Executive Orders Are the New Legislation

By Bill Maher

One day liberals won’t like executive orders so much.

Late last month, President Obama directed his Secretary of the Interior, Sally Jewell (like I have to tell you), to drop the name of Alaska’s Mount McKinley and replace it with the original native name of Denali. Which I thought was great. Indian names are always cooler. For instance, there’s a lake in Massachusetts named Webster Lake, but the Indian name for it is Lake Chargoggagoggmanchauggagoggchaubunagungamaugg. For real. Which one is better? I’ll let you be the judge. 

And just last week we got news that Obama has signed an executive order requiring companies that contract with the federal government provide paid sick leave to their employees. Okay. Again, probably something I agree with. But I also used to remember a time when things like this and the Denali thing were bills, and they were introduced in Congress, and went through a “legislative process” to see if they had “popular support,” at which point they were either “signed” or “vetoed” by the president. In fact, both paid sick leave and renaming Mount McKinley were bills that failed to get through Congress. Just like everything else. 

It just reminds you that in today’s environment, with a dysfunctional Congress, whoever wins the presidency rules the country in a way they haven’t before. Executive orders are the new legislation, and if a president wants to get anything done during their term they’re going to have to issue a lot of them. Which makes the stakes for 2016 higher than usual. And not because “We face a crossroads in history” or because “This is the most important election of our lifetime” or any of the other hyperbole we hear every four years. It’s because the president is now more like a king. And if a Republican wins, you can get ready to have your benefits slashed, your immigration laws enforced differently, and all your mountains named after Reagan.