Barack Obama, One Man’s Obstructionism Is Another Man’s Deliberation
What are conservatives up against in 2013? We are up against an extremely liberal President and his ideological allies in the Senate. What do we believe in and work to preserve? An America where freedom and prosperity flourish. We promote free enterprise, limited government, individual freedom, traditional American values, and a strong national defense – and liberals adamantly disagree with us.
In April of 2012, the New York Times had the stunning revelation that President Obama was intentionally bypassing Congress to advance his ideological goals. They noted what they characterized as a marked shift in the President’s tone at a strategy meeting in the fall of 2011.
He declared, aides recalled, that the administration needed to more aggressively use executive power to govern in the face of Congressional obstructionism.
The President told his staff that he wanted to “push the envelope” and find things they could “do on [their] own,” though he criticized George W. Bush for doing the same.
William G. Howell, a University of Chicago political science professor and author of “Power Without Persuasion: The Politics of Direct Presidential Action,” said that Mr. Obama was not necessarily doing something novel by exercising power unilaterally. Instead, he was doing what he needed to do to protect his legacy.
And it might be counterintuitive, but there are cheerleaders for cause of concentrating power in Mr. Obama’s hands, as if he needs cheerleaders! In a New York Times op-ed, David Brooks suggests that what needs to be done to overcome obstructionism of a divided Congress is give the executive more power:
It’s a good idea to be tolerant of executive branch power grabs and to give agencies flexibility.
It’s unclear how that notion will go over with conservatives and libertarians, but for some reason lead balloons come to mind.
Politico also suggests we’re now seeing a “different kind of Democrat” in President Obama now — one that’s “connecting to progressive populism with an aggressive, spending-oriented, activist government approach to the economy.”
Is this really new? It’s certainly possible for Mr. Obama to embrace more aggressive tactics, but that is not to say his tactics to date have been altogether passive.
The real question is whether he is increasing power for power’s sake? Is that the central motivation for Mr. Obama? Probably not. It’s more likely an ideological passion for advancing the liberal ideology, and that is something he has always possessed, and he has repeatedly expressed frustration at having institutions like Congress standing in his way.
Mr. Obama is driven by vision of America saturated in the liberal ideology of big government, at the expense of conservative principles. The two are, obviously, mutually exclusive.
As the recent House passage of a budget deal raising spending $63 billion in the next two years demonstrates, caving in Congress means inching evermore to the left, making this mission easier for Mr. Obama to accomplish.
Yet, liberals are philosophizing about how to advance progressive ideas more aggressively.
Apparently the following examples – or the plethora of others – of Mr. Obama’s power grabs aren’t enough to convince them he’s advancing the liberal ideology rapidly enough:
- When the Obama administration decided not to defend DOMA.
- When Obama made unconstitutional recess appointments.
- When Obama attempted to end run around Congress on nuclear arms reduction.
- When Obama gutted successful welfare reform.
Then there was the time, more recently, when he “successfully lobbied Democratic senators to change the filibuster rules that were holding up his executive branch and judicial nominees.”
Whatever could his incentive have been for that? Heritage Foundation legal expert Hans A. von Spakovsky explains:
The president and his allies want to “remake” the federal courts. Why? Because they know that one of the only remaining avenues open to conservatives and others to try and stop the abuse of federal power is through the federal court system.
If Republicans in Congress think the go-along-to-get-along mentality will help the country, they’re sorely mistaken.
As Sen. Mike Lee recently articulated, what is truly needed to shore up the rift in Congress is a conservative reform agenda. Part of that agenda is a conservative, patient-centered, market-based healthcare reform plan. We need to stop Obamacare, because as Charles Krauthammer noted two months ago:
Obamacare is the core of the new expansion of the liberal idea. This is sort of the continuation of the New Deal; it’s the continuation of the Great Society. In a sense the way that liberals have portrayed it, it’s the completion of the entitlement state. The one element that separated us from the advanced industrial countries… If this collapses, this huge expansion of the entitlement state, this essential nationalization of one sixth of the U.S. economy, I think that discredits the entire enterprise of the expansion of government, which is at the heart of Obamaism.
That is why Heritage Action exists. We exist to ensure radical liberals are not the only ones in this nation taking a strong stand for their principles. We exist to give a voice to the American people who oppose the expansion of big government because it threatens their prosperity and way of life.
There will be many fights in Congress, and battles are being waged between those who believe in big government and those who believe in freedom. Our nation is still languishing under the ravages of Obamacare; it’s a battle that’s not yet won. Next we face a potential fight on amnesty and immigration reform, as our CEO Mike Needham said Friday morning. We will have liberals to contend with for years to come. The war may never be won – but the battles should be.