In the first decade of this century liberals, pardon me, they call themselves “progressives” now, were up in arms about the accumulation of power by the Executive Branch of our government; a product of the ineptitude of Congress and the desire of the Executive to accrete that power. To what degree that was a desire to maintain the integrity of our constitution as opposed to the fact that there was a Republican in the White House was not entirely clear, although the former was always claimed as the motive.
Eighteen months into the Obama Administration, it’s beginning to appear that the objection was more political than constitutional, as progressives are entirely silent when a Democrat is in the White House and does much the same things with respect to presidential power that his predecessor did.
We can start with escalating wars and financing them “off budget” and with borrowed funds despite very specific campaign promises to include war-fighting costs in the annual budget. That is complicated, of course, by the fact that Congress has so thoroughly abdicated its responsibilities that it has not even attempted to pass a budget this year as required by the constitution.
There is no comment from progressives when Obama signs into law a provision that exempts the SEC from disclosing information under the FOIA, despite his campaign promises for greater openness in government and notwithstanding his statements about how the new legislation is all about “more transparency in the financial markets.”
Progressives were all up in arms about the Bush Administration’s efforts to spy on Americans, but remain silent when the Obama administration seeks the ability to compel companies to turn over records of an individual's Internet activity without a court order.
And then we have “financial reform” which, according to President Obama, “creates a consumer protection agency.” Actually, it does nothing of the sort, it directs the Executive Branch to create such an agency, to write the rules under which it will operate, and to revise those rules in the future as it deems necessary. Progressives seem to be completely unconcerned that citizens' financial dealings will be governed by executive order.
I do not find that disturbing because I distrust Obama; I actually have a fairly high level of trust in him as a person and as president. What bothers me is the continuation of the shift of power to the Executive Branch of government and the evidence that, increasingly, this nation is being run, not by the Congress elected by the people of this nation, but by non-elected officials appointed by the nation’s Chief Executive.