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The thinnest skins


The New York Times editorial board issued a very silly missive entitled “Ease Up on the Executive Actions, Joe”:

A week into his presidency, Mr. Biden has issued a raft of executive orders and other actions. Already, he has committed to rejoining the Paris climate change agreement, ended the Muslim travel ban, canceled the permit for the Keystone XL pipeline, rescinded funding for and halted construction on the wall at the southern border, reaffirmed the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, mandated mask-wearing on federal grounds, moved to end the federal government’s reliance on private prisons, reversed the ban on transgender military service and called for agency assessments aimed at advancing racial equity — just to name a few. The coming days will bring more such action.


But this is no way to make law. 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. They do not create new law — though executive orders carry the force of law — and they 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.

The point that achieving policy gains through statute is preferable to doing so through executive order is both true and irrelevant, so long marginal Senate Dems refuse to eliminate the filibuster. (Omitted from this op-ed: “Mitch McConnell.”) Yes, I’ve seen the LBJ video; in 1965 the Senate had 68 Democrats and the Senate Minority Leader sincerely thought that voters would punish them if they didn’t work with the victorious administration, as opposed to the cynical nihilist currently leading a caucus that can rarely achieve consensus on their own alleged priorities Biden has to deal with. Nor does the board indicate a single priority that could could get ten Republican votes in the Senate; it’s all just jagoff hand-waving that in practice would allow Senate fake-moderates to grind things to a halt while achieving nothing. Don’t worry; everyone involved in this editorial will still be getting paid and can work from home.

Biden’s comms director gently pointed this out:

Predictably, this led to Times people whining like the doctor didn’t give them a lolly:

Boo hoo hoo hoo hoo hoo. Having said that, would you want to defend “Biden, during a massive public health and economic crisis, should wait around while Republicans go through every type of cheese their shop, which is most assuredly full of cheese, happens to be out of stock of right now” on the merits? Whining that people with power are reading your stuff is dignified by comparison.

Anyway, the important thing is that Uncle Joe just wants the money machine to go brrrr even if it makes Manhattan High Broderites sad:

That’s the stuff.

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