BY MICHAEL S. JOHNSON
The Obama Presidency is a wonder to watch. Barack Obama is making changes, which taken together—the sum of their parts—are transforming government and politics in disturbing ways it will take years and maybe decades to reverse.
His presidency is the triangulation of three distinct characteristics of politics and government.
First, the Obama Presidency is an Imperial Presidency, accumulating and concentrating power in the Executive like few Presidents have done before.
Second, it is a campaign Presidency, intensely focused on winning a second term, at the expense of public policy and cooperation with Congress.
Finally, it is an Administration, a collection of Cabinet departments and federal agencies which he is using to move the government and the country in a starkly different direction than in any time certainly since Reagan, and maybe Roosevelt.
The Imperial Presidency, historically, is a label applied to administrations that have taken unilateral military actions or engaged in aggressive foreign policies: James K. Polk’s intervention in Mexico; Theodore Roosevelt’s internationalism; and in more modern times, Lyndon Johnson’s expansion of our role in Vietnam or Ronald Reagan’s aid to Contra rebels in Nicaragua. Continue reading