The San Diego Union-Tribune

We have long criticized presidents of both parties who use their executive authority to achieve policy goals they couldn’t get by working with Congress.

In limited circumstances, especially emergencies, such actions are OK. But in general, they’re an undemocratic assault on congressional prerogatives – and those who favor presidential power plays should worry about the precedents they set for when the other party holds the White House.

That latter point finally seemed to be sinking in last month with Donald Trump’s surprise win in the presidential election. On Monday, it even appeared to resonate with President Obama, who has issued a striking number of edicts that rewrite federal laws after being frustrated in his dealings with a Republican Congress. “Going through the legislative process is always better, in part because it’s harder to undo,” Obama told National Public Radio in an interview.

Alas, Tuesday, the president was back at it, signing an executive order declaring huge chunks of the Arctic and Atlantic oceans off limits to oil and gas drilling “for a time period without specific expiration.” The White House did not use the word “permanent,” but environmental groups did.

It’s not. Instead, it’s part of a pattern of Obama behavior that could enable all kinds of unilateral actions by Trump – including ordering that huge chunks of the Arctic and Atlantic oceans be opened to oil and gas drilling with lease terms favorable to energy companies.

Not many Democrats will be happy about presidential overreach then.