consulted the United Nations, and not Congress, in deciding to engage in what boiled down to a preemptive war in Libya.”

    I guess you can call that “imperialist tendencies ”

    I call it a prerogative, something that all presidents have. ~ The speed needed to react exclude congress. ~ That’s a lacking on the part of Congress to render a prompt decision of major importance.

    You can’t use horses to do the work of oxen and vise a verse . You can try, ~ but it won’t work out very well for you.

    • Chuck S

      I think the war powers act required him to consult with Congress within 90 days after starting a military action, and he didn’t.

      Side issue, I think we shouldn’t have backed the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, Libya, or Syria.,Maybe Congress would have agreed if they had the chance.

    • TML

      Sams says, “Another example of President Obama’s imperialist tendencies occurred last year when he consulted the United Nations, and not Congress, in deciding to engage in what boiled down to a preemptive war in Libya.”

      Deerinwater says “I guess you can call that “imperialist tendencies ”

      It is without a doubt imperialist. Not only was it a violation of the War Powers Act, as Chuck pointed out, but there was no clear and present danger to the security of the United States that warranted such “prerogative” to take military action without consent from Congress. It was the deliberate overthrow of a sovereign ruler. There is no other rightful word for what happened than imperialism.

      You are also missing the point that he sought council of the United Nations instead of Congress which dissolves your argument of “prerogative”. He could have just as easily sought the council of Congress but chose not to, which is a violation to the sworn oath by submitting, or showing preference, to a foreign power.

  • Gary L

    The difference between the two parties doesnt mean crap. They are so much alike they are virtually the same. They are both so consumed with politics that they are watching the country whirl around and around a porcelain bowl and they do nothing about it. America is doomed.

  • R. Fine

    In fact Imperialism is the situation when one nation extends its power overseas. It may be militarily or economically or both. In extreme forms we had the British Empire which actually settled large areas of the world far beyond its shores. George W. Bush was a semi imperialist having attacked, invaded, and occupied both Iraq and Afghanistan. He also sent large naval forces to the Persian Gulf. Granted most Americans feel/felt that these actions were necessary but try to imagine American reaction if, say, a foreign power, say Russia, established a foothold in, say, Cuba just off the American coast. That’s purely hypothetical you understand but my guess is that Americans would be at least mildly upset if that ever happened! (By the way the largest U.S. military base overseas happens to be IN CUBA and there are possibly at least a couple of Cubans who think that is an example of American Imperialism).

    In any case President Obama as everyone knows has wound down U.S. involvement in Iraq and is in the process of doing so in Afghanistan. During the Lybia crisis he was able to achieve U.S. aims by getting other nations to do the fighting which was rather clever actually. The point is Obama is the opposite to an Imperial president.

    • ibcamn

      America has been circling the drain for decades,but started getting worse with this political correctness garbage!when that was made up and forced on Americans,that’s when it really became noticable to me(more than before)again!we started breeding [expletive deleted] and whimps!and the progressives just waited to jump on this messed up whimpifing of America,and they did it with a wannabe king and a lot of money(and bribes,threats etc,)why you think all the exc. orders are flying off the kings desk in the middle of the night or when no ones looking?what is he up to now,23 on the gun grab and 19 one regulations?some other #’s but i’m not sure.welcome to the world you liberal pukes wanted and got on your knees for!it’s cuming!………..

  • deerinwater

    Obama is Guilty of doing what every other President of our nation has done. ~ Lead while under constant opposition.

    Opposition is suppose to howl, cry, pi$$ and moan. Otherwise we’d all just be taking a cruise on the “Good Ship Lollipop”

    As far as the ruling on these recent Presidential appointments, I have no problem with it. ~ allow the system in place to come to a final ruling on the matter. ~

    But this more like shooting yourself in the foot just because you mad at someone. We limit the power of this president, we limit the power of all future Presidents.

    Since our Congress is doing such a great job ~ why not?

  • TIME

    Dear People,

    Under a TRUE ~ “DICATATORSHIP” ~ EO’s are the method of RULE over the GOYM,

    Now ~ the question is really quite simple ~ when will all of you wake up and get that point?

    It makes no differance what POTUS signs the EO ~ or what ever name they use for this format of RULE, its still nothing more ~ nor less than ~ a ” DICATATORSHIP.”

    How damm clear do you need it to be?

    To all of you: Please google the following persons below ~ review the solid evidence they gave you for as TOOLS.
    You will note: that what they are telling you ~ is what I have been telling you for the last few years now.
    { Guess what Folks,} these two men were “EXECUTED” by your special EO writers,
    When will you get the damm picture into your gray matter?

    William / Bill Cooper
    William / Billy Foust

    Would you all PLEASE > just Google these mens youtube feeds and learn something probative in value about whats wrong, as well WTF is really going on..
    If you don’t know what roles you play, how in the hell will you know who your fighting?

    Also look into: David Wynn Miller.

    Look people, there is NO “two party system” ~ its One Body, One head, with two faces, But with the same goal as the end result!

    PLEASE wake up!

    Peace and Love, Shalom

  • securityman

    If obama gets’ his way, he will use his exec. orders to stage a coup. he is not worried about getting re-elected cause he will become pres. for life if we let him get away with it……

    • mark

      Never gonna happen. By the way the way, President Obama in his little over four years has issued 147 Presidential executive orders which puts him at about the same pace of President George W. Bush who issued 291 and a little behind the pace of Bill Clinton who issued 364. Ronald Reagan issued 381 executive orders ahead of both his predecessors and Dwight D. Eisenhower issued 484, a piker compared to Harry Truman who issued 907 and conservative Republicans Herbert Hoover’s 968 or Calvin Coolidge’s 1203 in just 5 years. But the all-time championk without doubt, was Franklin D. Roosevelt who issued 3522 in his roughly 12 years in office. This expansion of executive power has been going on for over a century and certainly cannot be blamed on President Obama who is rather modest in his use of these orders compared to many of his predecessors. For documentation, see:

      • TIME

        Dear mark,

        As per your own words as well numbers all set within your post you proved beyond any question just what I have been posting now for years,

        We have had a “DICTATORSHIP” for well over 150 years now.

        But Saddly: it was ~ Wilson, FDR, Clinton, GWB and BARRY who have amassed the most vile as well malicious EO’s thus far, ( well that is other than Lincoln) ~ who’s EO’s we are still under to this very day, ~ > the one that is most Vile is: > { “Martial Law” }
        POSTED on September 24th ~1862, of what still remains in effect to this very day:
        { January 29th 2013.} Thats 151 YEARS people!

        Will you all PLEASE wake up.

        In plain words people we have had a Dictarorship for 151 years, saddly now its starting to really clamp down, this should make its self quite known to even the most mindless of the sheep, if they would just look at the damage that has been done to all of us.
        { A Marxist Police State is not FREEDOM. }

        What will all of you do when you have “REAL FREEDOM?”

        When you have what this nation was really founded on?

        Can you handle ~ all the “responsibility” that TRUE FREEDOM requires?

        That means the Nanny state will be over with, as in No form of Government aid, what we all call Government aid is simply nothing more nor less than ~ robbing Peter to pay Paul

        Peace and Love, Shalom


    Barack Obama is a deeply troubled personality, the megalomaniac front man for a postmodern coup by the intelligence agencies, using fake polls, mobs of swarming adolescents, super-rich contributors, and orchestrated media hysteria to short-circuit normal politics and seize power.

    Obama comes from the orbit of the Ford Foundation, and has never won public office in a contested election. His guru and controller is Zbigniew Brzezinski, the deranged revanchist and Russia-hater who dominated the catastrophic Carter presidency 30 years ago. All indications are that Brzezinski recruited Obama at Columbia University a quarter century ago. Trilateral Commission co-founder Brzezinski wants a global showdown with Russia and China far more dangerous for the United States than the Bush-Cheney Iraq adventure.

    Obama’s economics are pure Skull & Bones/Chicago school austerity and sacrifice for American working families, all designed to bail out the bankrupt Wall Street elitist financiers who own Obama. Obama’s lemming legions and Kool-Aid cult candidacy hearken back to Italy in 1919-1922, and raise the question of postmodern fascism in the United States today.

    Obama is a recipe for a world tragedy!!!

    • mark

      Uh, excuse me, the Bush administration called for and enacted the massive Wall Street and banking industry bail-out in September 2008 – not President Obama. President George W. Bush and his Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson pleaded with Congress to put TARP through which they did four months before Obama took the oath of office.

  • mark

    What a lot of nonsense this article is. When the recess appointment case goes to the Supreme Court, if upheld, Obama will follow the Constitution and dismiss the appointees. This is simply following the Constittuional process wherein our Supreme Court determines the boundaries and limits of power between the branches of government. As to Obama going to the UN, of course Truman did the exact same thing before the1950 intervention in Korea as did George H.W. Bush before the 1990-91 Gulf War, but Rolley makes zero mention of either of these very well known historical cases, trying to create the false impression of that Obama set a new precedent which he did not. Rolley also conveniently fails to mention that the Libyan operation was an overwhelmingly NATO – not a UN -operation.

    Then Rolley adds the kicker: Obama’s “draconian new gun control policies” Please, his proposals are remarkably modest – not draconian. Tighter background checks and a 10 bullet limit on magazines – draconian? Banning semi-automatic Assault Guns was already done from 1994 to 2004 under Presidents Clinton and George W. Bush with zero effect on ” the End of American Freedom.”. Obama calls for no ban on any other types of weapons. Gun control advocates are deeply disappointed with the severe limits of his proposed legislation. Finally, of course, zero mention from Rolley that Obama has withdrawn all of our forces from one illegal unConstituional war prosecuted by President Bush in Iraq and will have all our forces out by next year from another illegal unConstituional war initiated by that Republican darling in Afghanistan. It is President Obama who is ending U.S. participation in these unConstitutional wars. Not fast enough for my and many Americans’ wishes but accomplishing these important withdrawals nonetheless.


    Obama is a foundation operative and an agent of Wall Street finance capital, controlled by Zbigniew Brzezinski, George Soros, and Goldman Sachs. Obama’s mother was an official of the Ford Foundation, the World Bank, and US AID. By all indications, Obama was identified for future political use by Brzezinski at Columbia in 1981-1983, during Obama’s secret lost years.

    Obama has worked for the Gamaliel Foundation, the Joyce Foundation, the Woods Fund, and the Annenberg Foundation as a community organizer – a poverty pimp, a cynical opportunist who uses suffering people as a political commodity. The foundation strategy is divide and conquer, pitting blacks against whites against Hispanics against Asians, to prevent any challenge to Wall Street.

    Racist provocateurs like Wright and Pfleger, along with Weatherman terrorist bombers Ayers and Dohrn, Obama’s best friends, are cast in this mold. Rezko, Auchi, and Al-Sammarae represent the cesspool of Chicago graft and corruption in which Obama cavorts. Schooled in Nietzsche and Fanon, Obama qualifies as a postmodern fascist.

    An Obama administration would strive for brutal economic sacrifice and austerity to finance Wall Street bailouts, and for imperialist confrontation with Russia and China!!!


    The problem with liberals is that they are blinded by “labels”. You could place the label “liberal” on a pile of dung, and the hapless-liberal will fall to his knees in worship…hence, the feverish-worship of Obama; who is not necessarily a pile of dung, but rather, a Fascist masquerading as a liberal!

    • mark

      Yes but much of the same can be said, of course, about conservatives. You can put a conservative label on a pile of dung and conservatives would worship it also. So what’s your point?

      • Nadzieja Batki

        That collective worship of a pile of dung is a character trait of Dems/Progs/Leftists. Conservatives or Libertarians are Individualistic in their natures hence would not do what you claim.

    • Chauncey Freeman

      When fascism comes to America, it will be carrying a rainbow peace sign wrapped in the Union Label. AND IT HAS.

      • R. Fine

        It’s clear you do not understand the meaning of the word fascism.

    • Chauncey Freeman

      PLEASE stop calling the rigidly ideological, intolerant and divisive, lock-step leftist, neo-Bolshevik statist apostates “liberals” PLEASE! They are anything but liberal.

  • Don

    remember the constitution was set up with a balance of power. the executive the judicial and the legislative. seems with the obunhole administration has abused the powers of the executive branch. he is more or less trying to set himself up as the total power. hell of it is that we voted him aback in. i did’nt vote for him twice. too bad there is’nt a way to take all the polititions who abuse their powers and run the out with impeachment. obunhole , fienstien and pelosi would be at the top of the list right along wit tons of other power abusing officials. i hope in future people start looking at all candidates and their agendas then vote them out if they do not fit. our president has set himself up like royalty gravving for power in every way he can.too bad people like pat buchanan, ross perot , ron paul could’nt get the presidency. if they had it might be a better world right now. we need some thing different than we have now. the 3 i mentioned were not backed by big bankers and business so the would have never gotten nominated or elected president. voters are ignorant. they vote in beauty padgent like elections and the big boys feed it to em. most of the population don’t know the vote beats the buck. we could have it better in this country

  • Mary

    We need another party, that don’t take sides and just does what America needs to go forward, and out of politics, and out of debt if we can save America still!

  • http://midcontent ridge runner

    Either you have poor reading comphensive skills, or don’t read or listen to Dave Letterman and his communist buds, to try and learn something from ifoit on late night. You should know if you go to a library there are recordings on history, politics, every day facts, instead of the socialist/communist BS from CNN,CBS, NBC, and their ilk that don’t know and will not report what a puke we have in the WH and what a bunch of sorry SOBs in the democrat party since its first rigging of elections. Democraps always want total government control of us and everything we do,think and say.

  • Chauncey Freeman

    Schlessinger was an effete, drooling elitist, revisionist hack and neo-Marxist apologist and agent provocateur of the extreme left wing of the democrat party. He did not have the integrity nor objectivity to apply the same standard to King Louis and Michelle Antoinette Obama whom I’m sure made him wet his depends in globalist glee. Even as a child the repeat and almost habitual inclusion of the crusty, bow-tie wearing Schlessinger as resident “historical expert” in countless Hollywood produced documentaries about America sickened me as I could tell by his fawning over figures like JFK, advancing the myth of “Camelot” that he was about as credible an historian as would be Kim Jung Il. A minister of mass misinformation who’s mission has been picked up by the supercilious Doris Kerns Goodwin and Michael Beschloss who never met an anti-American exceptionalism “progressive” of dubious allegiance they didn’t like.

  • btphl

    if the framers of the Constitution spoke to each other the way we speak to each other now, nothing would have gotten done.

    you are an idiot
    when are you going to wake up
    you don’t know what you’re talking about, and so on… very disrespectful

    ” we the people” do not treat each other the way we want our government to treat us.

    Any man who will not be governed by God, shall be ruled by tyrants
    - William Penn

  • Joey

    The Patriot Act’s as alive as it ever was. Obama supports it, and why would he get rid of any of it? Joe Biden wrote the Patriot Act, his VP is personally responsible for it’s existence! And him and Holder are likely using it to spy on anybody he sees as a threat.

    • R. Fine

      They’re out to get you dude. They’re watching you right this minute and they went through your mail before it was delivered today. They even read up all your comments on this site. Good thing you’ve got your gun nearby.


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