So if you were watching the President’s State of the Union address the other night you probably (if you were paying attention) heard him say that he was going to be using executive orders to push things through that will help the American people. If you are a Democrat you are probably happy about this, however if you are a Republican you are probably saying how horrible this is. After all, they’ve claimed for years that he wishes to rule more like a “king” or “dictator” with his abuse of the executive order.
But as with most things Republican, their stance on this issue is both incorrect and completely hypocritical. Because as with most things, reality tells a completely different story. Five years into his presidency, he’s issued 167 executive orders – about 33.4 per year.
Here are the last four presidents who’ve served consecutive terms and how many executive orders they’ve issued, as well as their average per year:
- Ronald Reagan: 381 total, 47.6 per year
- Bill Clinton: 364 total, 45.5 per year
- George W. Bush: 291 total, 36.4 per year
- Barack Obama: 167 so far, 33.4 per year (projected total 267)
And no, those numbers are “liberally biased” – they’re all linked and sourced to our National Archives.
So I’ll just go ahead and clarify these numbers for those who might not be able to understand them. Out of the past four two-term presidents, the one who’s issued the most executive orders would be – “fiscally responsible,” “conservative hero,” “small government loving,” “Constitutional legend” Ronald Reagan.
At Obama’s current pace he will finish with 114 fewer executive orders having been issued than Reagan. For him to surpass Reagan’s number (at current pace) he would have to serve for almost an entire third term (another 3.4 years). So if Republicans want to call President Obama a “dictator” for the frequency at which he uses the executive order, just what in the hell would they say about Ronald Reagan?
Again, these aren’t partisan numbers, they’re indisputable facts. Well, the “projected” number isn’t a “fact” as of yet, but most statistics professionals will say after 5 years you can make a fairly safe assessment of what the next 3 years will be like based on existing patterns and evidence.