The Why and How Democrats Maintain Control.
The Left learned a lesson a long time ago that elected Republicans are simply clueless about. That lesson is “incrementalism”. It isn’t complicated and it’s not hidden. Heck, it doesn’t even take a degree from an ivy covered campus to understand. Our leadership ignores it because they haven’t want to deal with it because, IMO, they’re concerned that attacking it as a problem (and it is a problem) might be a cause for offense from the other side of the aisle and heaven forbid that those staunch icons of bipartisanship like Harry Reid or Nancy Pelosi might be offended.
Here are the fundamentals. First are a couple of inconvenient facts – inconvenient for Republicans. First of all, Democrats can paint almost any piece of legislation as “for the public good” or “for the children” and enough Republicans will vote for it so it can be passed. Second, the legislation does not have to be specific and it doesn’t have to be sweeping, it just needs to open the door to or create a regulatory environment. Third, all regulators are Democrats and support the expansion of the power of the federal government. Now, lets talk about the upcoming election and the President and his advisors don’t seem to be panicking over the almost certain loss of the House and the potential loss of the Senate. Jon Ward did a good job of laying out the specifics in his piece today in the Daily Caller.
President Obama came into office with a well defined hard left – socialist, some would say – agenda. In his first two years in office the only real game changing pieces of legislation that he’s been able to pass, even with a solidly leftist Congress – is ObamaCare and the financial regulatory package he just signed. Both Cap&Trade and CardCheck were DoA. With Republicans in control of the House and with at least a filibuster proof minority in the Senate he’s not likely accomplish much that the editors of The Nation or MoveOn.org will be celebrating in the next Congress.
So, what’s going to happen? Thank you for asking. What will be happening is that the “shadow government”, the regulatory agencies, will take over where Harry&Nancy couldn’t get the job done. As Ward notes…
In one sense, Obama and congressional Democrats don’t need to pass any more major pieces of legislation. Having passed a massive overhaul of the health care system and financial regulation, they will have plenty to do – and plenty they will be able to do – simply in writing regulations and rules to implement those laws.
The Environmental Protection Agency is also planning to regulate carbon emissions, in the absence of a bill written by Congress to do so. That figures to be a third major avenue of action for the Obama administration no matter who controls Congress.
And the fourth avenue is labor law, where the Obama administration shares many of the same goals as organized labor, which is also one of its biggest sources of political and financial support.
The US Department of Labor, like the rest of the federal bureaucracy, is filled with regulators who share the Obama world view. The DoL is loaded with appointees whose careers were made working as union organizers. Give the Obama Administration’s willingness to use executive fiat and regulatory sleight of hand to accomplish what they can’t legislate, you can be sure that the DoL will be looking for the same back door to CardCheck that ICE used to stop deportation of illegal aliens last month. Bottom line, they’ll just do it. After all, who’s going to stop them? Republicans? Well, this year, maybe.
Vin Weber, an influential Republican lobbyist, said Republicans on Capitol Hill are gearing up for a major confrontation with the administration over its regulatory approach.
“Most Republicans believe [Democrats will] try to be as aggressive in transforming policy through the regulatory approach as they were through the legislative approach,” Weber said. “So Republicans get all this. But they’re not gonna just sit back and watch and do nothing about it. They’ll fight back.”
This, [Karl] Rove said in an e-mail, is where Republican control of the House would be a big deal.
“Rules can be overturned or blocked by congressional action. They can be tied up or sued in court. Agencies can be defunded or their budgets crimped. Executive branch officials outside the White House can be called before Congress to explain,” he said.
Weber laid out the coming clash in more detail.
“If you really want to fight the regulatory approach, the money bills originate in the House of Representatives. You simply put language in the money bill for whatever agency is doing the regulating, saying, ‘No money in this bill shall be used to implement regulation xyz,’” Weber said. “ The president can decide to sign the bill or not sign the bill, but that’s the kind of confrontation you’ll have if the administration gets too aggressive in its regulatory approach.”
“Also, hauling people up to testify, that’s going to happen anyway,” he said.
So, the real question here is this: will the Republican Leadership that has for years been selling conservative and small government principles down the Potomac for nothing more than an occasional nice mention in the Washington Post decide to stand up and actually fight for principles. I think the answer is maybe. And to a large extent it depends on the new crop of Representatives and Senators and their ability to stand on principle and their willingness to fight the old line leadership. That’s why this election is important, probably more important than any we’ve seen in a generation.
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