WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama's announcement that 2014 would be a "year of action," in which he issued more executive orders to get around an unproductive Congress, quickly led to Republicans denouncing the president's dictatorial maneuvering.
"He may think he's a king, he may declare himself king, but that's not what he is under our Constitution," Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) said in January.
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) called Obama's planned use of executive authority "borderline unconstitutional" and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) said it was part of the "president's persistent pattern of lawlessness."
But Obama isn't actually all that dictatorial compared to past presidents. According to new data compiled by the Brookings Institution, a liberal think tank, Obama has been issuing executive orders at the slowest rate since President Grover Cleveland:
According to John Hudak, a Brookings fellow in governance studies, Obama has issued 14 executive orders since January, compared to 11 by President George W. Bush and 18 by Presidents Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan during the same period in their sixth years in office.
Furthermore, adds Hudak, "President Obama issues an executive order, on average, about every 11 days. President George W. Bush issued them every 10 days. President Reagan issued about one a week. President Carter issued more than one every five days."
This week, Obama announced that his staff was working on a long-awaited executive order that would bar federal contractors from discriminating against their employees on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.