Rep. Ellison is a lawyer. That's why Rep. Ellison knows that that executive order is worthless. It would get shot down in court within 5 minutes. That wasn't Rep. Ellison's goal, though. He isn't that foolish. Rep. Ellison's goals were to a) deflect attention away from the failed Affordable Care Act, b) to fire up liberals before next year's election and c) to a much lesser extent, help push Rep. Ryan Winkler's minimum wage will in the Minnesota legislature.
Democrats have felt demoralized since the failed launch of the HealthCare.gov website. While it's true that liberal donors are still donating, it's equally true that activists haven't felt particularly energized. Expect to see more of these types of rallies during the next 11 months.
Expect a proliferation of these types of rallies because a) Democrats will attempt to ignore the ACA's failure whenever possible, b) Democrats want to fire up their base so they have a chance at holding the majority in the U.S. Senate and c) they serve as a recruiting station for the Democrats' get-out-the-vote, aka GOTV, operations.
Don't think picking Rep. Ellison was accidental, either. First, he's a leftist bombthrower from an ultra-safe district. Second, he fires up MoveOn/OWS activists. Finally, he's a skilled spinmeister. He sticks to the Democrats' chanting points like a robot trained to regurgitate the Democrats' chanting points.
It's apparent that Rep. Ellison doesn't like the Constitution's separation of powers. Here's what happened:
At the "Fast Food Forward" protest on Thursday, Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) demanded that Pres. Obama sign an executive order bypassing Congress and unilaterally raising the federal minimum wage. Rep. Ellison told the crowd that they should join him in demanding that Pres. Obama skip seeking Congressional approval and raise the minimum wage on his own - and that he sent the president a letter on Wednesday presenting his demand.
The minimum wage is part of the federal statutes. Changing U.S. statutes requires acts of Congress, passing both in the House and Senate, then getting a president's signature. If that doesn't happen, U.S. statutes don't get changed. That is until this administration came along. Things are different with this administration, which might be a more lawless administration than Nixon's administration.
Sending a letter to President Obama is fantastic theater but it isn't going anywhere. He knows it isn't because President Obama's credibility with the American people is virtually nonexistent. Signing an executive order to increase the minimum wage will set President Obama back in his credibility rebuilding project.
The things to take away from Rep. Ellison's stunt are a) it's done to deflect attention from the ACA, b) it's meant to fire up the most fringe elements of the Democratic base and c) it's done to find volunteers for next November's GOTV operations.