Obama’s Impatience, Imperial Presidency, Driving to Expand All Powers

Perhaps President Barack Obama spent so little time in the Senate because he has little tolerance for the glacial pace at which Congress was designed to move.

The nation might have profited if Obama had been patient enough to make it through his first term. Even if he had just moved some meaningful legislation or missed fewer than 308 votes before vaulting to the presidency, Obama would have been better equipped. Instead, Obama has wildly overestimated the ability of Congress to achieve his massive first-year agenda. As a result of his frustrations, Obama is embarking on a breathtaking expansion of executive power.

By Chris Stirewalt
Washington Examiner

Many said it was too much for Congress to tackle the president’s three big issues — health care, global warming and education reform — in one year. But the administration and its media boosters promised that silky smooth Obama and his legislative maestros Rahm Emanuel and Joe Biden could get the job done.

With Congress getting ready to take a 10-day powder for Memorial Day, here’s where the president’s agenda stands: Democrats are blanching at the thought of levying huge new taxes to pay for $670 billion worth of state-run health care; Obama’s cap and trade system has become a corporate welfare program that would dump billions of dollars on connected companies; and on education,

Congress hasn’t even been able to muster any symbolic hand-wringing.

With the drama of a Supreme Court nomination just ahead and lots of other shoes waiting to drop on investigating the harsh tactics used by the Bush administration against terrorists, Congress will be in a dither for the dwindling number of working days that remain this year.

And don’t forget that there are hundreds of millions of dollars in campaign contributions that must be raised this year in advance of the 2010 elections. With all that stacked up against him, passing even a modest national health care program would be an astonishing feat for Obama.

That’s not to say that extensive legislative experience is the ne plus ultra of presidential qualification; far from it. Governors have the even more valuable experience of learning how to move an agenda. Executives and generals know something about putting plans into action, too.

But an ambitious young lawmaker who had a tendency to dodge tough issues (remember the 129 “present” votes in the Illinois legislature) is at a unique disadvantage having neither governed nor crafted major compromise.

Obama has proved to be much more calculating on issues than expected. The only place where he seems to be a dreamer is on how much work the lazy, distracted, risk-averse Congress is capable of.

In some cases, like closing the prison for terrorists at Guantanamo Bay, Obama has had to bow — at least temporarily — to the legislative impracticalities of his plans. But often, the president expands executive power to force his agenda through by fiat.

Rather than wait for lawmakers to squeeze out a compromise bill on imposing global warming fees, he has dropped the regulatory hammer on American industry. First his Environmental Protection Agency declared the carbon dioxide we exhale as a threat to human health. Then this week Obama laid down new vehicle emissions and fuel efficiency standards that will force all automakers — even those not owned by the government — to change the vehicles they make.

Pity poor Ford and Toyota, forced to grin and bear it as Obama said Tuesday that “everybody wins” when the price of cars goes up and vehicle choices go down. The remaining independent carmakers won’t even be able to profit by making the trucks and real sedans that consumers prefer when General Motors and Chrysler/Fiat start churning out little Obamamobiles.

Obama already shattered prior concepts of executive power by blowing up bankruptcy rules to nationalize Chrysler and soon GM in advance of handing the companies over to the United Auto Workers.

While the lame cap and trade bill limps along in Congress, Obama has already addressed global warming by decree.

It’s been the same with banking and finance, where the administration has gone from rescuer to lender to owner. And if Congress can’t act on health care soon enough, expect similar moves.

Obama’s predecessors already stretched the power of the executive branch to gargantuan proportions.

But even an imperial presidency has proved to be not capacious enough for ambitious, impatient Obama.

President Barack Obama holds his hand outstretched during a ...
Barack Obama apparently blesses and thanks the graduates of Notre Dame….Sunday, May 17, 2009. Center is board of trustees chairman Dick Notebaert.(AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

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One Response to “Obama’s Impatience, Imperial Presidency, Driving to Expand All Powers”

  1. slamdunk Says:

    I can’t wait for the second 100 days report.

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