Now that voters have sent President Obama a clear message to change course, will he heed it? I don’t think so.
Sure, we will hear a call for more bipartisanship. Obama will try to return to his 2008 campaign mantra of post-partisanship and talk about a shared responsibility with the Republicans for governing the country. But this will be two-faced Obama’s way of syndicating the risk of continued failure of his own economic policies to the new Republican majority in the House, in order to set them up as the “do nothing” Congress in the 2012 elections.
With the White House and the Senate still in the hands of the Democrats for the next two years, Obama knows they still control much of the Washington agenda. Obama and his re-elected pal Harry Reid will not permit any real conservative solutions emanating from the House, such as repeal of major portions of Obamacare, tax cuts or dramatically reduced spending, to go any further. Yet the new Republican majority in the House will have enough power to stall any further progress in Obama’s legislative agenda, which he in turn will try to characterize as obstructionism.
The New York Times has already anticipated the Republican obstructionism argument in its lead editorial today:
Anticipating a big win on Tuesday, leading Republicans haven’t been talking about substance, only more obstructionism.
The truth is that Republicans have been talking about substance and core principles, but they are not the kind of substance and principles that progressives such as the editors of the Times like to hear.
However, there is something even more insidious than this shift-the-blame strategy to be concerned about. The Obama administration, while playing defense to protect its existing legislative accomplishments from dismantlement, is likely to attempt expansion of its progressive agenda through executive orders and more bureaucratic regulations.
For example, knowing that the kind of comprehensive immigration reform legislation he has in mind will go nowhere, President Obama may try to issue an executive order authorizing the Department of Homeland Security to unilaterally grant legal status on a mass basis to illegal immigrants. In that way, he can secure the Latino vote for himself and his fellow Democrats in 2012.
The Environmental Protection Agency will likely be used as the Obama administration’s vehicle of choice to limit carbon gas emissions across the economy, irrespective of whether Congress passes any climate legislation. The Department of Health and Human Services will be busy writing and issuing regulations to implement Obamacare in ways that will make it even more difficult to uproot this ill-conceived exercise in governmentally directed central planning of our health care system. And so on.
Don’t let two-faced Obama’s post midterm election bipartisan rhetoric fool you. He is trying to set up Republicans for blame in 2012 while continuing to enact his progressive agenda by stealth.
Joseph A. Klein is the author of a new book entitled Lethal Engagement: Barack Hussein Obama, the United Nations and Radical Islam.