Hillary Clinton's recent announcement of her gun policies was a double-barreled revelation: she made known not only what she intends to do about guns but how she intends to govern. Or maybe the verb is rule.
The biggest question of 2016, at least as far as I am concerned, is whether we will elect somebody who will return the United States to our constitutional system of government or continue "transformational" President Obama's government through the executive.
Mrs. Clinton would opt for executive power, perhaps even more so than President Obama.
Ed Morissey of Hot Air writes:
How old am I? I’m old enough to remember the shrieking hysteria on the Left over George Bush’s “unitary executive” philosophy, which largely pertained to wartime authority over military matters — such as Gitmo, military commissions for detainees, and other issues of authority over the war on terror.
Ever since 2009, though, the rapid expansion of governance-by-decree by Barack Obama into all areas of domestic policy has generated an unsurprising silence on the Left as the executive branch has shifted from a unitary executive to a unilateral executive. Even rebukes by courts over issues such as recess appointments and arrogation of jurisdiction by agencies such as the EPA have barely raised a peep.
Now Hillary Clinton promises an even more aggressive policy of rule by decree, and Vox’ Jonathan Allen reports that the Left is lapping it up.
The specific policies include using executive fiat to close the gun show loophole (it's smaller than you think) for purchasing firearms. Congress might have an opportunity to act, but it wouldn't matter. If it failed to enact Mrs. Clinton's policy, she would then do it unilaterally.
It's an odd view of constitutional government–we'll let Congress have a shot at legislating, but if it blows it, then we'll just do it anyway. This has been President Obama's theory of government and it looks like he has bequeathed it to Mrs. Clinton.
Jonathan Allen of Vox reports that, while Clinton's plans for using executive power are "unprecedented," Democrats are thrilled:
Sure, there are some Democrats who chew their nails when thinking about Clinton’s Machiavellian side, but most are nonetheless glad to see signs that she’s not going to get rolled by a Republican Congress. The scope of what she’s promising to do by herself is unprecedented from a top candidate for the presidency.
The view from inside the campaign, said one official, is that it’s important to be specific about how Clinton would use the unilateral powers of the presidency “because of the level of frustration” Democrats have felt when Obama’s priorities have been blocked by Republicans in Congress. Even if Democrats are able to elect one of their own as president in 2016, he or she is all but assured of facing a Congress in which one or two of the chambers are controlled by Republicans.
That’s why Clinton is focusing so much time and energy on laying out both where she would try to work with Congress and how she would go around lawmakers when necessary. And it’s why Democratic insiders and liberal constituencies are so eager to hear about candidates’ plans for using executive power.
It appears that Mrs. Clinton has no plans to re-enter the world of constitutional checks and balances on executive power.