In 2014, President Obama has made much of his pen-and-a-phone strategy to accomplish his goals in the face of what he calls an "unprecedented pattern of obstruction" from Republicans in Congress. Apparently the president's supporters are on board with the idea of unilateral executive action. At a meeting last Friday, a supporter of the president asked about the possibility of "a state of emergency." The president relayed the story to another groups of supporters at a Democratic National Committee event later in the day at a private residence in Purchase, New York:
I was in a meeting earlier today and somebody asked, you know, Mr. President, what can you do, these folks, they just -- all they do is just oppose whatever you propose even if they used to be for it, now they’re against it; if you said the sky was blue, they’d say it was green; they deny the facts, they don’t have any ideas for growing the economy or helping the middle class -- maybe you just need to announce a state of emergency. I said, well, now, I’m not going to do that, that’s not how the Constitution works. (Laughter.)
Of course, "how the Constitution works" is at the heart of the dispute between the president and Republicans in the House who recently voted to move forward with a lawsuit against the president for overstepping his constitutional authority. Interestingly, regardless of how seriously President Obama took his supporter's question, he went on to tell his audience "there’s actually a solution to this that our Founders envisioned." However, he was not talking about executive orders:
I said to them, you know, there’s actually a solution to this that our Founders envisioned, and that is people being involved citizens and getting out there and voting, and bringing about change through the ballot box.
The president went on to tell his DNC audience that "we have the opportunity to do that during these midterms," although based on a recent email that President Obama sent on behalf of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC), the Democrats may have already written off their chances of winning back the majority in the House elections in November:
I'm emailing you again because the Senate is at stake.
If the GOP gains just six seats, the same Republicans who just voted to sue me will control both houses of Congress...
Will you let Republicans take charge of everything from the future of Medicare to education? Or will you make sure Democrats stay in charge?
The president did not specifically mention the elections for the House of Representatives in his DSCC fund raising email, nor in his remarks at the event on Friday. President Obama spoke at three fundraisers on Friday. At this point, the White House has posted a transcript of the president's remarks from only one.