For the simple-minded, the argument might work:

Obama has issued fewer executive orders than many preceding presidents. Liberals are circulating a “meme” stating as much.


And this may be true. Barack Obama has issued fewer executive orders than his predecessors. But that’s not the point.

It’s all about what the executive orders do. Executive orders that establish a “National Mathematics Advisory Panel” are not on par with orders deliberately defying Congress and the Constitution, like Obama’s recent gun-control orders.

It’s about the nature of the executive orders themselves that demonstrate the lawlessness of the administration.

Barack Obama’s executive orders are uniquely anti-democratic. He has said so himself: If Congress won’t act, he will. It’s the “we can’t wait” clause in the Constitution.


Congress is not required to act on anything. Whether they take any action or not is a demonstration of their intent.

By bypassing Congress’s intent, Obama’s executive orders are de facto authoritarian.

His authoritarianist bent goes beyond his executive orders. This president uses “memoranda” as a subterfuge.

He has issued more directives using “presidential memoranda” than any other commander in chief in United States history. From USA Today:

 Like executive orders, presidential memoranda don’t require action by Congress. They have the same force of law as executive orders and often have consequences just as far-reaching. And some of the most significant actions of the Obama presidency have come not by executive order but by presidential memoranda.

Obama has made prolific use of memoranda despite his own claims that he’s used his executive power less than other presidents. “The truth is, even with all the actions I’ve taken this year, I’m issuing executive orders at the lowest rate in more than 100 years,” Obama said in a speech in Austin in July 2013. “So it’s not clear how it is that Republicans didn’t seem to mind when President Bush took more executive actions than I did.”

But “presidential memoranda” are the “functional equivalent” of an “executive order.” They just seem a little less – tyrannical.

But a dictator by any other name … right?