In an interview with NPR, Obama — who said in 2014 he doesn’t need the legislative process because “I’ve got a pen and I’ve got a phone” and whose press secretary said in 2015 that the White House doesn’t “need Congress to approve” the Iran deal — said his “strong preference” has always been to work with Congress.
But it turns out that when Congress didn’t want to work with him–such as when the Republicans took control after seeing what a Democrat Congress and Obama could accomplish together–suddenly it was time to pick up the phone and skin the cat another way.
In terms of total numbers, Obama has not used executive orders as frequently as one might think. But some of those orders have been very significant, making the “pen and phone” approach seem a lot more well-used than it actually is.
For what it’s worth, Murdoc’s been saying for some time that–regardless of who won the election–it would be nice to see Congress roll back the power of the Office of the President at least a little bit. I expected that even if the Dems didn’t retake the Senate this time around, that push-back against President Trump would lead to Dem majorities in both houses after the 2018 elections.
Looking at the Democratic reaction to this past election, though, and the attitude of many Dem voters and pundits, it seems increasingly unlikely that the Left is going to mount a serious effort in time for 2018 unless Trump really screws the pooch.