Here we have a handy chart (thank you Steve Benen) documenting the use of executive orders by President Obama. As anyone can plainly see, this documentation of the comparative rate at which this president uses executive power compared to other modern presidents, fully justifies the outrage expressed last night and today over President Obama's promises to take executive action in certain areas where Congress will not act.
As is plainly shown, President Obama is completely out of step with these other presidents, his use of executive power being on the very far left (fitting, isn't it?) of all other presidents. Oh, wait a second. Doesn't that mean President Obama has actually issued fewer executive orders each year than every single one of these other presidents? Hmm.
Is this an unfair comparison? No, because the case being made against President Obama's use of executive action never demonstrates that any particular executive action was unauthorized by statute. It is a case that has proceeded by insinuation only, taking the now-familiar path of attaching a sinister-sounding label to what was heretofore a universal and innocuous practice. And therefore by the critics' own method the only way in which President Obama's use of executive orders could be shown even to raise a question about potential abuses of power would be to show that President Obama has used such powers to an unprecedented or unusual degree. Since the opposite appears to be the case, I wish that these critics would talk about something of substance rather than continuing this kind of misleading nonsense.