12.12.2014 1

What we should have learned about President Obama

Obama-walkonwaterBy Rick Manning

President Barack Obama has been in office for just under six years, and for the first time in his presidency he doesn’t have to worry about appeasing an electorate.

Now we get to see his true stripes and they are unlikely to be red and white.

With a Republican controlled Congress it is highly likely this President will be consumed with writing regulations and making it as hard as possible for his successor to uproot the fundamental change of America that he promised.

Just one proof of this zeal is that unlike the last two years of George W. Bush’s Administration which was trying to wrap up regulatory work that had been working through the system for years, President Obama’s EPA is in the process of pushing new, grandiose regulations that would impose more than an estimated $250 billion a year in costs to the U.S. economy.

Using oversight and the funding process, Congress has to throw sand in the gears of this government by fiat approach embraced by this Administration.

Obama’s lack of trustworthiness is another problem for those members of Congress who want to pass legislation.

Experience teaches that the President is a master at selecting which portions of the law he chooses to uphold and those which he ignores.  Congress can put any directives into authorizing legislation that they want, but the effect of Obama’s untethering himself from his constitutional responsibilities makes these edicts meaningless.

In the past six years, Congress should have learned that the Obama Administration cares little about complying with requests for documents, and will stonewall any and every investigation making oversight extremely difficult.

They can no longer give the President the benefit of the doubt, and instead need to call a steady stream of political appointees before Congressional Committees forcing them to either tell the truth or perjure themselves.  Obama’s vulnerability is that these political appointees all know that they are likely to be out of the Executive Branch in 2017, and the last thing they want are legal bills to fight perjury charges when they are both unemployed and unemployable.

Congress should know that Obama is completely out of touch when it comes to negotiating with foreign governments as evidenced by his failed Middle East policy that is leading to a nuclear Iran, and his agreement with China to further shackle the U.S. economy with onerous environmental regulations while allowing the Chinese pollution machine to continue unabated for more than a decade.

The last thing Congress should do is provide this President with power to negotiate any trade treaties without complete and full oversight.  This means denying President Obama the fast track authority that would force Congress to decide whether to approve a massive trade deal on an up or down vote without being able to strip out onerous provisions.

Finally, Congress should have learned that President Obama really only wants to go around the country and the world making speeches and is totally disinterested in the process of governing.  Rather than grow frustrated at this fact, they should place individual appropriations bills on his desk on a regular basis with some key policy riders that force him to make a choice on them.  They should include policy riders and cuts to his priorities that force a real discussion about the radical direction he is taking the country.  If some of his policies are derailed through this process, it would be a huge win for those who believe in limited government.

Congress knows who and what President Obama is at this juncture of his presidency.  With his out of control EPA, NLRB, Labor Department and pen created amnesty, the legislative branch much reclaim its prerogatives over the next two years, or else they may be lost forever.

Rick Manning is the vice president of public policy and communications of Americans for Limited Government.

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