Earlier this week President Obama gave a speech describing his so-called Clean Power Plan, which would, for the first time, mandate severe, nation-wide reductions in U.S. greenhouse gases. He called it “the single most important step America has ever taken in the fight against global climate change.”
But America has not taken this step. Mr. Obama has. His Clean Power Plan is a new set of regulatory directives from the Environmental Protection Agency, deliberately intended to cripple and eventually destroy America’s coal industry, and to severely weaken any other type of energy not derived from renewable sources. It is a massive, administrative overreach, likely to be ruled illegal in federal court. For now, however, the President has another notch in his belt of left-wing partisanship.
During his six-plus years as president, when has Mr. Obama made more than a cursory effort to garner support for his agenda – other than from those who already agree with him out of political obligation or ideological reflex?
This latest EPA overreach is reminiscent of the nuclear agreement the Obama Administration recently reached with Iran, an arrangement negotiated by Mr. Obama’s team with no attempt to garner the congressional support needed for it to pass as a treaty. This is also akin to the President’s approach on ObamaCare, which passed cloak-and-dagger style, by the slimmest of hyper-partisan margins, in a Congress controlled overwhelmingly by Democrats.
Mr. Obama’s accomplishments are consistently controversial and divisive because he doesn’t seek consensus, only victory. And that is why his legacy will be one of procedure over substance, and not only controversial, but weak, like a house of cards upon a foundation of sand. Much of what he has done, in the face of popular opposition, by way of executive order or administrative fiat, may be swept away by the nation’s next Chief Executive.
Disinclined toward constitutional protocol, toward negotiating with his political opposition, Mr. Obama has ushered in an era where the President of the United States inclines toward celebrity, toward looking good in a suit and reading well from a teleprompter, toward lying with impunity while impugning those who disagree, and ultimately doing whatever he or she can get away with, regardless of the consequences.
It’s no wonder Donald Trump resonates among Republicans. He’s the candidate seen most likely to stick it right back in Obama’s face.