By Colonel Mike Angley
“We’re not just going to be waiting for legislation in order to make sure that we’re providing Americans the kind of help they need. I’ve got a pen and I’ve got a phone, and I can use that pen to sign executive orders and take executive actions and administrative actions that move the ball forward.” ~President Barack Obama, January 14, 2014
When President Obama uttered these words he was expressing frustration at the Republican Party, the Opposition Party, for, well, OPPOSING him. To be fair, from this author’s perspective the GOP-controlled Congress never fought Barack Obama nearly enough. But apparently the President’s skin is thinner than most and any rejection of his agenda, however slight, was enough to bring him to employ extraordinary, extra-Constitutional measures: the mighty pen and phone.
His ink and dial tone solution was designed precisely to bypass the Legislative Branch, Constitution be damned! Who needs lawmakers when the Chief Executive – employing the tactics of a dictator or petulant prince – can simply flick his Bic and legislate from the Oval Office via fiat? What’s more amazing is that in the three years since he uttered these incredibly alarming words, there’s been little outrage from the Congress. Every ounce of power the Executive misappropriates from the Legislature inflicts a ton of damage to the Constitution. Normally the three branches of government ferociously fight for their power and guard their rice bowls like rabid dogs. But not with Obama. A feckless People’s House and Senate looked away and allowed the bully to run amok in THEIR playground.
One would expect Congressional Republicans to take a pugilistic stance and use checks and balances to corral the President. The Congress has the power: of the purse, to advise and consent on key nominations, to override vetoes, to investigate and call witnesses, to hold in contempt, and to impeach (they took impeachment off the table in an early surrender). There was never any serious attempt to do anything to stop him shy of some investigative committees. Congressional Democrats reliably cheered on Obama from the sidelines, relishing the opportunities they had to surrender their power to a president from their own party. Left wing ideology trumps that outdated piece of parchment our Founding Fathers treasured, after all.
So the rampage went on, really for eight years. It didn’t start with President Obama’s January 2014 proclamation of pen-and-phone-philia. Those words merely gave confirmation to what we already knew. Whether it was through the agency regulatory process or executive orders, Obama made things happen to the detriment of liberty. He even bastardized the legal meaning and effect of the executive order process. An executive order is a directive to the agencies within the Executive Branch on how they are to comply with federal law that has been implemented through the proper Constitutional process. It is not new law, nor can it go beyond existing law in what it directs. Interestingly, Obama coined a new term, ‘Executive Action,’ and with it he asserted for himself the ability to establish de facto new law. There is no such thing as an executive action, yet he signed plenty of them.
That was then, but now we are on the cusp of a new administration. This author makes one prediction: the same Constitution the Democrats trampled, set fire to, shred, spit upon, cursed at, or simply ignored for the last eight years will suddenly find its status elevated to that of the Holy Grail. Should President Trump attempt to usurp Legislative Branch authority via ‘pen and phone’ the wailing and gnashing of teeth will be heard worldwide. As a corollary to this prediction, expect the reliable Republican-in-Name-Only (RINO) crowd to join in the outcry. The same RINOs who meekly acquiesced to Obama will find the courage to oppose President Trump faster than a Cowardly Lion in Oz.
This author actually hopes President Trump resets things a bit and rejects the extra-Constitutional authority Obama employed. He should be able to accomplish what he needs via the GOP-controlled Congress. He should use his pen to sign laws and his phone to call the troops and wish them well. Laws are much harder for a future President to undo than any order or action his predecessor inked.
The duplicity won’t stop with the actions of President Trump. The Senate ‘Nuclear Option’ implemented by Harry Reid when he was the Majority Leader will come under fire from the same Democrats who enjoyed the 51-vote threshold it implemented for certain nominations and other processes. Republicans will be rebuked, drawn and quartered, and frog marched to the gallows every time they try it. Expect its most ardent liberal supporters to revise history and attempt a Jedi Mind control trick to convince the public they always opposed the Nuclear Option even when video of them gushing over its use will be available for anyone who cares to look at it.
Similarly, the Democrat Party’s official Propaganda Arm (the mainstream media) will join in the fray and run panels 24/7 with legal ‘scholars’ and Constitutional ‘experts’ to question everything President Trump and the GOP Congress do. Perhaps his annual Thanksgiving Day Turkey Pardon will draw scrutiny and back-to-back CNN legal segments on Presidential Pardons. Ad nauseam.
Buckle up for Constitution 101. The first day of class is January 20, 2017. The syllabus is simple: every action by President Trump and the GOP Congress is immediately unconstitutional. Just give the Democrats and the media enough time to find the reasons why. They will, even if it means contradicting everything they’ve said and done for the last eight years.
Colonel Michael (“Mike”) Angley is retired from the United States Air Force, a published thriller author, and a conservative writer who fashions himself as Attila the Hun with a laptop. Mike wrote for Andrew Breitbart’s Big Government and Big Peace blogs before the Breitbart consolidation, receiving superb feedback and kudos for typically weaving in pop culture references with his far right perspectives. He enjoys writing about military affairs, national security issues, and politics and is an avid Second Amendment advocate. When he’s not writing, he’s busy annoying liberals with FaceBook posts and Twitter tweets that point out the obvious flaws and fallacies of the left.
During his 26-year USAF career, the Colonel was a Special Agent with the Office of Special Investigations (OSI). The OSI is a sister agency to the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) and has an identical mission that includes felony-level criminal, fraud, and narcotics investigations as well as counterintelligence and counterterrorism operations. His USAF experiences spanned multiple regions around the globe with five command assignments and duties at foreign, regional, theater and national levels.
He is a seasoned counterintelligence and counterespionage officer from the Cold War era, and if you ask him he’ll tell you the spy-vs-spy days were indeed the heady, glory era of espionage. During the latter half of his career he focused on counterterrorism missions in the Middle East and the Far East and operationalized many of today’s concepts for this unique arena while working the sand dunes of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and a few other “choice” locations. When Colonel Angley retired in 2007, he was a Senior Supervisory Special Agent and was in command of all worldwide OSI matters at Air Force Space Command in Colorado Springs, CO.
Mike Angley is also a published, award-winning author of three thriller novels in the “Child Finder” trilogy. His debut novel, “Child Finder,” received a glowing review from the Library Journal which placed it on its Summer Reading list in 2009. “Child Finder” and its companion sequel novels all won various awards from the Military Writers Society of America (MWSA) and the Public Safety Writers Association. In 2012, Mike was named MWSA’s “Author of the Year,” largely for work on his third novel, “Child Finder: Revelation.”
As an avid user of social media, Mike can be found and friended on Facebook (mike.angley) and followed on Twitter (@MikeAngley). His website is www.mikeangley.com. Following his USAF retirement, Mike and his family stayed in Colorado Springs, CO where they enjoy daily, majestic views of Pikes Peak and the Rocky Mountains.