REDEYE, Va. — President Obama wants to kill you.
First came the death panels, unchecked socialism and czarists run amok. Now Mr. Obama has decided to kill as many as 12,000 Americans. In addition, he aims to give heart attacks to another 5,300, send 20,000 more to hospitals and emergency rooms and sicken another 2.5 million so they miss school or work.
An exaggeration, you think? Vile blather from evil right-wing talk radio? Crazy vitriol from those racist tea partyers?
Nope. These figures and this scientific analysis come directly from none other than the Obama administration itself.
According to a painstaking analysis last year by Mr. Obama’s Environmental Protection Agency based on more than 1,700 scientific studies, dramatic new air-quality guidelines are needed to lower ground-level smog from the current 0.075 parts per million to as low as 0.060 ppm.
That, according to the EPA’s study, would save the lives of as many as 12,000 Americans.
Dubbed a “regulatory train wreck,” the new rules would have caused a wave of coal-fired power plants — still our country’s largest power source — to shut down. But Mr. Obama and his EPA insisted in dire warnings that the drastic new steps had to be taken to save lives.
Then, late last week, in a stunning turnabout, the president quietly announced his decision to junk the new ozone standards — sentencing, according to the administration’s own calculus, 12,000 Americans to die.
It is not surprising that Mr. Obama’s reversal on the desire to save lives was buried on a sleepy Friday before a holiday weekend. Then he quickly scurried out of town for another vacation.
The bombshell announcement comes just as Mr. Obama’s re-election campaign is searching for its footing. Perhaps the specter of rolling blackouts on top of 9 percent unemployment gave his campaign operatives a wee bit of nausea.
The move shows the deep, mindless desperation of a guy flailing around, terrified of the political situation he’s gotten himself into and hopelessly turning dials, wildly shifting levers and frantically punching buttons in hope that something — anything — might halt his political free-fall.
Last week it was dumping environmentalists overboard. The week before, it was amnesty for illegal aliens he hopes will — illegally — vote for him in the next election. What will next Friday’s doomsday announcement be? He suddenly supports reparations for slavery in order to gird lagging support among black voters?
Even more shocking, the announcement is an admission that the whole underpinning of leftist governance is a farce. It proves that oppressive government overregulation cannot coexist with a thriving, free, entrepreneurial economy.
It also is an admission that the very utopia envisioned by the greenies and embraced by the left really wouldn’t be a very pretty place. It would be a country where unelected college professors made all the decisions that impact every aspect of our daily lives.
It would be a country where energy was so expensive that nobody but the federal government could afford it. It would be a country where no one bathed, there was very little to eat and virtually no economic activity. The only freedom left would be the freedom to suffer.
Of course, this sort of “utopia” — especially with the degradation of the military — would be ripe for the picking by a country like China, which knows how to maximize natural resources.
It is, in the end, Mad Max, only without the hopeful visage of Tina Turner.
In announcing his decision in a brief written statement on Friday, Mr. Obama reminded us that he is never short of pretty talk or low on self-admiration.
“I want to be clear,” he said as he sentenced thousands to death. “My commitment and the commitment of my administration to protecting public health and the environment is unwavering.”
Unless, of course, it interferes with his re-election.
• Charles Hurt’s column appears Wednesday. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.