The dynamic of this story is fascinating for a number of reasons. Without having to click the link, our soon-to-be-former President announced today he would ask Congress for broad executive powers to streamline government.
Mr. Obama said he wants to merge a number of commerce-related federal bodies and make government work more effectively by working more efficiently.
Over the next decade it would save a reported $3 billion.
It would also cost 2,000 federal employees their jobs.
Before looking at the substantive side of this effort, the way the media is framing it becomes important here.
This is as transparent a move as Obama could possibly make. He said more than a year ago he wanted to make government more efficient. Interesting timing to move forward with a plan given his re-election comes this year.
Now, whether Congress passes this or not, Obama can say, “See, look, I tried.”
Never mind the fact that many in Congress believe Obama won’t last beyond this year as an administrator so giving him additional executive authority doesn’t make any sense, even if his intentions do.
While I can’t speak with any certainty, I would suspect if W. Bush had suggested this, the headline would read “President Bush plans to cut 2,000 federal jobs to reduce costs.”
How can liberals in the media attack Mitt Romney’s past at Bain for buying struggling companies and gutting them (mind you with the purpose of keeping the companies running), and laud the president for essentially asking for identical action?
It should be noted, Republicans in Congress have been trying for several years now, to enact similar legislation, trim the fat of government and eliminate bureaucracy.
Interestingly, Obama’s rhetoric mirrors conservative ideologies of smaller government, perhaps a sign that our President finally understands the concerns of the people.
When a Democrat starts to try and score points by sounding like a Republican, that’s how you know he’s grasping for straws.
The perception of this action and the way the media is handling it holds much more importance to me than the measure itself.
Even if it passes the House (questionable), my guess is most people will hardly notice. As the CNN article notes, when Bill Clinton gave Al Gore broad authority to reduce bureaucracy, it went mostly unrecognized by the majority of people.
As a bill it’s smart: reduce inefficiencies, create a system that actually helps businesses, reduce federal spending (by reducing labor costs).
Saving $3 billion though, is hardly going to dent any budget deficits.
With the media helping Obama frame this exactly the way liberals want it, Republicans, from now until November, will face an uphill battle of ideas.
Whether or not they can overcome that, we won’t know until election day.