In the continuing effort to illustrate that the Obama Presidency is an unprincipled collection of old school liberal ideology, several pieces of legislation wind their way through Congress. Based upon his view of American principles and values and in the alleged interests of all, the Democratic leadership continues to create carve outs and special protections to special interests. The lobbyist who claimed that lobbyists would not find a receptive ear under his "leadership" is either a liar or was particularly naive. And it is so difficult to find a proper starting place to this entry. I am not necessarily referring to his failed stimulus spending legislation or the auto industry bail out (excuse me, take over...and we see how great that is working out). Those are way too obvious.
Instead, a good starting point would be perhaps the backdoor methods of ramming through an agenda that lacks political support. One might call them downright unconstitutional. There are three instances that come to mind. The first is the fact that the EPA has decided that carbon dioxide is a pollutant and thus subject to regulation by this agency. This is the first time a naturally occurring gas is considered a pollutant. That's like the Nuclear Regulatory Commission trying to regulate the natural radiation emitted by the sun. All of this is based on spurious scientific evidence. The reason the EPA- a collection of unelected bureaucrats- was recruited to regulate carbon dioxide emissions is because Congress lacks the necessary votes to do anything. And they lack the votes because (1) quite frankly, the majority of Americans have not bought into Al Gore's inconvenient truths, (2) they realize it would cost jobs, and (3) the United States has, absent regulation, decreased carbon dioxide emissions. But, we are told, the United States must be a leader in this area. In typical Obama apologist style, we are historically the worst polluters in the world. We must be the leader in stopping the oceans from rising and hurricanes and all sort of calamity predicted by Al BORE. What are a few jobs lost in the process? After all, for every job lost, two will be created in Obama's utopian fantasyland. Reality check: It ain't happening. Look no further than Spain which found that for every "green job" created, 2 or more jobs were lost- permanently. Regardless, the EPA runs headlong into this folly ignorant of the fact that the EPA probably lacks the legislative mandate to do so under the Clean Air Act. By their inaction in Congress, the Democratic leadership tacitly approves of this EPA action in furtherance of the liberal environmental policy. Why touch a thorny issue when you can allow faceless unelected bureaucrats do it?
A second area is in the area of communications. The FCC is moving forward, using the argument that inaction will deter broadband expansion, to regulate internet service providers (ISPs). Never mind the objective fact that it would cost jobs and stifle technological innovation and investment. In effect, using a law from 1936 that regulated telephone companies, the FCC would impose regulations on ISPs under the Orwellian nomer of "net neutrality." Although it sounds nice and sanitary and well and good, in effect it would make ISPs public utilities and regulated by the government. Companies like AOL, Google, Yahoo, eBay, facebook, etc. all developed and thrived without government assistance. That in and of itself should be proof that less government regulation is beneficial. It is inconceivable to this government that if something is not broken, you don't have to fix it. Currently, the ISPs currently control the speed with which traffic is sent over their systems and sometimes that speed is determined by the highest bidder. But, it does not deny access to the lower bidders. Under the regulations called "net neutrality," all traffic would not be prioritized. They argue that this favors large corporations. Quite frankly, when is the last time someone Googled "Conoco-Phillips" as opposed to any porn site. Who cares about the speed, quite frankly. Given the alternatives like contacting the oil company by phone for information or buying the latest Hustler magazine, they both enter the home computer pretty damn fast. The worry is that once the FCC determines they can regulate the internet, what comes next? Content? Again, they tread where Congress is currently wary.
The third area is with the NLRB and "card check." Euphemistically called the "Employee Free Choice Act," this would essentially by pass the secret election process to determine the outcome of union drives. With declining union membership in the US (unles you are a public worker), the reasons for this. Argued as necessary to overcome employer intimidation of workers during union drives, the facts do not bear out their reasoning. This is nothing more than a ploy by organized labor to swell their ranks and their coffers. Considering that organized labor contributes 98% of their campaign expenditures to the Democratic Party, one need look no further than that for the reasons for this "law." In reality, card check can be used to effectuate a union, but only if the employer engaged in unfair labor practices during the union drive or election. But, those cases are so few and far between and rare that they practically never happen- a blip on the radar screen and hardly the intimidation holocaust unions make them to be. But, what is sacrificing a little democracy in the workplace if democracy in Congress decides the opposite and will not advance the law? Perhaps because the public at large views the law as inherently unfair and undemocratic. Maybe it is because that only 9% of the non-union workforce favors unions. Even 78% of unionized workers favor leaving secret ballot elections for unions. The real reason for this law is that it attempts to force on the majority of American workers the misconceptions of the minority. The real reason is that because of decreased union ranks, more than half of the top 20 union pension funds are in financial trouble and becoming in danger of insolvency. Swelling the ranks by undemocratic means equals more dues paying members to fund these pensions and pay for advertisements for Democrats.
The most obvious end-around the political process, of course, was health care reform. One cannot discern what was worse- the actual law or the process? The process was rife with state or even district specific sweetheart deals and carve outs too numerable to mention. I guess that is why it took over 2,000 pages and God only knows how many pages of regulations and directives from, again, faceless unelected bureaucrats. Then to make matters worse, they passed the "law" through the budget reconciliation process instead of normal methods. The result is that the majority STILL oppose the law and Obama is still out there attempting to sell his signature legislative achievement while the Democrats kick in a $125 million advertising blitz to convince a skeptical public on a law they already passed. If it is so great, Obama wouldn't be selling it, the Democrats wouldn't be selling it, and it would stand on its own. And speaking of deals, why wouldn't the health insurance industry support it since the government is directing- mandating- at least 12 million new customers under threat of penalty through the tax code.
Their next legislative achievement will supposedly be banking and financial reform. Leaving aside the efficacy of regulations on derivatives and exotic transactions, or addressing the "too big to fail" argument (thought that was what bankruptcy laws were for), look at the consumer protection watchdog agency being proposed. No one argues with consumer protection just like they don't argue with increased market transparency. But, it occurred to these genius lawmakers that not only banks and financial companies are in the loan business. So, they created a carve out- a "political compromise"- that excludes car dealers.
Then there is the granddaddy of carve outs in the DISCLOSE Act. Acting in response to the Supreme Court's decision in Citizen's United,Congress is attempting to circumvent the underlying principle of the decision- a little inconvenience called the First Amendment- by requiring non-Party affiliated organizations that engage in political advertising to disclose the source of their funds and for CEOs to endorse the message like politicians now do and give shareholders say in the use of corporate funds for these purposes. All sounds well and good unless you are the NRA in which you get legislative language that specifically excludes them. The cries of "foul" are rising from other groups like the Sierra Club.
The first problem is the lack of principle involved. If the underlying principle is affordable health care for all people and realizing it will cost federal and state dollars to achieve those ends, then stick to it. Don't agree to pay the tab in Louisiana and/or Nebraska unless you agree to the same in the other 48 states which are no better or worse than Louisiana and Nebraska that happen to be inhabited by very real (and angry) people. If the underlying principle is consumer protection and truth-in-lending practices, that applies to the investor in a hedge fund, the person signing the mortgage agreement AND to the customer on the car dealer's lot. If the underlying principle is transparency in political advertising, that applies to Exxon, SEIU, the Sierra Club AND the NRA. Instead, when they were not doing end-arounds the legislative process, they sold out those principles for a vote all in the cause of advancing a liberal agenda and handing Obama a legislative victory.
In the other cases, since they could not achieve it through legislation, they advance their cause through the bureaucracy. The liberals are very quick to rail against the Republican penchant for consolidating and expanding the power of the Executive Branch at the expense of the legislative process. What can be a greater Executive Branch power grab than granting greater regulatory authority to unelected officials of the Executive Branch? This is childlike behavior from a supposedly intelligent President who can't get his way the right way, but persists until he finds another way despite the express wishes and desires of the majority- in this case the American people. The parents told him no to cap-and-trade and regulating carbon dioxide. They told him no to regulating the internet. They told him no to undemocratic means of unionizing. But, Obama and the Democrats are the spoiled little brats of politics who get their way no matter what. And as for the argument "the Republicans did it; why can't we?" the reply should be that common refrain of parents everywhere: "Two wrongs do not make a right."
They are either children, or they are whores who sacrifice their principles for votes. Don't support our version of health care because it might cost your state some money? Here's $300 million. Don't support health care reform because of your views on abortion funding? Here's another $100 million for your vote. Don't like the fact you have to identify yourselves in a political advertisement and several members of Congress receive donations from you? Don't worry- it doesn't apply to you, now give your support to the legislation.
The biggest problem is that Obama himself in his four year campaign to become President raised the bar with his leg-tingling oratory that brought pundits and commentators to tears. Either he is incredibly unprincipled or incredibly naive. Neither are good qualities in a President. Some may call this political compromise. Actually, it is more akin to political prostitution and the last time I checked, prostitution was illegal in most parts of the country. Either that or the Democrats, liberals and Obama (all one and the same) are like little spoiled brats intent on getting their way come hell or high water. In either case, come November 2010, 2011, and 2012 the American voter has to either do a vice sweep of the streets or give them a good spanking.