Congressional Republicans have wasted no time fighting back against Barack Obama’s plan to rule by executive fiat. Only days into their new majority in the 112th Congress, conservatives have introduced measures to end the most egregious offenses: abolishing the unelected system of czars, repealing Net Neutrality regulations, and preventing the EPA from imposing job-killing carbon dioxide standards on power plants. The imperative steps will prevent an imperial overreach and minimize the damage Obama can do the American people. However, if they hope to succeed, Republicans need to move beyond these necessary defense mechanisms and present a coherent and comprehensive program of limited, constitutional government.
Nothing so perfectly encapsulates this president’s push to federalize every aspect of American life better than his team of czars. These multiple dozens of ideologues — unelected and unconfirmed, because they are unelectable and unconfirmable — exercise power in every aspect of our lives from the environment, to domestic violence, to the automobile company we collectively purchased for the UAW. On Wednesday, Rep. Steve Scalise, R-LA, introduced a bill co-sponsored by 28 others to abolish all federal czars. His proposal, which is supported by 28 other Congressmen, would eliminate anyone who is “a head of any task force, council, policy office within the Executive Office of the President, or similar office established by or at the direction of the President” that would normally require Congressional confirmation.
Many conservatives, including this author, believe ending the proliferation of federal fiefs is the most elementary step that can be taken to restore representative government. Thankfully, House Republicans are moving forward on other fronts, as well.
A narrowly divided Supreme Court ruled in 2007 that the Clean Air Act gave the Environmental Protection Agency the power to regulate carbon dioxide emissions as a “pollutant.” The EPA issued its first such regulations last month during the lame duck session of Congress, as this author predicted. On Thursday, three Republicans introduced a trio of bills to stop this practice, which the authors of the Clean Air Act could not have envisioned. Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-TN, would deny the agency the power to regulate CO2 emissions altogether. A bill introduced by Texas Republican Ted Poe would cut off any money to impose these EPA regulations. Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito authored a measure that would delay all federal rules about these emissions for two years, when a new leadership may be appointed by a new president. “Without congressional action to say otherwise, the EPA will continue to dismantle energy and manufacturing industries through regulation,” said Capito, who represents West Virginia.
Blackburn also introduced a bill to block the FCC’s Net Neutrality regulations, stating only Congress can regulate the technology. More than 60 of her fellow Congressmen currently back the “Internet Freedom Act.” Blackburn summed up her opposition to the FCC’s power grab, saying, “In these times, for an unelected bureaucracy with dubious jurisdiction and misplaced motives to unilaterally regulate [the internet] is intolerable.”
One upcoming leader, Rep. Paul Ryan, indicated defunding ObamaCare may be on the table. “Obviously, we plan on repealing it [Obamacare], and our budget should reflect the repeal of the health care law,” Ryan has said.
With these bills, Congressional conservatives could hardly have homed in on more attractive targets. The American people instinctively recoil at Obama’s czars, reject anything that will increase already exorbitant energy costs, and fear a federal power grab to regulate the internet. Aiming for these proves the Congressmen heeded Marco Rubio’s words that the midterm election results were not “an embrace of the Republican Party” but “a second chance for Republicans to be what they said they were going to be not so long ago.” That is the party of lower taxes but less spending and reduced government. Promoting this agenda is the reason we hired you.
The measures, not yet voted out of committee, already face opposition from liberal Democrats. Sen. Barbara Boxer of California, an environmentalist devotee, zeroed in on the EPA ban. Boxer has promised to use every power she has to kill these measures in the Democrat-controlled Senate.
The realities of society dictate that Republicans must also fight against the all-pervasive distortions of the liberal media.
This means conservatives must fight the right fight by the right means. They must continue to emphasize the radicalism of President Obama personally; to date, they have largely cowered away from taking on the radical-in-chief. They should quote the words of Obama and his advisors, who have openly planned to bypass Congress and impose their will on everything from death panels to bringing Guantanamo Bay terrorists to the United States. They must also expose the proliferation of czars and the radicalism of those serving this administration in that regal capacity. They should make heroic efforts to dislodge John P. Holdren as Science Czar; this author gave them all the ammunition they need to win in the court of public opinion in an expose I researched and wrote two years ago. On Net Neutrality, they have a natural ally in the 61 percent of all Americans who receive their news and information from the internet.
To fight Obama’s bypass, they should perform a bypass of their own, focusing on alternative media to communicate directly with the American people.
And they must make sure they present these measures as part of an ideology the American people support. If these Republican moves are seen as mean-spirited, partisan measures to deprive Barack Obama of powers they themselves desperately hope to exercise, they will either fail or achieve a phyrric victory that diminishes their support with the people. To succeed at fighting Obama’s quasi-fascist power grab, Republicans must frame these limited, common sense initiatives in the context of shrinking the size, scope, power, and intrusion of government — beginning with the unelected appointees of the executive branch. The Left may counter that Reagan and Bush appointed czars, that Americans must preserve the environment, or that Net Neutrality is a complicated issue the plebians cannot fathom. They will certainly besmirch the reputations of their opponents. But they cannot legitimately argue that Americans want more government control, direction, or taxation. Republicans who understand this understand this argument is their trump card around the character assassinations Obama and his minions will unleash.
There is another reason to make this argument: it has the virtue of being true. Ultimately, the interrelated problems Republicans are facing — skyrocketing deficits, massive government spending, a stalled economy, cronyism-and-corruption, and unaccountable federal power — will only be rectified when the federal government is deprived of its power to tax, spend, regulate, regiment, and administer vast sectors of our daily lives. As long as the government can force taxpayers to furnish favors to special interests, the game will continue.
These bills are a fitting start to a Tea Party revolt. They are not the end, nor the beginning of the end, nor even the end of the beginning. They are the hazy glow of a rising sun that has yet to crest upon the national horizon. If they press forward, the dark night of our current morass will come to a close, and a new era of security, hope, and liberty will dawn upon our people. And it will once again be morning in America.