President Obama has vowed to bypass Congress and govern by the stroke of his pen and the bark of phone orders in place of the law. But a new IBD/TIPP poll shows the public is getting very wary of such abuses.
With a confidence about the rightness of his ideas, the president declared Tuesday at his first Cabinet meeting of the year that "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."
Referring to plans to shovel more pork at the country's failing schools and more cash at business in a bid to pick winners and losers, the president vowed to "sign executive orders and executive and administrative actions that move the ball forward."
But according to this month's IBD/TIPP Poll, that is precisely what the respondents do not want. Asked "if Congress doesn't take action on an issue, would you approve or disapprove of President Obama using his executive powers to act on his own," 55% disapproved of such fiat rule. A mere 41% said they'd approve, and 3% weren't sure.
A far higher percentage of Republicans (91%) said they disapproved, in contrast with the 74% of Democrats who approved. And independents disapproved of executive freelancing by a 2-to-1 ratio, with 62% saying no vs. 32% saying yes.
The older the respondent, the less likely the respondent was to trust a president who gives himself unlimited executive power. Among those 65 and over, 60% disapproved of Obama using executive powers to act on his own vs. 49% of the 18-to-24 set.
None of this seems to bother President Obama, who repeated the same talking points about acting exclusively in an appearance Wednesday at a manufacturing institute in North Carolina.
"Where I can act on my own, without Congress, I'm going to do so. And today, I'm here to act," he said, to what the Soviets would call "thunderous and prolonged applause."
Mark Levin, radio host and constitutional expert, has warned that Obama's refusal to recognize the separation of powers could only be the start of dictatorship, calling it "a gradual, quiet coup."
He's right, and so is the public. This is not a land of one-man rule. It's a representative democracy that deserves much, much better than what Obama contemplates.