Obama Laying Down the Law on Immigration, Oil Spill

Usually it takes time but eventually every president learns for himself the hard way that he has to take names and kick some butt to succeed.

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Usually it takes time but eventually every president learns for himself the hard way that he has to take names and kick some butt to succeed.

Presidents usually begin their tenures by trying to work together with Congress, the military, and the other players in national politics. But at some point, the smart residents of the White House realize that to get something done, they have to do it themselves.

On schedule, a few weeks ago, the White House staffers starting using the phrase “command and control.” And it’s clear now that they and their boss meant business. First, the president fired Gen. Stanley McChrystal after the soon-to-be former commander of our forces in Afghanistan openly dissed the president and his national security apparatus in the pages of Rolling Stone magazine.

[See 10 things you didn't know about Stanley McChrystal.]

Structurally, the executive is the branch of go and Congress is the branch of no. Early this week, President Obama, eager to implement his healthcare reform program, sent Congress a message about his frustration with legislative inaction by giving a recess appointment to Dr. Donald Berwick to run the agency that operates Medicare and Medicaid.

Next on the presidential hit list was the governor of Arizona and its state legislature. On Wednesday, the Department of Justice filed a suit in federal court against the state for preempting the power that the U.S. Constitution gives Congress in Article 1, Section 8 to establish immigration policy. Another one bites the dust.

Then on Thursday, the president sent a put up or shut up message to BP by giving them 24 hours to come up with a plan for plugging the oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico or else.

I don’t know who’s next on the list, but my guess is that a lot of people are scrambling around right now to make sure that it isn't them. That’s what presidential leadership is all about.

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  • See 10 things you didn't know about Stanley McChrystal.