The L.A. Times reports that President Obama will be relying a lot on the executive order to bypass Congress next year, if Republicans retake one or both houses:
Rahm Emanuel, a former member of Congress who helped establish the Democratic majority in the House, resigned last week as White House chief of staff. His successor, for now, is Pete Rouse, a former congressional aide who has never held elective office.
Rouse won’t emulate Emanuel, who was able to negotiate with lawmakers as a peer. Instead, the interim chief of staff will have a more operational role.
Winning passage of legislation wasn’t easy for Obama, even with Democrats in firm control of both houses of Congress. Conditions will get tougher if, as expected, the Republicans pick up seats in the midterm election next month, or possibly take control of Congress.
“Whether or not the Republicans take over majorities in one or both houses, the margins will be so much narrower that the strategy of putting together a Democratic bill and picking off a handful of Republicans to push it over the top won’t be viable anymore,” said William Galston, senior fellow at the Brookings Institution.
So the best arena for Obama to execute his plans may be his own branch of government. That means more executive orders, more use of the bully pulpit, and more deployment of his ample regulatory powers and the wide-ranging rulemaking authority of his Cabinet members.
As the New York Times quoted Clinton aide Paul Begala in 1998, ”Stroke of the pen, law of the land. Kind of cool.”
And as with the Gray Lady’s tacit approval of President Clinton’s reliance on the executive order post-1994, don’t expect much grief from the legacy media if Obama adopts an identical approach, despite all of the endless cries of “imperial presidency” during the years of President Bush.