The New York Times today gently chided Joe Biden for his unprecedented early unilateral governance, which is a clue to how extraordinary it is. In one week, Biden has signed more consequential executive actions than most presidents do in their entire terms. This “is no way to make law,” the Times notes. “A polarized, narrowly divided Congress may offer Mr. Biden little choice but to employ executive actions or see his entire agenda held hostage. These directives, however, are a flawed substitute for legislation.”
In 2019, candidate Biden was even more emphatic about the dangers of governing by White House edict, noting that there are things you “can’t do by executive order unless you’re a dictator. We’re a democracy. We need consensus.” To this point, Biden has no interest in consensus, or constitutional order, despite all his “unity” rhetoric. My guess is the Times realizes that bypassing the legislature to decree energy and cultural policy will end up costing the president, just as it did Barack Obama, who leaned on pen-and-phone governance and lost Democrats hundreds of elected offices around the country.