President Obama's so-called "We Can't Wait" campaign to govern unilaterally without input from Congress took a big step last week. With an official policy directive, Obama gutted President Clinton's 1996 bipartisan welfare reform by removing the federal requirement that those on welfare either work or train for work.
As Mitt Romney, his Republican opponent, noted in a statement, this is bad policy, for "the linkage of work and welfare is essential to prevent welfare from becoming a way of life." Yet Romney let Obama slide on the legally dubious method Obama used to override the plain language of the welfare reform statute.
According to the Congressional Research Service and the law itself, the work requirements are "mandatory" and cannot be waived, even though some other parts of the law can. Yet this is precisely what President Obama purports to do. Unfortunately, this is just part of a broader pattern for Obama.
Education: After failing to get Congress to reform the No Child Left Behind law, Obama unilaterally rewrote it using an unprecedented expansion of waiver authority.
Telecommunications: After failing to pass his preferred net neutrality law, Obama had the Federal Communications Commission enact it through administrative fiat. A federal court has already thrown out the rule as an overreach of regulatory power.
Immigration: Obama has not only attempted to rewrite our nation's immigration laws through nonenforcement -- a policy the Supreme Court rebuked him for -- but Obama instituted a de facto immigration amnesty and plans to issue work permits by administrative fiat.
Labor: After failing to get "card check" through Congress, Obama illegally appointed two new members to the National Labor Relations Board when the Senate was not in recess. They issued a "snap elections" rule to help unions, which is now tied up in court.
This goes back to Obama's
"kinetic action" against Libya, upon which he never even consulted Congress. A freshman U.S. Senator from Illinois once said: "The president does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve an actual or imminent threat to the nation."
As it happens, the same man did just that as president. He has not since stopped exploring new ways to expand his own power.