90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:
PLEDGE NOW
Here and Now with Robin Young
Public radio's live
midday news program
With sponsorship from
Mathworks - Accelerating the pace of engineering and science
Accelerating the pace
of engineering and science
Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Rep. Stockman On Why He Walked Out Of The Address

Rep. Steve Stockman is pictured in September 2013. (Gage Skidmore/Flickr)

Rep. Steve Stockman is pictured in September 2013. (Gage Skidmore/Flickr)

Republican Congressman Steve Stockman of Texas walked out midway through last night’s State of the Union address.

He issued a statement on Facebook (and over the course of multiple tweets) that read, in part:

“Tonight I left early after hearing how the President is further abusing his Constitutional powers. I could not bear to watch as he continued to cross the clearly-defined boundaries of the Constitutional separation of powers.”

“Even worse, Obama has openly vowed to break his oath of office and begin enacting his own brand of law through executive decree. This is a wholesale violation of his oath of office and a disqualifying offense.”

Stockman joins Here & Now’s Meghna Chakrabarti to discuss the president’s use of executive orders and why he walked out of the speech.

Guest

Transcript

MEGHNA CHAKRABARTI, HOST:

Well, President Obama gave a shoutout to the governor of Kentucky, but he struck his toughest tone last night when he talked about using executive orders to circumvent a gridlocked Congress. He said the question for every senator and representative is whether they are going to help or hinder the country's progress.

(SOUNDBITE OF STATE OF THE UNION ADDRESS)

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: But America does not stand still, and neither will I. So wherever and whenever I can take steps without legislation to expand opportunity for more American families, that's what I'm going to do.

CHAKRABARTI: Republican Congressman Steve Stockman of Texas was in the House chamber last night, and joins us. And Congressman, after hearing that part of the president's address, you got up and walked out. Is that right?

REP. STEVE STOCKMAN: Right, and acting unilaterally, without Congress, is not the concept of what our Founding Fathers envisioned. And I had hoped he would reach across the aisles and - especially in his final years - to make a difference.

CHAKRABARTI: Let's talk more about that in a moment. But I do want to read a tweet here that you sent out after you left the House chamber last night, where you tweeted that President Obama has openly vowed to break his oath of office and begin enacting his own brand of law through executive decree.

But I was looking at the past four or five presidents of the United States, and it seems as if Ronald Reagan issued 213 executive orders in his first term. President Clinton issued 200 in his first term; George W. Bush, 173; President Obama, 147. So it seems as if presidents, regardless of the party they're from, like and use executive orders. So what's different this time around?

STOCKMAN: Well, and I don't recall the scholar, but he's actually a liberal scholar who is articulating that the executive orders under this administration are much more broad, and also in violation of the Constitution, where executive orders are exclusively meant for the Executive Branch. That's why they're called executive orders.

CHAKRABARTI: Do you have a specific example of any executive order that President Obama has issued that you think is unconstitutional, a specific one?

STOCKMAN: Yeah, we have - actually, we're drawing up a list of that, and without getting into the legalese, because we - I don't want to - someone said, well, you look pretty rash. And I said no, we've looked at this. We're going to actually articulate that and bring in legal scholars, including some of our friends on the left.

CHAKRABARTI: Well, let's talk a little more specifically about one of the executive orders that President Obama went to lengths to discuss last night in the State of the Union, and that's the one...

STOCKMAN: Minimum wage?

CHAKRABARTI: Minimum wage, exactly; that he's going to sign an executive order to raise the minimum wage for new federal contractors. Well, what do you think about that one?

STOCKMAN: I don't feel that that's actually a violation of executive orders. But in issuing an executive order for that, I think it's going to have a minimal effect, and I don't have a problem, necessarily, with that. But what he's advocating in doing, in a broad brush, is he says he's going to use it much more aggressively. And I'm thinking that he's opening the door for more administratively - things that go beyond the scope of what his authority is.

CHAKRABARTI: You know, it seemed last night that the president was saying he may use more executive orders in these coming months because he doesn't feel as if he's making any headway with Congress. I mean, he actually went so far as to say, you know, he would like the Republican Party to say explicitly what it stands for, rather than what it simply stands - what it's against.

STOCKMAN: That's political talk. There's plenty of published laws that have been introduced and offered that - see, that's one of the things that drives the Republican nuts, is him saying we haven't offered anything, when there's a clear body of work that we have offered.

CHAKRABARTI: Well, finally, Congressman Stockman, if I may ask, even though you had left the House chamber, as you know, President Obama closed his State of the Union Address last night by honoring Sgt. 1st Class Cory Remsburg, who served 10 tours of duty and was gravely wounded in Afghanistan.

And the president quoted Sgt. 1st Class Remsburg, who said: "Nothing in life that's worth anything is easy." And the president seemed to be saying that those things that aren't easy, but are still worth it, include governing America in a very rancorous political environment. So, I wonder what lesson you draw from that.

STOCKMAN: In every generation, you're going to have disagreements, and we have to look overall and say, you know what? We're not perfect, but we're going to keep trying, both sides keep trying. And I'd like to see more personal contact with the leadership. And I think that's one thing we need to actually bring back, is more interaction between individuals of either party.

CHAKRABARTI: Well, Steve Stockman represents Texas' 36th Congressional District. Congressman Stockman, thank you so much for joining us today.

STOCKMAN: Thank you. It's been an honor. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.


Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
  • Anita Paul

    The crazy guys back. Notice he didn’t mention the specific example. Oh yeah some liberal author.

  • Whitesauce

    The accusation that Rep. Stockman is levying is pure politics. Other congressmen have been saying it in the past few days, but have offered no evidence. Megna was right to mention how other presidents have used executive orders. It’s bizarre to attack this president on the issue.

    • jonathanpulliam

      Pure politics? 35,000 oil drilling jobs off our Gulf coast were Obama-decreed out of existence post-BP Macondo because a craven Obama couldn’t take the chance, however small, that another near-calamitous drilling blow-out might occur and thus torpedo his re-election prospects.

      Soon after the Obama fiat decree killed the Keystone Pipeline with a similarly ill-considered executive-branch regulatory overreach, a mile long oil train crashed, spilled its cargo and burned in North Dakota. Perhaps had Obama respected the constitutionally-mandated limits to his executive authority, this avoidable outcome would have been averted had a safer pipe-line methodology been employed.

      Obama’s DOI regulators elected not to properly spot-check inspect the “goop-job” blow-out gasketing slurry injected into the drilling pipe casings by a BP sub-contractor. A disaster was the result. Obama’s SEC regulators routinely look the other way at “naked short-selling”, equity trade order “front-running”, and a host of new insults related to HSAT, or High Speed Algorithm Trading. Obama’s Eric Holder hasn’t brought any cases that I’m aware of to trial over these or any other contributing causative element in 2008 financial meltdown. This indeed DOES appear to have a political component,and one not very flattering to our chief executive President Obama.

      • S David H de Lorge

        So how come US is now producing more petroleum products from domestic sources than at any time in many years? Try some fact checking. Reliance on rumors and lies can be very misleading.

        Generating bogus claims about mis-regulation often ends in self-defeating costly disasters when the regulatory chain of management is derailed. And yes, not all regulations turn out to be successful; there are legitimate processes in use to reverse those.

        • jonathanpulliam

          That’s because so many U.S ( domestic ) petroleum reserves are located on lands NOT subject to provisions of federal block leasing and drilling/mining oversight. You are incorrect if you claim that production has increased on Federal lands, which DO fall within U.S. Dept. of Interior purview, for any cause but but an economics-driven demand-side move in recent years to export-oriented oil, gasoline, and refined product sales because our domestic U.S. economy is so moribund that products would have ordinarily have been sold profitably in the U.S., destined for domestic U.S. consumption, were instead EXPORTED to international markets, again, at a relative price premium. From a macro-economic standpoint, your argument is not unlike complimenting someone that they’ve lost weight, only to then be informed that it’s because they’ve just started chem-o treatments for cancer.

          • S David H de Lorge

            You choose to equate “domestic production” with “on Federal lands.” What kind of cognitive slippage is this? Would you care to elaborate on application to conservation areas?

            As you must know, the frangible quality of petroleum is such that import:export ratios depend on factors such as how far it has to travel. Your protest about exports is beyond evaluation.

            In today’s headlines: provisional acceptance by Administration of Keystone pipeline. How does that fit your initial comment?

            What is the basis of your wholehearted endorsement, by imitation, of the more shortsighted factitious claims of Big Petro? How does it square with other of your protests about what a liberal guy you are?

  • S David H de Lorge

    Is this man an idiot, or a grandstanding liar?

    • Sideshow Bill

      both

      • S David H de Lorge

        Ah!

    • Dave

      The level of racism focused on our first 50 percent white president is astonishing. I am a white guy from Montana and voted for Bush(sorry).
      This idiot should remember the Republican vow to oppose everything from President Obama even if the Republicans agree with the policy.
      Stockman is indeed an idiot.

      • S David H de Lorge

        Thank you.
        – Davy 2

    • Jason Buckwheat

      HEY DAVE U MIGHT BETTER PULL U R HEAD OUT, AND LOOK AT THE LOST RIGHTS AS CITIZEN IN WHICH THIS JERK OBAMA IS GETTING RID OF. THIS OBAMA IS THE BIGGEST RACIST WE’VE SEEN IN QUITE A LONG TIME. HIS WHOLE 5 YRS. HE PLAYS THIS RACIST CARD CONSTANTLY. HE DOES NOT LIKE OUR CONSTITUTION AND HE BEING SOCIALISTS, AND IDOLIZES SAUL ALINSKY.

      • S David H de Lorge

        If you say so….

        If you say so, it will serve as a good example of Dave’s point. Those who play the “now you’re calling me a racist card” card.

        -davy 2

  • RoninNY

    Wish you wouldn’t give this jerk (Stockman) any airtime. It’s what he wants, with the almost daily angry nonsense he puts out. He is typical of what Obama was talking about in his speech, when he said that people need to talk about what they’re for,not just what they’re against. Stockman is an example of the debilitating tea party disease He’s competing with other jackals like Gohmert, Cruz, Bachman just to get airtime…nice job feeding the rabid dogs, NPR. You hardly gave ANY time to the Dem.

  • RoninNY

    Tell me Steve Sockpuppet didn’t PLAN his diva exit. He got what he wanted, air time on news channels. Do we HAVE TO pander to the barking dogs while ignoring looking at real solutions to our ills?

  • Euphoriologist

    This elected representative did not strike me as the sharpest tool in the shed. That or it’s just a lot easier to tweet off suggestions on the spur of the moment than to explain your point later to a member of the media.

    • jonathanpulliam

      You don’t want to help someone whose behavior is both self-destructive as well as a peril to our shared interests. Failed Obama policies will have the effect of “poisoning the well” for decades to come, just as Nixon’s Watergate and the U.S debacle in Vietnam sapped the resolve of our forebears by raising the electorate’s overall cynicism vis-a-vis government to unprecedented levels.

  • Schatzie Gardella Dudee

    I simply cannot believe that anyone anywhere elected this guy. When asked (very politely) twice for just one example of Obama’s “over reaching” on Executive Privilege, this idiot could not muster up one example. Wow. Just wow.

    • Dave

      Very reminiscent of the last Republican president.

  • Mina

    What else is new? The disrespect shown to this president has been blatant from day one from the Republican party. Just another name in the list of many who have no class. Comes from Texas – hmm don’t a whole bunch of them come from there? What does it say about those who continue to vote the small minds into office?

  • 5thcolumnist

    “Why He Walked Out Of The Address?”
    Is this merely a rhetorical question – which he failed to answer – anyway? It’s because he is an ignorant, grandstanding blowhard – just like most of his GOP/Tea Party brethren.

    • jonathanpulliam

      You don’t trouble to supply much in the way of evidence, Fifth. Statistically, they say people who post from behind pseudonyms get more up-votes, but it has been my experience that their poorly thought-through, ad hominem attack-filled missives contribute very little to any serious discussion.

  • Joe Barry

    What a rascal!

  • Kevin King

    Cop out to say the least. G W Bush used 170 Executive Orders

  • Kevin King

    And, by the way, he is the President, even if you don’t like it, you sit your butt in that chair and you show RESPECT for the Executive in Chief, that’s what adults do.

    • blue_strat

      just like you showed Bush respect for 8yrs? ohhhh, but that’s different, huh Kevin?

      • Kevin King

        Don’t presume to know how I stand politically based upon a comment about respecting the President, you assume I am a liberal, and, in fact, I am a conservative

    • Alex

      you are a good slave of a puppet, Kevin. Obama being a globalist puppet.

      • Kevin King

        You’re a slave too, you are no different than I am

        • Alex

          You are the consenting slave. I am not consenting and I am not a slave.

  • A true American

    Obama took an oath to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States of America. Instead he stated he would bypass the Constitution and has been bypassing the Constitution. He has isolated himself and has never been the unifier he poses to be.

  • blue_strat

    and who could blame him? to sit and listen to the president tell how he’s all for the Constitution, then say he’ll go against it any way he can? it’s called hypocrisy, people. President Obama took and oath to uphold, protect and defend the constitution, yet he’s all but flushed it down the stool for 5yrs, and we ALL know it. he said in the past he’s limited to what he can do because of it, then last night said he’ll bypass congress if they don’t do as he says. what more do the liberals need to see before they accept what this man’s agenda is? the changes he’s made to Obamacare since it was passed, he can’t just do that, it takes an act of congress. yet he did it anyways. don’t you people care? if the conservatives had to go by the rules, then why don’t the liberals? and don’t even insult your own intelligence comparing him and his actions to other presidents. we’re talking now, here in the present. what if Bush had said he’ll bypass the rules? liberals would have nailed him to a cross. yet when Obama does it, liberals cheer for him? come on, we’re all Americans. we all want basically the same things, just different ideas on how to get there. but the past 5yrs have been ridiculous. instead of the economy getting better, it’s gotten worse and all this administration can do is blame anyone and their brother. when does it stop? when does the spending stop? if this had been you or I, what bank in their right mind would lend to us? our taxes have went up, it’s harder to live, more and more freedoms are being taken away, with more on the way, extreme left wing media bias, scandal after scandal, former allies hate us, we’re the world laughing stock, etc. how can the liberals not see what’s really going on?

    • Mina

      We see plain as day what is going on. Obstruction, delay, “I was for it before Obama was for it and now I’m against it.” How can you not see what is going on? You keep drinking that kool aid on the bus of group think in the Republican party. The party of so out of touch today.

    • jonathanpulliam

      Had you elected to use capital letters and punctuation marks throughout your missive, I would have given you an “up-vote”. Also, you appear not to be aware that your disparaging use of the word “liberal” is going to be found irksome to those acquainted with alternate meanings among that word’s varied definitions. While I agree with the thrust of your argument, you must resist the impulse to overstate your case.

  • Alex

    Why did he go in the first place?

    • jonathanpulliam

      As he said, it’s hard to watch Obama so thoroughly debase himself. “A mystery, wrapped in a riddle, and shrouded in an enigma” — how we, the gullible electorate could be twice beguiled by such a charlatan, so soon after having committed a nearly identically ill-considered electoral faux pas by twice electing W. It makes one queasy to think about it too much…

  • jonathanpulliam

    “…[Obama] saying we haven’t offered anything, when there’s a clear body of work that we have offered.”

    This statement of Representative Stockman rings hollow, considering that in the context of this very interview, he cannot articulate specific instances of inappropriate use of Executive Orders by President Obama. A “clear body of work” is not “I’ll get back to you with specifics”, Congressman.

    Representative Stockman would not have run far afoul had he mentioned Obama’s proxy, the EPA Administrator, having defied Congressional statute by, on her personal authority, having instructed the U.S. government’s Environmental Protection Law Enforcement that (CO2) Carbon Dioxide is henceforth to be regarded a pollutant, despite the conspicuous lack of evidence for legislative intent ever having so regarded that common byproduct of respiration.

    Most of the comments here drag the level of discourse to “echo-chamber” level and cannot be seen as constructive. Our system of governance does not permit a frustrated would-be command-government type who fancies himself a pragmatist, Obama, to legislate by fiat when he knows he could not otherwise hinder our great nation with his ill-considered, pseudo-scientifically justified national surrenderism .

  • susie

    Yeah for Steve Stockman. He had the courage to do just what I did, get up and walk out of the room. It was ridiculous hear all the lies of Obama. He is the most destructive Pres. this country has ever had.

    WE NEED MORE PEOPLE WHO HAVE THE COURAGE THAT STEVE STOCKMAN HAS–TO STAND UP TO OBAMA. John Cornyn has lost his loyalty to Texas and now is in Obama’s pocket. WE NEED STEVE STOCKMAN–A MAJORITY OF ONE TO STAND UP LIKE TED CRUZ AND OTHER PATRIOTS HAVE DONE!!!

  • kestal

    As Ms. Chakrabarti, who is an excellent interviewer, pointed out, the previous five Presidents, respectively, issued more executive orders in their first terms than President Obama has entering his fifth term in office. GOP idol, Ronald Reagan, issued the most. Stockman conveniently (for him) didn’t name one executive order issued by President Obama that’s in violation of the Constitution because of the “legalese”? How convenient that Stockman couldn’t name and cite the “liberal” scholar who claims that President Obama’s executive orders have violated executive authorirty. This is unjustified scaremongering and hostile supposition that here will be an abuse of power but not that there has been. Which liberal friends across the aisle agree with Stockman on his allegations? This blowhard expects his divisive and false charges to bring the GOP and Democrats together? Perhaps Stockman’s biggest howler is accusing the President of “political talk”. Stockman is just another whining ninny who doesn’t know what he’s talking about and knows that he doesn’t know what he’s talking about but talks about things he knows nothing about anyway. What an honor it was to hear him lie and make an even bigger fool of himself.

    • jonathanpulliam

      I count myself as a liberal who agrees with Stockman that Obama has exceeded the limits to his constitutionally-derived authority, not by the quantity of his decrees, but rather by his deliberately crafting decrees which effectively usurp powers reserved solely for the Legislative bodies in our U.S. Congress, under our rule of law, decrees which fly in the face of well documented federal statutory intent, and whose consequences may present a grave risk to our American way of life.

  • DaveHolden

    I probably would have supported this guy if he wasn’t a boot-licker of Israel.

  • penguintruth

    Conservatives want to impeach the President for daring to exercise the powers afforded to him.

    • jonathanpulliam

      I think you’ll find that “knowing how to count”, and no small confusion as to what, precisely, constitutes sufficient executive “high crimes and misdemeanors” to confidently initiate proceedings which, the last time they were employed, were most unfavorably viewed by the public at large, who rightly opined, in the main, that Clinton’s transgressions, however excruciatingly tawdry, did not rise to the level of sufficient subornation specified under the aforementioned constitutional impeachment proviso.

  • jonathanpulliam

    I do not concede that Obama’s claim to the presidency was ever legitimate. Certainly it is an open question whether under our U.S. Constitution his swearing in was even legal. The suspicious death in a small plane crash just last week of the very female Hawaiian Birth Registry official who provided the controversial birth certificate that ostensibly “proves” that Obama was born in the U.S. Barack Obama may be “your “President”, Kevin, but I’d think a true “conservative” would prefer to wait until the relevant facts are beyond dispute, which, sadly, they are not.

  • kim North

    I don’t know who this guy is but it seems the left is really running scared of him. Their leaning media have been grabbing at straws (it seems but hard to follow) with nonsensical stories about him missing and at one time being homeless? Really? Being homeless as a youth? Reporting this like he is a scum bag, for being homeless?! I would be interested to find out if this guy is really so bad or what. So far he is coming off as just another politician doing what they all do, blowing smoke. Big deal.

  • dialyn

    Stockman shows again how some politicians think they are princes who don’t need to show respect or courtesy to other people. It’s one thing to disagree; it is another thing to cause a disruption because you think you are a special person who is too full of themselves to listen to someone’s ideas. The quality of the polticians we have these days keeps going downhill.

  • S David H de Lorge
Robin and Jeremy

Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

April 17 3 Comments

Jane Goodall Plants ‘Seeds Of Hope’

The world-famous primatologist discusses her new book, which is back on shelves after some controversy.

April 17 9 Comments

College Advice From A High School Counselor

Lisa Micele answers listener questions and explains what schools are looking for beyond GPAs and standardized test scores.

April 16 Comment

ER Doctor Looks Back A Year After Marathon Bombing

Dr. Ron Medzon, an emergency room physician at Boston Medical Center, recalls treating victims injured in the bombing.

April 16 36 Comments

Tensions Build In San Francisco Amid Tech Boom

As San Francisco experiences a historic economic boom, some activists say not all city residents are reaping the benefits.