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The New York Times dared to venture a little criticism about Biden’s heavy reliance on executive orders and got the back of the hand from the president’s PR flaks.
In truth, it wasn’t very critical. The Times editorial board headlined their piece “Ease up on the Executive Actions, Joe,” which is hardly a call to arms. The editorial was mild in tone — more like a slow student being guided by a caring teacher than a prestigious media outlet taking down someone with nearly unlimited power.
The editors wrote:
A polarized, narrowly divided Congress may offer Mr. Biden little choice but to employ executive actions or see his entire agenda held hostage. These directives, however, are a flawed substitute for legislation. They are intended to provide guidance to the government and need to work within the discretion granted the executive by existing law or the Constitution … [T]hey are not meant to serve as an end run around the will of Congress. By design, such actions are more limited in what they can achieve than legislation, and presidents who overreach invite intervention by the courts.
Presidents who govern by executive action — and that includes the last three chief executives — are failures. Just because something is hard doesn’t mean it’s impossible and looking at the record, none of the last three presidents have tried very hard to work with Congress on all but the issues nearest and dearest to their hearts. Bush was the most successful, largely because the attacks on 9/11 briefly united the country. But outside of Obamacare, what signature legislation did Obama sign? And Trump had his tax cut and a slew of conservative judicial appointments, but literally, nothing else.
The United States is not “ungovernable.” Both parties and their presidents have thrown up their hands and said it’s too hard to get anything done with this gridlock. In fact, presidents love executive orders both from a political and a policy point of view. Look at all the campaign debts Biden has paid off with a few strokes of the pen. And it’s a cheap and easy way to achieve policy objectives.
And Congress? Saying a bill is “dead on arrival” means they don’t have to do anything about the problem the bill is supposed to address. Even something as basic as budgeting money so the government can run is left to a few congressional leaders to hammer out “compromises” that only add a few more zeroes to already unimaginable amounts of money.
There is no legislating. It’s all political theater, with both sides warning of the end of the republic if their opponents get their way.
So it’s notable that the New York Times would whisper a few criticisms of “Joe” (the grandfatherizsation of Biden has begun), if only because they were so obviously in the tank for him during the campaign.
The Biden White House rose up and smote the Times for their apostasy.
While the newspaper framed its criticism sympathetically, communications director Kate Bedingfield cried foul on Twitter.
“As the NYT ed board criticizes President Biden this [morning] for taking swift executive action to reverse the most egregious actions of the Trump Admin, I can’t help but recall that during the primary they encouraged voters to consider what a president could accomplish through exec Action,” she tweeted. “So my question is which actions that the President took to reverse Donald Trump’s executive orders would they have liked to see him not pursue?”
Being a leftist means never having to acknowledge hypocrisy or double standards. So the Times won’t mention anything about calling for an executive order blitz by Biden during the campaign and the Biden campaign will continue the fiction of wanting to work with Congress on controversial issues.
E Pluribus Unum, baby.