President Barack Obama is turning to executive orders to do a political end run around Congress to try and jumpstart his stalled jobs program and promote other economic initiatives.
And political insiders say the moves are more political theater than economic reality.
“Any economic policy benefits are, at best, small but there are political bonuses for the president,” Don Halloway, a former Republican staff member of the House Budget Committee, tells Capitol Hill Blue.
White House Communications Director Dan Pfieffer confirmed that Obama will bypass Congress by issuing executive orders to launch economic initiatives.
“The President will use these tools on a consistent basis for months to come,” Pfieffer says.
But with a record 14 million Americans out of work, Obama’s strategy is risky at best.
At a meeting with Democratic congressional leaders recently, White House aides ran into skepticism and some hostility at the President’s plan to cut Congress out of the loop.
“Let’s say the meeting was less than friendly,” says a Capitol Hill source.
Republicans see Obama’s latest moves as good campaign fodder for the 2012 election.
“The president’s policies have a history of hurting, not helping, job creation,” says GOP operative Anne Riley. “As long as he stays on his present course it just makes his re-election changes more difficult.”
Democratic strategist Jonathan Hartley agrees.
“This president has lost his focus,” Hartley says. “He’s floundering and wandering off in too many directions.”