In the weeks after voters cast a vote of no confidence on President Obama and his fellow Democrats, the president has gone on a scorched-earth campaign, unilaterally declaring amnesty for some 5 million illegal aliens, firing the only Republican in his Cabinet and rolling out a new federal rule dubbed “the most expensive regulation ever.”
Yes, this is the real Barack Obama, the one Americans cast their votes against Nov. 4 in an election in which the president had declared his agenda most definitely “on the ballot.”
“We all knew that an unrestrained Obama would be dangerous, but we never thought he’d be this dangerous,” one high-level Hill aide told me last week. “Now, he doesn’t care at all what the American people want, it’s all about jamming through the most liberal agenda he can. And he’s just getting started.”
“He’s just getting started.” Scary, isn’t it?
It’s been a terrible month for the president and his policies. More than half — 56 percent — disapprove of Mr. Obama acting on immigration without Congress, and the incoming Republican majority is unlikely to take the matter lying down. One of his top architects on Obamacare was caught on video saying that the law relies on the “stupidity of the American voter,” forcing the president to say he hardly knows the guy (a bald-faced lie).
Wait, there’s more. The Supreme Court announced Nov. 7 that it will hear a lawsuit that could end up dismantling Obamacare in at least 35 states. Then a week later, the Obama administration was caught including dental plans in its tally of Obamacare enrollees, inflating the number by nearly 500,000. And then the Department of Health and Human Services slashed the projected enrollment in Obamacare to fewer than 10 million, well below the predicted 13 million (whatever happened to those 46 million “uninsured” Mr. Obama repeated day after day?)
Then, in a move that clearly shows the president has lost all grounding in reality, he drives out the only Republican in his Cabinet (and by the way, whatever happened to that whole 2008 “past-partisan” promise from Mr. Obama?). Turns out the president is bent on taking the U.S. back to war, and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel was seen as a weak dove after years of seeing through Mr. Obama’s withdrawal from Iraq and Afghanistan.
The New York Times said that “officials characterized the decision as a recognition that the threat from the militant group Islamic State will require different skills from those that Mr. Hagel, who often struggled to articulate a clear viewpoint and was widely viewed as a passive defense secretary, was brought in to employ.”
Meanwhile, Mr. Obama — who won a Nobel Peace Prize before he had even served nine months in office — has gone hawk. In November, he secretly ordered the military to broaden its mission against the Taliban in Afghanistan. And the war in Iraq, where Mr. Obama withdrew U.S. troops against the counsel of his military leaders, has blown up, with Islamic State militants smashing the U.S.-trained Iraqi army. The president dispatched 1,500 new American troops to Iraq, although he claims he does not want “boots on the ground.”
While Ferguson burned, the president slipped in a federal rule dubbed “the most expensive regulation ever.” On Wednesday, after delaying the action for his entire presidency, waiting until there were no more elections, the Environmental Protection Agency released new tentative rules on ozone, meant to drastically cut the amount of smog produced by power plants and factories.
The move would lead to costly new requirements for air pollution permits in much of the country.
“This would be the most expensive regulation ever imposed on the American public,” said the National Association of Manufacturers, in a July study calculating that an especially strict version of the rule would wipe out $3.4 trillion in economic output and 2.9 million jobs by 2040, according to Politico.
All of these actions are exactly what Mr. Obama has always wanted to do but, because of those pesky “elections,” could not. And he still has two more years left, in which he will be unconstrained as he searching for some sort of legacy for his impotent presidency.
On Saturday, he went shopping with his daughters, hitting a book store where he bought Joseph Conrad’s “Heart of Darkness.” That’s a particularly appropriate book for him, especially given this quote:
“His very existence was improbable, inexplicable, and altogether bewildering. He was an insoluble problem. It was inconceivable how he had existed, how he had succeeded in getting so far, how he had managed to remain — why he did not instantly disappear.”
Let’s hope when he disappears in 2017 that there’s still an America. Which brings up one last quote, perhaps a directive to votes in November 2016: “Your strength is just an accident owed to the weakness of others.”
• Joseph Curl covered the White House and politics for a decade for The Washington Times. He can be reached at email@example.com and on Twitter @josephcurl.