Fast Focus: 'Does Obama overuse the executive order?' Not the change we expected

February 9, 2014 

Obama's promise to "fundamentally change America" has, after five years, degenerated into the end-around skirmishes that executive orders entail. First, let's get some facts straight; Obama has issued fewer executive orders than either presidents Bush or Clinton (although that may change). Nonetheless, executive orders do have the force of law (by gunpoint, if necessary). And they do not require any distasteful dealings with that intransigent body, the Congress. Furthermore, Obama doesn't have to run for re-election, so he can do pretty much as he pleases. Sort of like a monarch.

The great expectations that many had for Obama are now mostly gone, replaced with finger pointing and scapegoating. Why did he fail? This is actually not hard to determine; he had no executive or federal office experience (no, running for the presidency while senator does not count). Some cited his community organizer activities as "experience," which has basically been how he has spent his time in office. He has no stomach for process of consensus building, as it involves negotiating with those hated Republicans, even though Clinton did.

Obama's signature accomplishment, Obamacare, is now detested by the vast majority of Americans, and for good reason. It has dramatically increased the cost of health insurance with no net reduction in the uninsured. Its rollout will forever be identified with utter and complete governmental incompetence. And for good reason: Obama had four years and more than $600 million to get it right, and still fumbled the ball. Entire Internet companies such as Amazon and Facebook have been successfully started in shorter time periods for far less money.

How could this happen to someone who is arguably the most tech-savvy president in U.S. history? Enter the Reality Distortion Field of Star Trek lore, which is the ability of a charismatic person to convince those around him of virtually anything. Think about it, how can you offer more benefits and have it cost less -- a lot less?

Now his threat to go it alone with executive orders borders on the pathetic. He seems to have lost his way without a compass to recover.

-- TOM SEIM, Richland

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