Bully Pulpit

Obama Embraces Executive Power

With Congress deadlocked, President Obama is increasingly resorting to executive orders and recess appointments to achieve his objectives. Last fall, after the summer’s debt-deal negotiations, Obama told aides they needed to do be more aggressive about executive power and coined the slogan “We can’t wait.” Since then Obama has pushed through dozens of new policies aimed at things like jobs for veterans, preventing drug shortages, and easing the terms on student loans. Obama is set to unveil another such executive order—aimed at foreign nationals’ use of cellphone tracking and Internet monitoring to carry out human-rights abuses—later today. But the strategy opens Obama up to charges that he’s concentrating too much power in the executive branch and deprives him of the ability to blame Congress when he issues an order unpopular with his base, like overruling the EPA’s anti-smog rules.