He said he was “shellacked” and now the media elites say he’s back, emerging from electoral defeat with a taste of victory. “He went from shellacking to swashbuckling” wrote Dana Milbank. “Obama accomplished something not seemingly possible – starting the 112th Congress on a level playing field” said Charles Krauthammer. And, of course, Barack Obama, our ever-so-humble Commander-in-Chief, claimed it to be “the most productive post-election period we’ve had in decades.”
“It was pretty wide and fairly deep.” That is the media’s description of the legislative session that followed the huge Republican victory that still ripples through the body-politic, prompting numerous Democratic office-holders to switch to the Republican Party. Predictably, the real story of Mr. Obama’s magical rejuvenation has not been reported, principally because it hasn’t happened. In fact, he has continued down a path that will undoubtedly result in re-election defeat, even as he was being lauded for repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and passage of the New Start Treaty.
The most significant act of the lame-duck session wasn’t even done by Congress; it was the passing of the Net Neutrality rule by the FCC. After a clear indication that Congress would not authorize this bogus issue, Obama showed his true colors by scheming with his college buddy, Julius Genachowski, chairman of the FCC, to put the federal government in the business of controlling the Internet. It has yet to be seen how much government regulation will be spawned by this new rule, but we can assume it will be significant – and produce a chilling effect on Internet innovation.
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. While Congress was focused on other issues, Obama and his minions were working overtime to stifle the economy and further erode our liberty. Here is their laundry list of job-killing actions – and believe me, this list is far from complete:
1. Health and Human Services issued its first ObamaCare regulation. This 135-page monstrosity was immediately recognized as a payoff to the AARP, which supported ObamaCare, to the detriment of everyone else. The AARP received help to protect its $700 million insurance referral fee revenue – while we were left with the bill. Kathleen Sebelius, HHS Secretary, also told insurance companies that only she will determine what constitutes a “reasonable” rate increase. Just think what will happen when those 150 or so commissions created by ObamaCare kick into high gear and start issuing more job-killing rules.
2. The EPA announced it will move ahead with “Greenhouse Gas” regulations, which are sure to have a stifling effect on the energy market and jobs. Worse, this announcement took place after the global-warming zealots were exposed as charlatans, and while the nation is suffering through its worst winter storms in years while they claimed that the severe winter was really caused by global warming.
3. The Interior Department had a double whammy on the job market. Ken Salazar announced the permanent elimination of drilling in large portions of the Gulf of Mexico, killing thousands of existing jobs and certainly moving oil production to less friendly areas. But that wasn’t good enough for Secretary Salazar, who has made it his personal objective to relocate the lumber market outside our borders. He froze an additional 70 million acres of federal land from any economic use. What will he say a couple of years from now, when huge wildfires break out?
4. The President gushed over the tax bill, claiming a major victory. All it did was extend existing rates so as to not cripple the economy. But Obama also snuck in numerous budget-busting programs that will do very little to encourage employment.
While the President was passing some constituency-pleasing legislation, his administration continued to destroy jobs through needless regulation and intervention. “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” may have pleased his base, but, if they have been out of work for more than a year, their giddiness won’t last too long. His bipartisan efforts – a result of desperation, not conviction – may have moved the middle, but what really inspires them are a strong job market, opportunities for economic growth, and an increased value for their home.
Nothing matters more for Obama’s re-election than the unemployment rate – and that number, as currently calculated, is significantly understated. With the exception of the Tax Bill, which prevented the economy from falling off a cliff, nothing that Congress did will spur job creation. We still have four negotiated trade pacts, each of which would help create jobs and improve the economic environment. But because of opposition by lamentable labor leaders, the Pelosi regime never brought them to a vote.
Obama can pass anything or do anything he wants, but, without a significant improvement in the job market, his re-election is toast. He may have begun to talk a good game, but unless this economy starts creating 250,000 jobs per month, it will remain stagnant – with thousands of people continuing to suffer long-term unemployment. Layer on to that rigid regulations that restrict individual freedoms and if the deficit continues to soar, his goose is cooked.
There is a perception that the constituencies that voted overwhelmingly for Obama in 2008 will stick with him. That will certainly be true for the blacks, but not so for the young voters -especially those who were attending college at the time. They have experienced at least two full years of having their dreams dashed by a sour job market – and it’s not just the kids graduating with marginal degrees, but engineers, scientists and lawyers. The jobs will continue to be thin, causing even greater dissatisfaction with the existing administration. These kids are starting to realize that “hope and change” will not make a car payment. This frustration will ripple down through the undergraduates, causing the glow to disappear from the President.
The most important activity of the past month took place outside of Congress – and none of it was pretty. Obama continues to show us that he believes government, not free enterprise, is the solution, and there’s no way that will ever change. Friday’s job report will be the real indicator of whether he has hope of a second term.