One of America's leading authorities on technology and telecom policy, Motley is a writer, television and radio commentator, political and policy strategist, lecturer, debater, activist, and policy advisor to The Heartland Institute.
Latest posts by Seton Motley (see all)
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- Localities Shouldn’t Be Dictating (Inter-)National Policy - July 17, 2019
A hallmark – perhaps the hallmark – of the Barack Obama Administration is the “executive action.” The unilateral changes in law – oft major in size and scope – executed by the Executive Branch. Completely devoid of any Legislative Branch participation.
After the American people repudiated President Obama’s agenda in the 2010 midterm election – by electing a Republican House of Representatives to block it and him – the President famously said “We are not just going to be waiting for legislation in order to make sure that we’re providing Americans the kind of help that they need. I’ve got a pen – and I’ve got a phone. And I can use that pen to sign executive orders and executive actions.”
This isn’t how the Constitution calls for things to be done. Laws are supposed to originate in the Legislative Branch. And you know who knew this? Then-Senator Barack Obama.
When campaigning for the presidency, he said about then-President George W. Bush: “I taught Constitutional law for ten years. I take the Constitution very seriously. The biggest problems we’re facing right now have to do with George Bush trying to bring more and more power into the Executive Branch – and not go through Congress at all. And that’s what I intend to reverse when I am President of the United States of America.”
Once in office, it wasn’t “reverse” – so much as it was “slam it in drive and floor it.”
President Obama has been totally wrong. Senator Obama was exactly right. And “the biggest problems we’re facing right now” – as we enter the post-Obama era – are the far-reaching and wide-ranging damages done by his moves “to bring more and more power into the Executive Branch.”
President Obama’s avalanche of unilateral actions has buried the private sector.
A week ago today, we asked “Election 2016: Do We Really Want Four More Years of This?” Donald Trump’s landmark victory says we do not. We know this – because President-elect Trump routinely campaigned on undoing them.
Donald Trump Repeats Vows To Revoke Obama’s Executive Orders: “I walk in, sign, I don’t have to go through Congress.”
And in fact he does not. If it lives by executive action – it can and should die by executive action.
This applies to all arms of the Leviathan. A week ago today, we focused on President Obama’s FCC: “The FCC is made up of four voting Commissioners and a voting Chairman. The Chairman and two Commissioners are of the President’s Party – two of the opposition Party. So it has been 3-2 Democrat. And Chairman (Tom) Wheeler has jammed through more 3-2 partisan votes than the last five commissions combined. And has done so not on minor issues – but on huge, sweeping power grabs.”
“All-Internet-consuming Network Neutrality was a 3-2 vote. In fact, President Obama put his thumb on the allegedly-independent FCC scale prior to its imposition.
“And the power grab has done what nothing except the September 11th attacks and the 2008 global economic collapse had previously succeeded in doing – depressed investment in Internet infrastructure. So that’s fairly catastrophic company for a regulation to be keeping….
“Apparently feeling that gi-normous assault on Internet Service Providers (ISPs) was insufficient, the FCC decided to create new data-collection rules that apply only to them. And they did so – on a 3-2 vote. Why did the FCC do this? The rules are much harsher and more stringent than the rules for Obama Administration cronies like Google, Netflix and Facebook – meaning data sales for the cronies became as a result exponentially easier. How’s that for equal protection before the law? (Well, the unilateral fiat?)
“The FCC’s assault on the copyright protections of television programming was also a 3-2 vote. Want to depress investment in content creation? Make it exponentially more difficult for the creators to protect their creations. Which is exactly what the partisan FCC did.
“Nigh everyone who writes for TVs and movie theaters expressed strident opposition. The FCC did it anyway….”
There were many, many more – but you get the idea.
These are all unilateral Obama Administration executive actions. Fundamentally no different than if the president his own self used his pen and/or his phone.
The Trump Administration should ensconce its 3-2 FCC majority – and immediately undo all of them.
Because they never should have been fiat-ed into existence in the first place.
Again, if it lives by the executive action – it should die the very same way.
[Originally Published at RedState]