President Obama has always been good at talking like a pragmatic, centrist, reasonable politician focused on “balance” and “whatever works,” while governing as an ideologue (though often an ideologue hampered by his own inability to, say, wrangle the Hill or gain popular support for his agenda). I’ve always said his greatest gift was in getting most everyone to believe his sincerity about whatever happened to be coming out of his mouth at any given moment, regardless of current policies or past positions that flatly contradicted it. I’ve got to believe that gift is finally expiring. The gap between the Hyde Park Constitutional lawyer rhetoric and the blanket surveillance of all of America’s web and phone data is too great. The chasm between the hopenchange brand and the changeable human being is too large. The truth of what a giant, generally unaccountable government is doing is too obvious for so many to continue to presume the correct, liberal steward thereof is all that’s needed to keep it pure.
With that in mind, it’s a good thing Obama delivered this tidbit in the place he’s most likely to encounter a few true believers still— a Democratic fundraiser:
“I remain hopeful, because I’ve run my last campaign, that over the next three years, we’re going to see more of the bipartisan efforts that we’re seeing in some areas. For example, Michael Bennet is doing a great job working with the so-called Gang of Eight to finally get immigration reform done so that we’re a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants, and we are fixing a broken immigration system. So there are areas where we’re starting to see glimmers of functionality in Washington,” said Obama.
“But on too many areas, we’re not getting the kind of cooperation that we need — not because the Democrats are particularly ideological or left-wing right now. The truth of the matter is Michael and I — I know that there are a few Republicans here in the audience — if you talk to us, it turns out we’re pretty common-sense folks. We don’t think government can do everything. We don’t think that top-down solutions are the right way to go. We believe in the free market. We believe in a light touch when it comes to regulations. We don’t want to tax all businesses out of business. But we do think that there’s a role to play for government.”
Uh-huh. About the regulations assertion:
A report by the Heritage Foundation last year found that the Obama administration in its first three years adopted 106 “major regulations” that increased burdens on the private sector, compared with 28 in the same time frame of President George W. Bush’s administration. A study by the left-leaning OMB Watch found that total regulations adopted by the Obama administration are roughly equal to the number adopted by other administrations over the past 18 years.
As Erika pointed out, via the WSJ, as we embarked upon the second term of such regulation:
The government defines “economically significant” rules as those that impose annual costs of $100 million or more, and the Bush, Clinton and Bush Administrations each ended up finalizing about 45 major rules per year. The average over Mr. Obama’s first two years was 63 but then plunged to 44 for 2011 and 2012 so far. The bureaucracies didn’t slow down. They merely postponed and built up a backlog that is about to hit the Federal Register.
We’d report the costs of the major-rule pipeline if we had current data. But the White House budget office document known as the unified agenda that reveals the regulations under development hasn’t been published since fall 2011. The delay violates multiple federal laws and executive orders that require an agenda every six months…
That’s right. While unleashing this onslaught of “light touch,” the Obama administration has been incapable of releasing a legally required rundown of its aggressive regulation plans in a timely manner— the first time since it became required that an administration has seen fit to make regulatory plans so opaque.
That’s an obvious laugher, but what about the ordinary Obama pablum most swallow whole?
“[I]f you talk to us, it turns out we’re pretty common-sense folks. We don’t think government can do everything. We don’t think that top-down solutions are the right way to go.”
What part of the administration’s DOJ, AP, Rosen, IRS, NSA, and PRISM scandals indicate any of this is true? And, who can listen to him defend the surveillance, in particular, with nothing but a bid for “trust” in demonstrably untrustworthy government and believe that he’s a “common-sense” guy who doesn’t “think government can do everything” averse to “top-down solutions?”
He goes on, in this speech, to explain once again (despite the gajillion-watt light of Scandalabra burning brightly), that it’s the bad attitude of Republicans insufficiently willing to yield to his will that make Washington broken. Sure. True believers will remain, but this is meeting the long-creaking limits of credulity in more quarters every day.
Flashback: In which Obama displays his gift in an attack ad on himself, 2008.