Erik Telford
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In 2008, Barack Obama was swept into the White House in large part due to public opposition to President Bush’s heavy-handed use of executive power and accusations that he had circumvented Congress - a constant criticism employed by candidate Obama on the stump.

Consider this quote: “We can no longer wait for Congress to do its job. . . . So where Congress won’t act, I will.”

It sounds like the kind of executive arrogance for which Bush was regularly pilloried by the media and his Democratic opponents. Yet these were not words uttered by President Bush; they were spoken by President Obama on October 29th, 2011 during his weekly radio address.

Since taking office two years ago, the Obama administration has engaged in a pattern of executive power abuse that would make even Richard Nixon blush. In fact, the administration has made a deliberate strategic decision that the only way they can advance their radical leftwing agenda is to circumvent the Congress and openly defy the will of the people. As Julie Pace wrote last week in the Associated Press, “Leaving behind a year of bruising legislative battles, President Barack Obama enters his fourth year in office having calculated that he no longer needs Congress to promote his agenda.”

White House deputy press secretary, Josh Earnest, has even gone so far as to state as a matter of public record that the administration now considers the role of Congress to be optional, saying of legislative action: “that’s no longer a requirement.”

This is a very troubling – not to mention blatantly unconstitutional – approach to governing, one that every American must be made aware of in this critical election year that will decide so much about our country’s future.

Phil Kerpen has been a seminal leader in the critical efforts to inform the public about this administration’s egregious actions that threaten the very foundation of our republic. His recently released book “Democracy Denied: How Obama is Ignoring You and Bypassing Congress to Radically Transform America - and How to Stop Him” is a must-read for every citizen who cares about restoring this country to constitutional principles and setting America back on a path to prosperity.

Kerpen provides the most comprehensive chronicle of the extent to which the administration has resorted to executive power abuse after failing to succeed though the proper legislative action in Congress. Cap-and-trade energy regulations, a government takeover of the internet – so called “Net Neutrality,” and a forced unionization measure known as Card Check, were all efforts that failed to pass through Congress, yet the administration has managed to enact almost wholesale through executive agency action.

In 2010, the American electorate delivered a stunning rebuke to the Obama agenda in a historic wave election that shifted control of Congress firmly into Republican hands. Yet, rather than heed this overwhelming public reproach, the administration has – as Kerpen says – attempted to “turn sidestepping Congress into a political virtue,” and redoubled their efforts through such actions as blocking access to domestic energy, abusive implementation of Obamacare, an all-out assault on property rights, and the list goes on and on…

This type of dictatorial action, in defiance of our constitution and every democratic principle upon which this country was founded, must be ended once and for all. Kerpen sets forth a clear path to a solution that will end executive tyranny – regardless of the political party occupying the White House.

The centerpiece of that solution is the REINS Act. The legislation, sponsored by Senator Rand Paul in the Senate and Congressman Geoff Davis in the House, would reassert the role of Congress, requiring all rules, regulations, and mandates that have a significant economic impact to be approved by the legislative branch before they can become effective. The House passed the bill, H.R. 10, a few weeks ago. The Senate should do the same.

Phil Kerpen has sounded the alarm, now it is up to all of us to stand and take action. It begins with reading “Democracy Denied,” and continues with us spreading the word to our friends, families, and fellow citizens and pressing members of Congress and candidates for Congress to commit to standing up to abuses of power from the executive branch, regardless of party.

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Erik Telford

Erik Telford is Vice-President for Strategic Initiatives and Outreach, at the Franklin Center. Contributions reflect his personal views.