Obama’s Ping-Pong Paddle Presidency of Executive Action


Posted on February 20, 2014 by Ruth O’Brien

Whack, whack, whack.  Hear the sound of Obama’s textbook executive actions paddling all the politicians who are sabotaging his administration (trying to squash him and his administration like a pumpkin).

Now, Obama was unable to use the threat of executive action very effectively, so he’s not practicing the ping-pong paddle justice that my mother wielded more effectively (i.e. the threat, not the use, of this power).

Nonetheless, Obama is using his ping-pong paddle justice as effectively as possible in this stage of his second term.  If he’s not stretching the regs of the EEOC by bringing an international crime against humanity — the global sex trade — into the federal domain, he’s trying to find new regs for the “neutral web” that a federal appeals court just destroyed.

Of course, Obama is surrounded by conflicts over the dilemmas associated with bicameralism, federalism, and separation of powers.  Even his form of federalism is not straightforward; it’s diagonal and horizontal, as I covered in my Out of Many, One: Obama and the Third American Political Tradition, about his first administration.

Even more significant, of course, is how his administration prepared for it. This was what I admired about parts of his first run, his first administration (the domestic side), and his second run.  That admiration for the administration lasted only until we discovered Edward J. Snowden — and Obama’s refusal to be on the right side of history when it comes to international security.

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About Ruth O'Brien

Professor Ruth O'Brien, The Graduate Center, The City University of New York (CUNY) & Honorary Unaffiliated Academic Book Series Editor for The Public Square, Princeton University Press & Heretical Thought, Oxford University Press, USA Last book: Out of Many, One: Obama & the Third American Political Tradition (U of Chicago 2013). Nickname: Professorette by Rush Limbaugh (see http://www.gc.cuny.edu/Faculty/Core-Bios/Ruth-O-Brien)

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