The Tea Party wingnuts are screaming Martial Law over President Obama’s recent Executive Order, titled “National Defenses Resources Preparedness.” In a nutshell, it’s called preparedness. The reality is that this update of prior Executive Orders signed in 1988 and 1994, which elaborate similar powers in time of war or national emergency. The Order signed in 1994 was not limited to national emergency:
The United States must have an industrial and technology base capable of meeting national defense requirements, and capable of contributing to the technological superiority of its defense equipment in peacetime and in times of national emergency.
While I don’t agree with everything President Obama is doing or has done, I wouldn’t say this Executive Order was an act of a dictator because of an expansion of presidential powers. Martial Law isn’t coming as a result of the National Defenses Resources Preparedness Executive Order. It’s just pure mischief to suggest that as a fact.
Ed Morrissey: Why the update? If one takes a look at EO 12919, the big change is in the Cabinet itself. In 1994, we didn’t have a Department of Homeland Security, for instance, and some of these functions would naturally fall to DHS. In EO 12919, the FEMA director had those responsibilities, and the biggest change between the two is the removal of several references to FEMA (ten in all). Otherwise, there aren’t a lot of changes between the two EOs, which looks mainly like boilerplate.
In fact, that’s almost entirely what it is. The original EO dealing with national defense resources preparedness was issued in 1939 (EO 8248) according to the National Archives. It has been superseded a number of times, starting in 1951 by nearly every President through Bill Clinton, and amended twice by George W. Bush.
So, if Ed Morrissey, who seems to be more conservative than a moderate, could say there’s nothing that signifies Martial Law is coming, then why are some in the Tea Party and other conservatives, such as Kenneth Schortgen Jr., making hay out of nothing? The fact that this Executive Order is simply an update, with limited expansions due to new Cabinet positions and focuses on preparedness, then it’s just ridiculous to suggest he’s exhibiting traits of a dictator.