Originally posted at American Thinker blog
Seems Barack Obama has slipped on his Mitt Romney mask. The President hosted a White House smaller-government event complete with a bubble graph slide show and CEOs. One difference: Obama is proposing lessening the grip of government on jobs and the economy by asking Congress to transfer more power to him. Obama asking for more power to curtail government could be likened to quitting marijuana by shooting heroin.
Come on now, is America supposed take seriously that a government-loving liberal who’s promoted big budget-busting bureaucracy as the catalyst to job creation for the last three years, is suddenly into saving money and jobs by consolidating government?
By now, when Americans hear the name Barack Obama they instantly think: great teeth, questionable golf skills and a wife who shops at Target.
However, to many, the name Obama also calls to mind things like: union thuggery, socialized health care, unelected and unaccountable czars, demonization of the rich, punishing businesses, widespread unemployment, limiting Constitutional liberties, borrowing $6.2 trillion in one term, maligning conservativism, and thinking government should fund everything from education for illegals to abortion on demand.
Now, nine months prior to the next election, with less than stellar approval numbers and the unemployment rate still unacceptable, supposedly in an effort to save “$3 billion and 1,000 to 2,000 jobs over ten years,” Obama suddenly wants to streamline federal trade policy by requesting the “power to consolidate agencies that promote U.S. exports.” The plan is to close down the Commerce Department and merge together the “small Business Administration, the U.S. Trade Representative, the Export-Import Bank, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, and the Trade and Development Agency.”
Sorry, but giving Obama more power over business doesn’t accomplish the goal of less government. It just puts governmental-style control into the hands of one person, which feels a tad uncomfortable — control over which companies get government help in trade issues. Doesn’t this smell of crony capitalism in the hands of a veteran of pay-to-play in Chicago?
During remarks at the White House and without informing Congress, Obama said:
Today, I’m calling on Congress to reinstate the authority that past presidents have had to streamline and reform the executive branch. This is the same sort of authority that every business owner has to make sure that his or her company keeps pace with the times. And let me be clear: I will only use this authority for reforms that result in more efficiency, better service and a leaner government.
If the same Congress that Obama said he’s planning on working without gives him the “green light,” he would gain “fast-track authority — that is, the ability to bypass a Senate filibuster — for any number of government consolidation proposals.” All that’s required is that he present his bids as being “aimed at saving taxpayer dollars and boosting efficiency,” which three years of economic disaster has proven, with Obama in charge, probably isn’t the case.
Let’s remember that thus far, although he’s asking for greater authority, Obama hasn’t earned it. He’s been neither efficient, adept at saving taxpayers money, nor a man fond of “leaner government.” If Congress agrees, “The House and Senate would have to hold an up-or-down vote within 90 days of receiving such a proposal.”
It’s not surprising that the usual RINO suspects like Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine) of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee support Obama’s efforts.
However, what is surprising is the normally tough Obama administration skeptic Darrell Issa (R-California), chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, being positive about giving the President more clout. Issa wants to prevent Eric Holder’s “Fast and Furious[ly]”-tainted Department of Justice from having the power to police the Internet through the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), yet he’s optimistic about Obama’s Gimme More Power proposal?
Thankfully, other Republican politicians are more cautious. Seasoned Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) is wary of the normally disingenuous anti-Congress Obama sincerely “calling on Congress,” and is skeptical that Big Government Barry wants to reform government at all.
Hatch raises a great point. After finding the time to bus CEOs to the White House and set up alongside the trusty Teleprompter a slide show as slick as anything at Bain Capital, couldn’t Obama also find time to consult with Congress before making his big announcement? Especially since the President forcefully requested that Congress reinstate the type of powers last exercised by Ronald Reagan, a leader everyone knew consistently promoted small government.
Taken aback, Hatch said:
What’s disconcerting is that the president has again chosen not to work with Congress — even after I specifically asked the Obama administration to fully brief Congress if it chose to reorganize our trade agencies. As the lead Republican on the Finance Committee, I will discuss this matter with my colleagues and will expect a fullaccounting by the administration in short order.
The Utah Senator better hurry, because if he asked the Obama administration to follow a certain protocol and they refused, it’s questionable whether the President (checks and balances be damned) can be trusted to handle increased autonomy.
While cynical, it appears that crafty Obama may be luring Republicans into a ‘smaller-government/more power for me’ Catch-22. If lawmakers refuse to comply, the President can then say, “See, even when I do what they say they want, they refuse to work with me. That’s why I must work around them.”
That sort of slick ploy could garner the additional power Obama seeks, reaffirm his anti-Congress contention and deliver a few more “We can’t wait” campaign slogans for 2012.
For astute politicians, Barack Obama promoting less government in a venue that would exclude Congress should send up a red flag. Vowing that he would “only use” the authority in a certain way shouldn’t fool anyone. It seems as if Obama’s real plan may be to expand presidential power by tickling the ears of hopelessly naïve Republicans while simultaneously fashioning a platform of accusation upon which to condemn Congress. Hedging his bets, President Obama is probably convinced that either way – he’ll win.