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Bill Kristol has some needed advice for Romney.
Remember Michael Dukakis (1988) and John Kerry (2004)? It’s possible to lose a winnable presidential election to a vulnerable incumbent in the White House (or in the case of 1988, a sitting vice president). So, speaking of losing candidates from Massachusetts: Is it too much to ask Mitt Romney to get off autopilot and actually think about the race he’s running?
Adopting a prevent defense when it’s only the second quarter and you’re not even ahead is dubious enough as a strategy. But his campaign’s monomaniacal belief that it’s about the economy and only the economy, and that they need to keep telling us stupid voters that it’s only about the economy, has gone from being an annoying tick to a dangerous self-delusion. …
Charles Krauthammer on the new imperial presidency.
… Obama’s presumption is Olympian. He takes America into a war in Libya with U.N. approval but none from Congress. Yet that awful Bush had the constitutional decency to twice seek and gain congressional approval before he initiated hostilities.
The Department of Health and Human Services issues Obamacare regulations treading so heavily on the free-exercise rights of Catholic institutions that Obama’s own allies rebel. The new regulation concocted to tame the firestorm blithely orders private insurers to provide free contraceptives to employees of the objecting religious institutions. By what possible authority does a president order private companies to provide free services? To say nothing of the 1,200 Obamacare waivers granted with royal arbitrariness according to the (political) whims of an HHS secretary.
And now immigration. Obama adopts a policy of major non-enforcement of the immigration law — a variant of the very Dream Act he could not get through even a Democratic Congress — and promulgates it unilaterally, while his Justice Department claims the right to invalidate state laws that might in some way impinge on that very non-enforcement.
The Republican presidential campaign centers on the ineffectiveness of this administration: failure at home, passivity abroad. A fine electoral strategy. But as citizens we should be grateful. Given the administration’s extravagant ambitions, incompetence is its saving grace.
Kimberley Strassel expands on the subject.
The ObamaCare litigation is history, with the president’s takeover of the health sector deemed constitutional. Now we can focus on the rest of the Obama imperial presidency.
Where, you are wondering, have you recently heard that term? Ah, yes. The “imperial presidency” of George W. Bush was a favorite judgment of the left about our 43rd president’s conduct in war, wiretapping and detentions. Yet say this about Mr. Bush: His aggressive reading of executive authority was limited to the area where presidents are at their core power—the commander-in-chief function.
By contrast, presidents are at their weakest in the realm of domestic policy—subject to checks and balances, co-equal to the other branches. Yet this is where Mr. Obama has granted himself unprecedented power. The health law and the 2009 stimulus package were unique examples of Mr. Obama working with Congress. The more “persistent pattern,” Matthew Spalding recently wrote on the Heritage Foundation blog, is “disregard for the powers of the legislative branch in favor of administrative decision making without—and often in spite of—congressional action.”
Put another way: Mr. Obama proposes, Congress refuses, he does it anyway.
For example, Congress refused to pass Mr. Obama’s Dream Act, which would provide a path to citizenship for some not here legally. So Mr. Obama passed it himself with an executive order that directs officers to no longer deport certain illegal immigrants. This may be good or humane policy, yet there is no reading of “prosecutorial discretion” that allows for blanket immunity for entire classes of offenders. …
Mark Steyn thinks big government is going to fail here.
… Insofar as it works at all, Big Government works best in small, highly developed, northern Continental nation states with a sufficiently homogeneous population to have sufficiently common interests. You can get by with it for a while in Mediterranean Europe, mainly because of a somewhat desultory attitude to the rule of law: in Italy and Greece, there are prohibitions against everything, but nobody obeys them and so, after a fashion, life goes on. Anglophone nations are generally disposed to abide by the law, and so, if there are a bazillion regulations, the average citizen will make a sincere effort to comply. But if you’re, say, Australia and you’re attempting to design a health care system for 20 million people across an entire continent, it’s just about doable.
But no advanced society has ever attempted Big Government for a third of a billion people – for the simple reason that it cannot be done without creating a nation with the black-hole finances of Stockton, California, and the Black-Hole-of-Calcutta fetid, airless, sweatbox utility services of Rockville, Maryland. Thanks to Obamacare, in matters of health provision, whether you’re in favor of socialized medicine or truly private health care, Swedes and Italians are now freer than Americans: They have a state system and a private system, and both are relatively simple. What’s simple in micro-regulated America? In health care, we now have what’s nominally a private system encrusted with so many statist barnacles that it no longer functions as either a private or state system. Thus, Obamacare embodies the strange no-man’s-land of statism American-style: The U.S. is no longer a land of republican virtue and self-reliant citizens but it’s not headed for the sunlit uplands of Scandinavia, either. …
David Harsanyi spots some Ray LaHood nonsense.
It’s not every day you hear a cabinet member praising authoritarians abroad. Then again, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood unleashes so many preposterous statements he makes Joe Biden look like a high priest of Vulcan.
In my career, I’ve been lucky enough to meet cabinet members, governors, senators and even a few presidential candidates, but, honestly, I’ve never met anyone less impressive at the higher levels of government than LaHood. When I listened to him claim that commercial flying was a perilous mode of transportation, heard him say that bullet trains would soon replace cars and claim that building more bike lanes would solve the congestion problems in major cities … well, how can I put this: giving someone this silly a cabinet position should be an impeachable offense. Remember this is the guy who recklessly, and without evidence, suggested Americans “stop driving” Toyotas for safety reasons right in the middle of the debate over the General Motors rescue. …
Alana Goodman writes about Romney’s $100 million month and the voters view of Obama as the extremist.
The Romney campaign, along with its Romney Victory fund and the Republican National Committee, raised more than $100 million in June, obliterating the campaign’s goal and setting the one-month record for any Republican campaign, according to a GOP official. …
… If President Obama has sounded nostalgic for his 2008 opponent John McCain lately, it’s because he’s trying to make the case that the once-moderate Republican Party has fallen into the hands of extremists like Mitt Romney (cue skeptical side-eye). But according to a Rasmussen poll, likely voters are not buying it. Forty-seven percent say Obama’s views are “extreme” while just 31 percent say the same about Romney: …