Last night, I was sent this conservative tract about the “dangers” of the Obama administration and had to break it down in case you see anyone else quoting this. For the future please please please send me any articles like this that show up in your inbox because I enjoy researching and writing retorts to this sort of faux journalism.
Steve McCann of the American Thinker is very afraid of a second Obama term. His fears center around growing executive power, which is certainly a concern if you are worried about American-born al Qaeda sympathizers. Given that McCann is not concerned with protecting terrorists in Yemen, none of his criticisms make a lick of sense. Rather they are trumped up complaints about policies in place since at least 1946 (but with roots in laws passed years earlier). So basically McCann thinks Barack Obama is responsible for events that took place 20 years before he was born…presumably in Kenya.
The 2012 election has often been described as the most pivotal since 1860. This statement is not hyperbole. If Barack Obama is re-elected the United States will never be the same, nor will it be able to re-capture its once lofty status as the most dominant nation in the history of mankind.
I’m not sure he understands what the word “hyperbole” means. Because — spoiler alert — any sentence that uses the phrase “in the history of mankind” is hyperbole…or irony.
McCann believes that the Obama administration forced the Democratic Congress in place during Obama’s first two years to cede unprecedented authority to the executive branch, essentially rendering Congress irrelevant.
That is why his re-election team is virtually ignoring the plight of incumbent or prospective Democratic Party office holders.
This is going to be one of many half-truths in this article. The Obama campaign is not planning to transfer funds from its coffers to the House or Senatorial campaign committees, but the reason is not a nefarious disregard for Congress, but the fact that the Obama campaign is no longer expecting to raise the over $1 billion in campaign cash originally estimated.
The most significant accomplishment of Obama’s first term is to make Congress irrelevant. Under the myopic and blindly loyal leadership of Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi, the Democrats have succeeded in creating an imperial and, in a second term, a potential dictatorial presidency. During the first two years of the Obama administration when the Democrats overwhelming controlled both Houses of Congress and the media was in an Obama worshipping stupor, a myriad of laws were passed and actions taken which transferred virtually unlimited power to the executive branch.
Curious. Go on.
The birth of multi-thousand page laws was not an aberration. This tactic was adopted so the bureaucracy controlled by Obama appointees would have sole discretion in interpreting vaguely written laws and enforcing thousands of pages of regulations they and not Congress would subsequently write.
Multi-thousand page laws are not an aberration — true, that correctly notes that this practice has a long history. But then IN THE NEXT SENTENCE, McCann says “this tactic was adopted” for Obama’s benefit. In reality, the Administrative Procedure Act (the “APA”) of 1946 established the framework McCann characterizes as a dangerous and unprecedented Obama-concoction. The APA recognized that Congress lacked the time, expertise and flexibility to draft rules to bring effect to all of the laws it passed. If you expect the House and Senate to draft, enforce, investigate and revise every rule governing dairy production in the U.S. Agricultural sector every year then you can expect American government to grind to a complete halt. The APA envisioned a structure where Congress would pass laws with broad strokes and industry experts, economists, engineers, scientists, farmers, etc., would be charged with making specific rules and keeping those rules up to date on the current practices.
For example, in the 2,700 pages of ObamaCare there are more than 2,500 references to the Secretary of Health and Human Services. There are more than 700 instances when he or she is instructed that they “shall” do something and more than 200 times when they “may” take at their sole discretion some form of regulatory action. On 139 occasions, the law mentions that the “Secretary determines.” In essence one person, appointed by and reporting to the president, will be in charge of the health care of 310 million Americans once ObamaCare is fully operational in 2014.
The same is true in the 2,319 pages of the Dodd-Frank Financial Reform Act which confers nearly unlimited power on various agencies to control by fiat the nation’s financial, banking and investment sectors. The bill also creates new agencies, such as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, not subject to any oversight by Congress. This overall process was repeated numerous times with other legislation all with the intent of granting unfettered power to the executive branch controlled Barack Obama and his radical associates.
What is missing from this ominous passage is any context. In fact, thousands of laws provide agency directors and cabinet secretaries this level of power. If anything, the high number of “shall” and “Secretary determines” are actually limits on executive power. In the Patriot Act, for example, the Attorney General is given broad power to make any regulations that a court could find reasonably related to the purpose of the law. On the other hand, these Obama-era laws cabin that power by giving the administration rule-making over hundreds of narrow openings instead of a large and vague openings.
This is classic misdirection on McCann’s part, because it preys upon the natural human skepticism of big numbers. Citing page numbers in the thousands and words being used in the hundreds scares an audience accustomed to big numbers signaling danger. Here’s an example of the power of citing big numbers. Each year, Dihydrogen Monoxide is a known causative component in many thousands of deaths and is a major contributor to millions upon millions of dollars in damage to property and the environment. Scary, no? Are you familiar with Dihydrogen Monoxide? Read more here. I’ll bet I can convince McCann to join me in banning this dangerous chemical, unless he’s against the EPA…oh here we go:
Additionally, the Obama administration has, through its unilaterally determined rule making and regulatory powers, created laws out of whole cloth. The Environmental Protection Agency on a near daily basis issues new regulations clearly out of their purview in order to modify and change environmental laws previously passed and to impose a radical green agenda never approved by Congress.
The EPA was created by the Nixon administration and since that day has functioned with the exact same “executive power” that McCann blames Obama for creating. I wonder if Obama ordered Watergate too?
None of these extra-constitutional actions have been challenged by Congress. The left in America knows this usurpation of power is nearly impossible to reverse unless stopped in its early stages.
Probably because there has not been any usurpation of power in this area. Occam’s Razor, dude.
McCann claims that the legislation passed in the first two years of Obama’s administration cannot be overturned by a Republican-controlled Congress. This is probably true, but McCann undermines this worry:
The most significant power Congress has is the control of the purse-strings as all spending must be approved by them.
This has already been threatened. The GOP-controlled House responded to the need to reauthorize the rate protection for college student loans by cutting funding for the Affordable Care Act. This is a powerful tool in the arsenal of the GOP if they recapture the Congress and despite McCann’s position, if Congress cut funding, it could undermine any delusional fear of another Obama administration.
However, once re-elected, Barack Obama, as confirmed by his willingness to do or say anything and his unscrupulous re-election tactics, would not only threaten government shutdowns but would deliberately withhold payments to those dependent on government support as a means of intimidating and forcing a Republican controlled Congress to surrender to his demands, thus neutering their ability to control the administration through spending constraints.
OK, now I’m starting to wonder if this is written ironically. The government has shut down before and shut downs have been threatened more than a few times and every instance has been at the hands of the Republican party. The reason is simple: a shutdown DOES hurt those dependent on government support, and that’s why the Democrats always cave because they refuse to cut off social security to seniors or food aid for children while the Republican party, whether bluffing or not, will willingly use those constituencies as hostages in a game of political poker.
Further, this administration has shown contempt for the courts by ignoring various court orders, e.g. the Gulf of Mexico oil drilling moratorium, as well as stonewalling subpoenas and requests issued by Congress. The Eric Holder Justice Department has become the epitome of corruption as part of the most dishonest and deceitful administration in American history. In a second term the arrogance of Barack Obama and his minions will become more blatant as he will not have to be concerned with re-election.
Both of these stories are jokes. The Gulf drilling moratorium — which, lest we forget, was put in place after it came to light that drilling in the Gulf was riddled with safety hazards that had killed 11 people and created the second worst environmental disaster in American history — was overturned by a low-level federal judge and then appealed. The moratorium was lifted and then the Obama administration began issuing new permits at a record pace once safety standards were put in place. That’s not contempt, it’s responsibility and respect for 11 dead people and thousands more devastated by the effects of the spill. The Eric Holder “corruption” charge relates to the “Fast and Furious” scandal, which was a local sting operation conducted since the Bush administration that was bungled and the GOP has decided to call for the firing of Holder as the “CEO” of the Justice Department because someone 9 levels below him screwed up.
Who will be there to enforce the rule of law, a Supreme Court ruling or the Constitution? No one. Barack Obama and his fellow-travelers will be unchallenged as they run roughshod over the American people.
Did he just say “fellow-travelers?” Is this 1956?
In the debate world, an argument must have an impact. In response to McCann’s argument, I ask “even if I were to believe that the Obama administration has expanded executive power (which it has not), what’s the abuse?” There is no explanation in the McCann article of how anything he describes leads to running “roughshod” over the American people. Is it the law that lowers the cost of health insurance? Is it the law that places regulations on the banks who created the financial meltdown by making risky investments without hedging their bets?
McCann attempts to whip up opposition to President Obama by crediting him with creating the structure of American government we’ve all lived in since at least 1946. His article is either willfully disingenuous or woefully ill-researched.