Barack Obama: Unitary Executive Theorist
Others on this site and elsewhere have done a marvelous job of exposing the fact that Obama almost certainly broke the law in his dismissal of Gerald Walpin (and perhaps other IGs). This story is not concerned with what Obama has done, it is concerned with what it reveals about Obama’s view of executive power. What Obama’s firing of Walpin reveals is very simple: Obama is a believer in the Unitary Executive Theory.
See, a lot of Democrats and left-wing bloggers bloviated on endlessly about the Unitary Executive Theory without ever bothering to educate themselves about what the Unitary Executive Theory is. See, leftists tend to view the world through the prism of power-grabbing conspiracy theories. So when they encountered something called the “Unitary Executive Theory” that had conservative adherents, they immediately assumed it was a conspiracy theory by which conservative Presidents would attempt to increase Presidential power. Soon enough the Unitary Executive Theory became responsible for Guantanamo, “torture”, the Iraq War, Hurricane Katrina, and Valerie Plame. No leftists ever bothered to point out or explain how this was so, or to even make a pass at understanding the most rudimentary basics of what the Unitary Executive Theory stood for.
The Unitary Executive Theory (as Samuel Alito patiently attempted to explain over and over to many of these leftist morons) has nothing to do whatsoever with the scope of executive power. A Unitary Executive Theorist might well believe that the office of the Presidency does (or should) have very little power whatsoever. The only thing the Unitary Executive Theory concerns itself with is who is ultimately responsible for wielding whatever executive power the executive branch possesses. The Unitary Executive Theory may be summed up succinctly in one sentence: The President has the Constitutional authority to fire anyone in the Executive Branch. In other words, anyone who wields executive power is answerable ultimately to the President.
Let me make this simpler for Glenn Greenwald, et al (e.g., Thomas Ellers and Rick Ellensburg). Believing in the Unitary Executive Theory would not make a President any more or less likely to approve of torture, or Guantanamo Bay, or warrantless wiretapping or any other such thing. You know what it would make a President more likely to do? It’d make a President more likely to fire some IGs in violation of statute because he believes that the Constitution gives him the summary authority to do so.
So, while Obama and his many illiterate followers may have campaigned against and decried the Unitary Executive Theory, it appears that Obama is the first American President in the last 8 years to have violated the law because of his belief in it. So unless Obama is ready to apologize and rescind his unlawful actions against Walpin, et al, it’s time for him to own up to his strong belief in the Unitary Executive Theory.