WATCH: “Foundations of Freedom” tackle the history of Executive Orders

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Tonight on The Glenn Beck Program, Glenn and David Barton hosted a “Foundations in Freedom,” tackling the history of abuse of power and executive orders. How has Obama’s use of the executive order compared to past Presidents? And how does his use of executive order compare to past presidents? You might be surprised.

Glenn explained that when the president makes a pitch to the people of America and is unable to sway the polls, he has two options.

1. Accept that the American people aren’t interested and move on, or
2. Jam it through with an executive order.

“Expect a whole lot more of these executive orders in the coming four years,” Glenn told his audience. “And expect their reach to be profound. And anytime you complain about it you’re going to hear somebody say, ‘George W. Bush issued 291 executive orders’.”

And they’re right.

The truth is, more executive order were issued in the first term of George W. Bush’s presidency than in Barack Obama’s.

The founders allowed executive orders, but most don’t even really know what their original purpose was meant to be. If you understand the history and origin of the executive order, they become much less ‘dictator-like’.

Are they currently being used the way that was intended? Have they by past presidents? Once you know that during George Washington’s time as president he only issue eight executive orders, you should have a pretty good guess.

Watch the clips from tonight’s show for more:

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  • snowleopard (cat folk gallery)

    In the past the executive orders may have been more ‘less dictator-like’ yet today under Obama we have a man who is insane and delusional, narcissistic and a pathological liar and murderer who cares only for his own agenda and power.

    He has already gone the ‘dictator’ route by bypassing Congress on many occasions. What is to stop him from doing so when to him the ends justify the means. 

    I wonder how soon the bloodbath will begin with his orders to take down Americas he sees to be ‘enemies of the state?”

    • Draxx

      If a person does not get a very uneasy feeling in their gut at the mention of Executive Orders, either they are five years old or Do Not Have A Clue About Their Power…  and it was not the five year olds that voted Obummer into office!

    • Anonymous

      As Beck says, do you research. On annual average,  Obama has issued slightly fewer than Ronald Reagan, George HW Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and significantly fewer than Lyndon Johnson, John Kennedy, Ike Eisenhauer, Harry Tuman and FDR. you might need to dig a little deeper into the National Archives before you declare Obama to be “more dictator like” at least as to the content of his Executive Orders. You might also consider that the needs of the nation and the size of the three branches of government in Washington’s presidency were dramatically different than the 20th and 21st century. Every executive order should be scrutinized because it is signed by only one politician. If you read them closely however, you will see far less subtrefuge than that suggested by conspiracy theorist  Glenn Beck.

      • snowleopard (cat folk gallery)

        I agree with you that there should be an independent scrutinizing of each executive order committed to paper by any President by both Congress and the Judiciary system within a specific time frame.

        By having Congress and Judiciary check them out and either affirm or challenge them we have more checks and balances on the growing power within the executive branch.

        This review should also be required for every set of new regulations that come from the various departments. The do not go into effect until both Congress and Judiciary affirm them (and not in blocks, each has to be reviewed and yea or nay’ed)

        • Anonymous

          Thank you for your thoughtful reply. I agree with one half of your proposal; that is, the Judiciary has or should have the right of review of Executive Orders, just as there is judicial review of Agency regulations. Congressional review of regulations in my opinion would defeat the Executive branch function. Whenever an Agency goes too far or not far enough, I remember Congress responding strongly (cutting funding being the best example; or amending the enabling statute). Out of curiosity, because I did not know the history of judicial review of Executive Orders, I searched for an article. What I found was a very dense (or perhaps I am too dense to get through it) law review article discussing one of Ronald Reagan’s first,and you may remember controversial (at the time) Executive Orders–the one requiring a cost-benefit analysis of proposed regulations. I could be wrong, but I believe it is still in effect. It  certainly is in practice–i do notthink Congress passes a law without including such a provision. You may recall that EPA and the Department of Interior were viewed with great disfavor by the Reagan Administration and the “prairie rights” group of Ann Gorsuch (EPA) and James Watt (Interior) were brought in to eviscerate both  agency and department. . I think President Reagan realized after about three years that those appointments were over the top, and were dropped. Anyway, this 1983 article by a professor who clearly supported the Reagan Executive Order concluded:”The notion that the courts have no business reviewing agency violations of the “personal” policies of the President offends the principle of the rule of law when those policies, directly or indirectly, substantially affect private interests. The traditional framework of administrative law and judicial review of administrative action can and should be applied to make agencies follow orders, as long as courts give appropriate consideration to the authority with which the orders are issued, the nature of the obligations that they impose on the agencies, and the role of the executive in enforcing them.” the article is likely a cure for insominia, it offers a nice juxtaposition to today. The article was written in the context of a president using Executive Orders to drasticly cut the Federal Govenrment and today we have a  President accused of expanidign the Federal governiment unnecessarily. But the author’s analysis seems to fit both secnarios. If the author is correct, then perhaps, we have a nonpartisan conclusion that is consistent with the Constitution? 

  • Rick Wood

    Barton seemed confused about the 2/3 majority requirement to pass the 13th amendment.  He took issue with the movie “Lincoln”, saying that the margin wasn’t narrow.  I checked wikipedia and googled up a couple other sources, and it was close.  Barton said “…70% margin…”, but I don’t find the numbers to validate. 

  • Anonymous

    As it was in the beginning, True Freedom was not taken away, we gave it away, willingly, in exchange for a Lie.

    Don’t give True Freedom away.

  • Anonymous

    Nothing more pathetic than a biased self made scholar trying to educate a self proclaimed scholar with his own unique version of history. Barton’s selective us of language in order to make his point is very telling. Barton’s crimped view of the world is that there should be the Constitution and little else. Barton does not say this, but he does believe correctly that under the Constitution, legislation is supposed to come from Congress (which in fact it always has, and continues to this day).He conveniently writes off the Executive Branch because he hates Obama. In so doing, he forgets that Dick Cheyney and the Bush neocons who ran HW’s White House pushed the concept of the Unitary Executive and each one of HW’s White House Counsel advised the President of his unbridled power. He amazes Beck with his silly statement that 40,000 “laws” were enacted last year and Congress only passed 100 Bills. Published in the  “Federal Registry” (sic) –it is the Federal Register and is published every business day.(the brilliant Beck does not even know what that is). Hey Mr. Scholar–what you are complaining about is the Constitutional appointment of the executive–all of these regulations are part of implementiing the laws passed by Congress. As to some of the perceived unconstitutionality for Mr. Barton, some of these regulations have to do with such mundane topics as accident report forms, tax forms, hazardous waste manifests, and other ministerial matters. You know, just the stuff we want our elected representatives to be wasting their time on instead of solving defict problems, war with al qaeda and other more pressing matters.

    In the Federal Register, the proposed regulations of every Federal Agency are published, subjected to public comment for 30-120 days (sometimes more); the Agency in question has to evaluate the public comments, publish a Response to Comment Document and then publish the final regulation in the Federal Register. What the selective historian Barton fails to mention is that most federal agencies establish shareholder groups which hold regular meeetings to address the regulatory issues under consideration,. These groups always include representatives of the industry or business groups to be impacted by the regulations and in most cases involve well trained trade association lawyers and lobbyists. Invevitably, someone is unhappy and lawsuits are filed in the DC Circuit Court of Appeals or a more strategic venue. The best example is environmental regulations-during every administarition, the enviros have filed lawsuits claiming the regulations are not strict enough. During democratic administrations, (and quite often republican as well), industry and trade groups file challenges claiming the regs are too tough. The Judiciary then gets the uneviable task of discerning Congress’ intent in passing the law under which the regulations were adopted–did the Agency go too far–or did the agency not fulfil the task assigned it by Congress in the enabling legislation. Occasionally, even a constitutional challenge is made.

    Yeah, its stinks living with this tripartite government form the founding fathers gave us.

    Now Executive Orders, that is a whole ‘nother ball of wax. First let’s get some citations from Mr. Barton. The executive order where the President told EPA to bypass Congress? Does not exist. Obama issued an Executive Order to require Federal Agencies to reduce energy consumption and emissions–that is within his Execcutive Power. The Supreme Court on shaky grounds, determined that CO2 was a pollutant under the Clean Air Act–Lisa Jackson jumped on that and proposed regulations. Her republican predecessors would not have. Fast and Furious? No Executive Order–White House Counsel invoked Executive Privilege on further document production after about 8,000 documents were produced. Executive Privilege has not always been kindly favored by the Courts, and I always suspect a rat no matter which President invokes it. It is always used as a shield by Presidents against what they perceive to be political attacks. (Nixon, Reagan, Clinton, HW and now Obama). But it is not an Executive Order. Conscience objection to abortion–that was preserved in the Executive Order that was part of the deal to get the Obamacare passed. When the HHS regs came out and went around it, what happened–an appropriate and huge outcry and lawsuits after lawsuits were filed. see the score card:

    My personal opinion on those issues above- Supreme Court as scientific fact finder scares me-none of them are scientists. Fast and Furious? Astonishingly stupid; CYA expected; heads should roll. HHS mandate-unconstitutional and Obama duplicitous. Oh, and I forgot-the 23 Executive Orders to not take away the 2nd amendment–restricition of gun use/availability etc is before this Congress. And someday, the Supreme Court will determine whatever is passed by this Congress impermissably intrudes on that Amendment.

    Barton ad Beck–succeed by telling only a part of the story.

    • VEEs mommy

      Your statement is more informative than anything that Mr. Beck has ever said. The only problem with it is most people won’t read the whole thing, and learn something useful, because it goes against what they want to believe, that Obama is a dictator. But, well done anyways.

    • Anonymous

      If you do not like what you are hearing then might want to watch a different media outlet.

      • Anonymous

        This is an open forum I believe. Many commenters here refuse to tolerate any dissent, despite the Master Beck’s admonition to do your own research. How many fans who watched the blaze tv last night wnet out and researched Barton’s remarks? How many walked away and repeated the complete falsehood at coffee this morning that the obama administration pushed through 40,000 laws last year?

        Why do I waste my time commenting here? Good question.  I think it is important that media outlets that proclaim themselves to be the arbiter of truth (how many times has Glenn Beck proclaimed that he is the only voice of truth?) be held accountable.  I think that people proclaiming that they have the true history of the founding fathers (Barton) who are using current events to prove their thesis (or rather argue for the illegitimacy of the current occupant of the oval office) get their facts straight. There is a lot of fan worship expressed on these pages wherein some, not all, take whatever Beck says as gospel. It aint even close. this story is a perfect example–an incomplete history lesson for those with short attention spans like Beck, which grossly misstates facts about statutory law (enacted by Congress) and implementing regulations (issued by Federal agencies). When you grossly misstate the facts, it is a lot easier to support your conclusion that Obama has overwhelmed Congress through executive power.

        Another little tidbit for you–that I am sure neither Beck nor Barton bothered to investigate. Many of the regulatory proposals that have come down in the past four years were in the works under Bush Jr. They have been modified for sure by the obama administration,  but they started more than four years ago. it happens with every administration change.

  • John Keyes

    Can hardly wait..

  • ThorsteinVeblen2012

    Glenn, did you dress like a buffoon on purpose?

    That last time I saw someone dressed like that was at the circus.

  • Bonnie Somer

    obama wants to destroy America in anyway he can andby any means Exec order, anything, his unrealistic view of the USA is y it’ll never work people are not mde via cookie cutter we are all different our capitalist system and wealth will win out People c him and know those that bury their head in the sand will never care.  we the people must take a stand now or later it is coming the next revolution.  he wants us dead and his army is massing

  • Sam Fisher

    It really is not shocking that people don’t know what the Constitution is because that is what progressives want once they can make it not relevant to the people they can remove it and replace it with more power. That is all they care for power over others forcing people to believe in what they want us to.

  • david christoph

    we fought for independence from a tyrannical executive.
    the rule of law must not fall victim to a cult of personality.

  • cyclespast

    In obama’s own words he said ‘I find that the Constitution gets in the way of what I want to do”,… this guy is a Progressive,America-Hating Tyrant and a Fraud,….Who is this guy?,..whats his real name?,..Barry? ,Barrack?,…or? He admits on many occassions that he is a Muslim yet then says he is not right before running for president. All his friends are America-Hating Communist and wonder why so many people dont like the guy?

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