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Outsiders vs. Insiders: The difference in Donald Trump’s and Barack Obama’s ‘pen and phone’

Though it’s not exactly difficult to find illustrations of Barack Obama’s snide arrogance from his eight nauseatingly long years at work transforming America from the Oval Office, perhaps the single greatest demonstration of the former president’s “Let them eat cake!” elitist mentality occurred at the beginning of 2014.

At that time Obama remarked before a cabinet meeting (from an AP report on January 14, 2014), “We’re not just going to be waiting for legislation in order to make sure that we’re providing Americans the kind of help Donald Trump penthey need. I’ve got a pen and I’ve got a phone [italics added].

“And I can use that pen to sign executive orders and take executive actions and administrative actions that move the ball forward in helping to make sure our kids are getting the best education possible, making sure that our businesses are getting the kind of support and help they need to grow and advance, to make sure that people are getting the skills that they need to get those jobs that our businesses are creating.”

In his little speech Obama didn’t allude to the manner in which he’d employ his “phone” but one can only imagine it was set aside for chewing the fat with Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi and various globalist leaders to foster as much political correctness as possible.

Even more disturbing about Obama’s “pen and phone” boast is the fact Republicans hadn’t yet retaken the majority in the senate and already the ideologically obsessed president was promising to bypass the legislative branch to achieve any aims he thought prudent. So much for the Constitution, Obama likely thought, since the outdated charter affixed to a deteriorating piece of parchment wouldn’t permit a chief executive to go over the heads of the people’s representatives to do things like wealth redistribution and resetting public restroom policy for transgenders without the consent of Congress.

Tisk, tisk. That silly Obama; the media presented everything he did as the actions of a benevolent shepherd carefully watching over the interests of his flock while the evil conservative Republicans in Congress were stonewalling all of his attempts to help kids get educated and downtrodden folk get jobs.

Fast forward to this week when President Donald Trump used some of the same terminology to convey that he’s ready to do a little executive “pen” work of his own. Anna Giaritelli of the Washington Examiner reported, “President Trump signaled Tuesday he's close to taking executive action to shake up federal healthcare policy, after Congress continues to fail to get anywhere by itself.

“’Since Congress can't get its act together on HealthCare, I will be using the power of the pen to give great HealthCare to many people - FAST!’ Trump tweeted Tuesday morning.

“The Trump administration has indicated it's about to take action by itself to make it easier for people to buy health insurance across state lines. Under the emerging plan, Trump will move to let people buy coverage through association health plans, which is meant to mirror the flexibility companies operating in several states have to pick the best plan for their employees.”

Ah yes, a little free market capitalism is in the works. Now we’re talking.

So in essence Trump will complete in a matter of seconds (not including the time taken to prepare the orders, of course) what Congress couldn’t accomplish in the first nine months of his presidency. Democrats and the establishment media will gasp at the notion of Trump taking affairs into his own small hands to instigate the process of dismantling Obamacare (he actually has already started the process, beginning with the ending of the birth control mandate last week), something he promised repeatedly to do during last year’s campaign.

No doubt there will be a healthy number of “hypocrite!” accusations making their way to newspapers and cable shows near you, too. They’ll sound something like, “If conservatives strenuously objected to Obama using his ‘pen and phone’ to bypass Congress while he was president, how can they stand by passively now and watch Trump do the same thing? Doesn’t he know he lost the popular vote to Hillary? Doesn’t Trump understand how popular Obamacare has become?”

Before the collective liberal freak-out gets too far out of hand people should recognize Trump possessed this power to scale back Obamacare ever since he became president – and it’s constitutional, too. As enacted, the Affordable Care Act grants tremendous discretionary power to the administration to interpret and administer its provisions so Trump technically could have acted on day one to unravel a good chunk of the law.

But he didn’t. The fact the president hasn’t proceeded until now has been a source of frustration and irritation to conservatives who understood that the Trump administration was basically just executing the law like Obama himself would have done if he were still in office – or if, lord forbid, Hillary had won last year’s election. Instead of doing whatever he could to expose the failings of Obamacare heretofore Trump was just putting off the real agony while Congress slow-footed its way to stagnation on the matter.

In other words, Trump is just doing his job as president by signing new executive action on healthcare. Obama, on the other hand, took his “pen and phone” to the extreme boundaries of his authority with orders like the EPA’s disastrously costly “Clean Power Plan” and the infamous dictate granting legal status to millions of illegal immigrants (by instructing federal agencies not to enforce the law, basically).

Both of these unconstitutional overreaching actions were halted by the federal courts but that didn’t stop Obama from using his office implements to wreak additional havoc in other big government ways. Conservatives were fond of labeling Obama a dictator because that’s basically what he was – a chief executive who ruled by fiat.

Trump isn’t acting in the same capacity; rather than breaking new ground on subjects that he disagrees with Congress the president is operating within his own purview to interpret an enacted law’s obligations and institute a policy direction change that the majority of the legislative branch claims to believe in yet can’t agree on the terms.

Trump is deciding for them – and if they don’t like it they can always pass legislation to correct him.

Besides, Trump’s “pen” comment could easily be construed as yet another warning to the GOP establishmentarians in Congress that he intends to fulfill his campaign promises even if they’re unwilling to cooperate in the endeavor.

The truth is there’s a growing movement to kick the ineffective elites out of Congress. Matthew Boyle wrote at Breitbart, “[C]onservatives are considering a full slate of candidates nationally in open races and those with Democrat incumbents—and running or actively seeking out serious primary challengers for every GOP incumbent senator up for reelection next year except for Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX)—all part of an effort to wrest control of the Republican Party away from failed leaders and hand it to fresh blood.

“That doesn’t even mention House or gubernatorial races: On the House side of things, conservatives have their eyes on taking down many failed incumbent establishment Republicans and are also even looking at many open races. That picture, movement leaders say, is expected to come together more clearly in the days and weeks ahead.”

Yes indeed. Already conservatives are going on offense against the establishment – both the Democrats and the leaders of the Republican Party. First there was the victory of Judge Roy Moore in last month’s Alabama Republican senate primary runoff and then wishy-washy ruling class Tennessee Senator Bob Corker announced he wasn’t going to seek reelection next year.

Several other prominent conservatives were emboldened by Moore’s win to take on GOP incumbents or Democrat liberals in Trump-won states who portend to be “moderate” yet stand with Chuck Schumer to block everything Trump proposes.

The conservative boat-rocker ranks swelled by one more on Tuesday. Brent Scher of the Washington Free Beacon reported, “Missouri's Republican attorney general Josh Hawley officially announced his campaign against Sen. Claire McCaskill (D.) on Tuesday morning and immediately called out his opponent, a two-term senator, for turning her back on Missourians.

“Hawley, who won the statewide election for attorney general by double-digits in 2016 and emerged as the clear choice by state Republicans to challenge McCaskill, said in an announcement video released Tuesday that McCaskill ‘doesn't represent us.’”

Hawley cited skyrocketing healthcare taxes as one of his main motivations for deciding to challenge McCaskill, something that Trump will certainly try to fix one way or another with his executive “pen.” Hawley’s announcement ad shows the youthful candidate in his home’s kitchen with attractive wife Erin and the couple’s two young boys, which will set quite a demographic contrast with the often haggard McCaskill who’s been in the senate for over a decade and prides herself for being a radical pro-abortion clone of Hillary Clinton.

As for the retiring Bob Corker, many conservatives are now calling on him to resign to allow Tennessee’s Republican governor to appoint Rep. Marsha Blackburn as his replacement (she’s running for the seat next year). Blackburn was blocked on Twitter this week for saying she stopped the selling of baby body parts (which is true) – this alone should give her plenty of good publicity in conservative Volunteer State circles.

(Note: Twitter subsequently reversed itself and is now allowing the ad.)

In her own announcement video Blackburn cited the ineffective Republican leadership as a key reason why she’s giving up her House seat to go fight the tougher legislative wars in the senate. Blackburn said, “Too many Senate Republicans are acting like Democrats – or worse. It’s a disgrace.” She was talking specifically about the GOP senate’s inability to repeal Obamacare.

Blackburn is characteristic of the type of Republican candidate running against the establishment as much as their liberal Democrat opponents these days. Should she – and the others – succeed in reaching the upper chamber President Trump won’t need to use his “pen” as often to accomplish what Congress won’t give him.

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The Secretary May, Shall, and Should Have...

The Obamacare law, fat enough as it was, primarily enabled the executive branch, in the persons of Sebelius and Burwell, to issue tens of thousands of pages of regulations implementing the Obamination.

Precisely because of these empowerments of "The Secretary," and because of his great conservative ideas on healthcare, most conservatives expected Tom Price to take out his pen and strike the bulk of the regulations down. Instead, he was swanning around the world at our expense. The plane rides were merely the external symptom of the problem.

So, if the Secretary may and shall implement the law, so may and shall the Chief Executive. Bravo Mr Trump!