Indeed, the Republican Party itself is in the midst of a schism between its traditional elements and an activist “tea party” wing that finds old-school Republicans indistinguishable from Democrats themselves.
This is not a flaw in our government but a design feature. It is supposed to be difficult to make sweeping changes in law such as redesigning the delivery of health care and the insurance that pays for it or such as rewriting the rules of immigration. These changes affect millions of lives; enacting them should take a great deal of deliberation and consensus-building.
Obama told us Tuesday night he wants action on a number of issues: He wants immigration reform, an increase in the federal minimum wage, a new tax credit for low-income families without children and expanded access to early childhood education.
If Congress won’t give him what he wants, Obama says he will take it, with a stroke of his executive pen.
All of these issues deserve robust debate. If they truly have merit, let their supporters convince the doubters of their worth. Let them win support through debate and votes on the floor of the House and Senate.
That’s the function of a legislature in a representative republic. If we had wanted to be ruled by an “imperial president,” we shouldn’t have bothered to throw out King George III.