Recently there has been much controversy surrounding President Obama’s Executive Order pertaining to illegal immigration and its modification of immigration policy. Some say his action to stop deportations and grant work permits for some undocumented immigrants exceeds executive authority and bypasses the legislative process. This may raise our curiosity to examine a collection of Obama’s Executive Orders. The overview is even more telling.
Executive Orders, which have the full force of law, have been issued by U.S. Presidents since 1789. Their routine intention is to assist executive branch personnel in carrying out the responsibilities and the day-to- day operations of the federal government. Published in the Federal Register, their number averages around 167 per term over the last 5 presidents.
We can gain a bird’s-eye view of a president’s governing philosophy and style by the review of their Executive Orders. Typically the orders come to the attention of the public only when they’re controversial, but with a close look at even the mundane, we can achieve a glimpse of what lies in the heart and mind of the president.
If we look at the orders in the first year of the Obama administration we see phrases like “create programs,” “ensure Federal programs,” “meet President’s goals,” “coordinate the many federal programs,” “matters deemed appropriate by the president,” and “serve the president.” You’ll only see the private sector mentioned as an after-thought when the advisory councils, replete with representatives from federal departments and agencies, are asked to ‘reach out’ to the private sector to receive input that ensures the advancement of the Federal programs and the President’s goals.
After reading this phraseology and its inferences, quiet alarm bells may sound within us. But the alert may not be receiving our full attention because our thinking about the responsibilities of government has subtly changed, and frankly, we’ve not been as vigilant as we should. We’ve come to accept and tolerate the philosophy of big government as part of America’s political culture. But let’s compare the language just mentioned to that of the first year of President Ronald Reagan’s first term and see if the bells don’t ring more loudly.
In Ronald Reagan’s Executive Orders you’ll read “remove regulatory burdens,” “involve private sector,” “stimulate initiatives by private sector businesses,” “examine unintended regulatory barriers,” “include citizens from private life and state and local governments,” “decrease dependence on government,” “prevent illegal immigration by sea,” “foster greater public-private partnerships,” and “promote private sector leadership.” President Reagan’s goal was to allow Americans and the private sector to thrive, not the federal government. He was in office to serve us, not for the citizens to serve him or the presidential office.
We can’t predict the future of our country, but we do know that presidential candidate Mitt Romney shares Ronald Reagan’s philosophy of less government, fewer regulations, and encouragement of the private sector. And history has judged Ronald Reagan as one of our best leaders who brought optimism, economic prosperity, and pride to America and our way of life.
Let’s remember Ronald Reagan’s words:
Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free. -Ronald Reagan-
And then in November, let’s win one for the Gipper.