President Obama has distorted and expanded executive power in ways no Republican president has ever dared to. Liberals will be in for a rude reminder when and if a Republican president in the future chooses to adopt some of Obama’s tactics.

Jay Carney- (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
Jay Carney (Pablo Martinez Monsivais/Associated Press)

It will be interesting to see if the media become horrified when a GOP chief executive tries to:

  • Enforce only laws or parts of laws he likes (as Obama did with DOMA and immigration laws).
  • Amend unilaterally existing statutes when they prove irksome or unworkable (as Obama did on health care and on the work requirement for welfare).
  • Leak classified information when it is politically expedient (as the administration did on kill lists and the assassination of Osama bin Laden).
  • Engage in widespread surveillance of reporters (as the president did with the Associated Press).
  • Expand executive privilege to hinder congressional or other agency investigations (as the president did with Fast and Furious, the Black Panther prosecution and even the security violation at a White House dinner).
  • Vilify particular media figures or networks (as the president did with Fox News and right-wing radio hosts).
  • Exclude a network from the pool (as Obama did with Fox News).
  • Install unelected czars and freely uses recess appointments (as the president did repeatedly).

One can only imagine the first time a GOP president changes his story on an executive branch scandal, claims he didn’t know what was going on at the IRS or Justice Department or give out taxpayer dollars to cronies (as Obama did on “green energy” boondoggles).

When it comes to the Senate, if Mitch McConnell (Ky.) or another Republican becomes majority leader, will the left and the media (I repeat myself) cheer an attempt to alter the filibuster rules or to prevent amendments on the floor? I look forward to their outrage when the minority party tries to filibuster unqualified appointees and/or demands extensive documentation so as to evaluate their qualifications.

In the controversy over the National Security Agency, the left suddenly decided that it was dangerous to take “trust me” from their own party’s president (even when a statute and congressional and court oversight are present), but in fact they’ve applauded unprecedented executive power grabs throughout the president’s turn. Both parties tend to indulge officials on their own side. The difference in this administration is that the president has exceeded limits on executive power in extraordinary and unprecedented ways. Democrats will have to explain why a Republican president shouldn’t be allowed the same latitude.

Jennifer Rubin writes the Right Turn blog for The Post, offering reported opinion from a conservative perspective.