Although I don’t remember their arguments well, leftists used to throw around charges quite frequently that Bush/Cheney abused the power of the Presidency to further their agenda. I think most concerns were in the area of law enforcement and civil liberties. I would probably agree with some of those arguments (if I remembered them better).
But it seems that President Obama is regularly using the power of the Presidency in a variety of extra-Constitutional ways. One could argue that buying a controlling interest in corporations is outside the scope of the Executive, as is setting terms of compensation for corporate executives. But even more troubling are his actions in wake of the oil spill. Ordering a corporation to establish a multi-billion dollar compensation fund has no basis in Constitutional powers, nor does an order to halt legal drilling in the Gulf absent clear evidence of wrong-doing (how is this different from searching people’s homes or arresting people without probable cause?).
A federal judge in New Orleans just issued an injunction against Obama’s drilling moratorium. Although I’m nervous about future problems with deep sea wells, I’m also worried about the large economic destruction done by Obama’s moratorium (Governor Haley Barbour is probably right in claiming that the damage done by the moratorium is larger than the damage done by the oil spill) and even more worried about the precedent that a President can shut down entire industries without some sort of due process.
The Congress has long abused its regulatory authority and the Court has effectively allowed the commerce clause of the Constitution to obliterate the contract clause. But at least Congress has some minimal authority to regulate commerce. Where does the President derive his authority to make such sweeping intrusions into the private sector?
Apparently abuse of power is of no concern to the left if that power is being used to abuse profit-making corporations. Perhaps if the shareholders and workers in the oil industry were residents of Guantanamo the left would be concerned about their rights.