Last month during a stroll around Thomas Jefferson's Monticello home, President Barack Obama told French President Francois Hollande: "That's the good thing - as a president, I can do whatever I want."
President Obama was kidding, of course. As a former constitutional law professor, he knows better than to reach beyond his office's rightful grasp.
Or does he?
Many Americans, including us, have detected a troubling trend by this president to push his authority beyond its proper bounds. For instance:
The Obama administration has repeatedly postponed implementation of mandates in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The president, after Congress failed to adopt the greenhouse-gas-emission restrictions he favored, issued an executive edict to impose them.
He also has made legally questionable recess appointments, avoiding the need for Senate confirmation.
And the Los Angeles Times website reported Tuesday that the president, "using his executive authority to bypass Congress, added about 1,665 acres of 'spectacular' Mendocino County coastline to the California Coastal National Monument."
That was the 10th time that Mr. Obama has established or expanded a national monument without congressional consent.
You need not oppose Obamacare, carbon-emission limits or the president's choices for recess appointments to be troubled by the his penchant for averting legislative approval.
Still, considering the pressures that come with his position, Americans shouldn't begrudge Mr. Obama this presidential power:
He gets to start watching the fourth season of HBO's "Game of Thrones" before it returns to television viewers on April 6.
David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, creators of the show, revealed that presidential advantage this week in this email to Vanity Fair: "One perk of being the most powerful man in the world: yes, you get to see episodes early."
So let's hope "Game of Thrones," based on George R.R. Martin's popular fantasy-novel series "A Song of Ice and Fire," gives Mr. Obama a needed break from the high stress of his high office.
But let's also hope that he remembers this reality:
His job puts him in an Oval Office chair in 21st century Washington - not on an Iron Throne in the long-ago, make-believe Seven Kingdoms of Westeros.
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