Howard Kurtz (The Daily Beast): After two years of carping about President Obama ramming his ambitious and costly proposals through Congress, some on the right now fume that he is determined to get his way by using — the nerve! — his executive powers.
Charles Krauthammer’s latest column, on this very subject, contains a curious omission, almost a sense of amnesia. The esteemed scribe details how the Obama administration is pushing through three important changes in federal policy, accusing the president of trying “to impose a liberal agenda on a center-right nation” through “regulatory stealth.”
….but here’s the thing: Every president uses the federal bureaucracy to push the country in his preferred ideological direction. That, in fact, is part of what elections are about. Each White House occupant appoints agency chiefs who agree with his philosophy ..… the Krauthammer column implies that Obama practically invented the nefarious practice.
Take, for example, George W. Bush. His EPA moved to loosen clean-air rules near national parks. His Interior Department cleared the way for oil drilling on 130,000 acres of pristine federal land near national parks in Utah (which Obama has since reversed) …. his Minerals Management Service, which referred to oil companies as “clients,” told the firms they did not have to provide detailed response plans for blowouts because such plans were “purely speculative or generic.” This was five years before the BP oil disaster …. his White House Council on Environmental Quality edited an administration report to emphasize scientific uncertainties about global warming …. his Securities & Exchange Commission mounted 87 percent fewer fraud investigations that led to federal prosecutions…..
….Obama may well be engaged in a “leftward lurch” toward stricter federal regulation, as the conservative Krauthammer views it. But when it comes to using the Executive Branch to achieve political goals, he’s had plenty of company.