Free Markets, Free People


David Brooks: “Let’s Increase The Power Of The President, You Guys!”

It’s hard to describe this blinding stupidity as anything other than … well, blindingly stupid. I think this one sentence encapsulates the #Fail quite nicely:

This is a good moment to advocate greater executive branch power because we’ve just seen a monumental example of executive branch incompetence: the botched Obamacare rollout.

If you think Brooks is trying to get all counter-intuitive on you (a la Thomas Friedman’s wistful longing for Chinese authoritarianism), think again. It’s just full on stupidity.

Brooks’ argument is that Congress is too beholden to the “rentier groups” (i.e. moneyed interest groups and lobbyists) and that the judiciary is too involved in the process:

In the current issue of The American Interest, Francis Fukuyama analyzes this institutional decay. His point is that the original system of checks and balances has morphed into a “vetocracy,” an unworkable machine where many interests can veto reform.

First, there is the profusion of interest groups. In 1971, there were 175 registered lobbying firms. By 2009, there were 13,700 lobbyists spending more than $3.5 billion annually, and this doesn’t even count the much larger cloud of activist groups and ideological enforcers.

Then there is the judicial usurpation of power. Fukuyama writes, “conflicts that in Sweden or Japan would be solved through quiet consultations between interested parties through the bureaucracy are fought out through formal litigation in the American court system.” This leads to uncertainty, complexity and perverse behavior.

After a law is passed, there are always adjustments to be made. These could be done flexibly. But, instead, Congress throws implementation and enforcement into the court system by giving more groups the standing to sue. What could be a flexible process is turned into “adversarial legalism” that makes government more intrusive and more rigid.

In other words, because the power to form laws is relatively disbursed amongst constituents, elected officials and the court system, gridlock happens sometimes and that’s just totally unacceptable. Because, heaven knows that if Congress isn’t cranking out new laws at a fast enough pace, the world will end. (That seems to be the meme going around anyway.)

So what would be the benefits of more powerful Executive branch?

Here are the advantages. First, it is possible to mobilize the executive branch to come to policy conclusion on something like immigration reform. It’s nearly impossible for Congress to lead us to a conclusion about anything. Second, executive branch officials are more sheltered from the interest groups than Congressional officials. Third, executive branch officials usually have more specialized knowledge than staffers on Capitol Hill and longer historical memories. Fourth, Congressional deliberations, to the extent they exist at all, are rooted in rigid political frameworks. Some agencies, especially places like the Office of Management and Budget, are reasonably removed from excessive partisanship. Fifth, executive branch officials, if they were liberated from rigid Congressional strictures, would have more discretion to respond to their screw-ups, like the Obamacare implementation. Finally, the nation can take it out on a president’s party when a president’s laws don’t work. That doesn’t happen in Congressional elections, where most have safe seats.

Note the two “advantages” I’ve bolded. It’s as if things like Solyndra fiasco and the IRS targeting of conservatives never happened.

Lest there be any confusion about Brooks’ prescription, he sums it up as thus:

So how do you energize the executive? It’s a good idea to be tolerant of executive branch power grabs and to give agencies flexibility. We voters also need to change our voting criteria. It’s not enough to vote for somebody who agrees with your policy preferences. Presidential candidates need to answer two questions. How are you going to build a governing 60 percent majority that will enable you to drive the Washington policy process? What is your experience implementing policies through big organizations?

We don’t need bigger government. We need more unified authority. Take power away from the rentier groups who dominate the process. Allow people in those authorities to exercise discretion. Find a president who can both rally a majority, and execute a policy process.

At least he’s being honest about what the political and chattering classes truly want. As an added bonus, Brooks has inspired a better description of his cant than “blindingly stupid”: contemptible.

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46 Responses to David Brooks: “Let’s Increase The Power Of The President, You Guys!”

  • We need more unified authority.
     

    And of course we need it soon…SOON!!!!

    Heil Obama Baby.

    • Here are the advantages. First, it is possible to mobilize the executive branch to come to policy conclusion on something like immigration reform. It’s nearly impossible for Congress to lead us to a conclusion about anything.

      We all know that “immigration reform” was/has never been about immigration reform. It was/has been about importing voters.

      • “importing voters”.
        Importing Democratic voters.

        And firming up the “American Brassero” class for another 15 years or so till the new wave arrives from the ‘secure’ border area.   After all we desperately need a class of Americans who will do work that Americans won’t do, until they are American enough that they will no longer do those jobs and then we can ‘fix’ immigration….again.

        Each wave secure on the beach makes it easier for the next wave, the Democrats and their few remaining Republican house servants will see to that.

        • California has done a good job of importing Democrats. It is now basically a Democrat safe zone.

  • He’s citing the same idiot fuykama who felt Clinton was at the end of history, right

  • Somehow I don’t think he means for this to be applicable if a GOP- or worse, a Tea Party type – ever gets their hands on power.

    Just a guess.

     

    • Just imagine a President Palin and no filibuster in the Senate to stop he agenda.

      • I know they never intend to be out of power again, but I support the Dems doing this because they WILL be out of power at some point.

        Then it’s payback time.
         

        • The Democrats may be out of power, but the big-government liberals have a lock on the three branches of government as far as the eye can see.  At most, the conservatives who still give lip service to limited government might have a large enough plurality to raise a stink for a few weeks, until they show their bellies and give in to the media-driven pressure.

        • Eh, the “racheting effect” tends to work in only one direction.

          For one thing, a real conservative or libertarian will follow the rule of law, and therefor, unlike Obama, be restrained.

          Second, the media and the regulators all lean left. They will give leftists a pass and attack conservatives. For example, look at how much damage was done to Bush by Plame/Wilson, all rooted in Joe Wilson’s lies in Vanity Fair. Conservatives have to fight to gain any political control, but even so the left always has massive control throughout the executive branch, even if it sometimes hibernates.

      • Not too likely, but a President Cruz would sure slap them silly (or, more silly than they already are).
        Not going to happen, though; more likely is ten million illegal aliens and dead Chicago people, you know, voting for a living.

  • Wow.
    That was an industrial-strength exercise in inversion of reality.

    Fifth, executive branch officials, if they were liberated from rigid Congressional strictures, would have more discretion to respond to their screw-ups, like the Obamacare implementation.

    One, how constrained by Congressional oversight has She-bilious shown herself to be?
    Two, what remote sign of “discretion” or a willingness to deal with “screw-ups” has ANY Obami ever shown?
    Like bureaucrats generally, the will expend energy, treasure, and integrity in a frothing, writhing attempt to DENY performance reality.
    Brooks is out of his flucking mind.

    • “I’ve gone completely out of my mind.. And..
      They’re coming to take me away, ha-haaa!!
      They’re coming to take me away, ho-ho, hee-hee, ha-haaa
      To the funny farm. Where life is beautiful all the time and I’ll be
      happy to see those nice young men in their clean white coats and they’re
      coming to take me away, ha-haaa!!!!! ”                                                

  • I’ve seen this movie before …

    “In these challenging times, when we are facing both rising deficits and a sinking economy, budget reform is not an option. It is an imperative,” Obama said. “We cannot sustain a system that bleeds billions of taxpayer dollars on programs that have outlived their usefulness, or exist solely because of the power of a politicians, lobbyists, or interest groups. We simply cannot afford it. This isn’t about big government or small government. It’s about building a smarter government that focuses on what works. That is why I will ask my new team to think anew and act anew to meet our new challenges…. We will go through our federal budget – page by page, line by line – eliminating those programs we don’t need, and insisting that those we do operate in a sensible cost-effective way.” — Barack Obama, November 25, 2008

    If Mr. Obama had followed through with this post-campaign rhetoric, we wouldn’t be talking about this “distraction”

    • We simply cannot afford it. This isn’t about big government or small government. It’s about building a smarter government that focuses on what works. That is why I will ask my new team to think anew and act anew to meet our new challenges….

      And…for chuckles…let’s say they DID as he vacantly mouthed?
      How would anybody…least of all Pres. ScamWOW hisself…know?  He never met with most of “his new team”.

      • Of course he did, “lots of times”.   The ‘vast majority’ of these meetings took place off the record though because that’s how the most transparent administration works…we just need to let Barack be perfectly clear.

      • When anyone says “This isn’t about big government or small government”, that means it’s really about big government but they don’t want to admit it.

    • How naive, to think it was ever anything but rhetoric. His going full Cloward-Pivin was completely unsurprising.

      • As Shrillery praised Saul Alinski in her Wellesley thesis, so is it likely Barry praised Cloward- Piven in his collage daze, hence the court-order sealing of his collage writings…. unless you have a better theory.

    • You assume Benghazi Barry actually pays attention to (much less believes) what his script-writers put on his teleprompter.

  • Oh, well then…
    “Say goodbye to polar bears and a whole lot of ice. New research suggests the Arctic Ocean could be ice-free by 2015, with devastating consequences for the world. Can it be stopped?”
    http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2013/12/13/the-end-of-the-arctic-ocean-could-be-ice-free-by-2015.html
    We’re DOOOOOOOOOoooooomed…
    UNLESS we can get Pres. ScamWOW to pivot to lowering the oceans an’ stuff…

  • The only way you can get hyper socialism or communism to limp along is to use a dictatorship.

    • Yep. This is the reason Obamacare is what it is, and why they had to lie to pass it. You have to force people to go onto the healthcare system the left wants them on. That is even true for a “modest” lefty system, like Obamacare, which was simply the most radical thing they could ram through at the time. But Hillarycare or “single payer” or whatever would all be the same deal; it would require lies, and be the equivelent of rape. The left must use force to get its way. Then it must use even more force, to fight the unintended consequences of its prior use of force.

  • Right, if we gave him more power now, he could save GM some more!

    We need a few more 10 billion dollar suck hole ‘victories’, it grows the economy!

    • You’ve forgotten (already!) the new motto for the Collective…

      “Embrace the suck…!!!”

      George Orwell is kicking himself for not putting THAT one down on paper.  Who coulda’ guessed…???

  • Wait.  We were assured this clown was the Great Uniter.  How can it possibly be that he can’t unite people behind his goals without force majeure?

  • MOE LANE: This Is Not A Monarchy Watch: panicky HHS just making up new #obamacare ‘laws’ on the spot. “To the best of my knowledge, they don’t have this authority. Which leads me to my question: What makes the government officials implementing this policy think that they are immune from prosecution for any laws that they break while following the administration’s orders? – And don’t say that they don’t have to worry about that. After February 2017, Barack Obama won’t be able to fix a parking ticket.”
    Via InstaPundit.

    One important way to put the wheels back on the wagon of separation of powers would be for the next administration to vigorously prosecute this one. Some would suggest that would be unseemly. I suggest it is essential.

     

    • <blockquote>”One important way to put the wheels back on the wagon of separation of powers would be for the next administration to vigorously prosecute this one. Some would suggest that would be unseemly. I suggest it is essential.”</blockquote>

      This is the path the Roman Republic took to Empire. Caesar crossed the Rubicon with his army to avoid being prosecuted.

      • Golly.  If only he’d had Erik Holder…!!!

      • We can do it like Mandela, with a Truth & Reconciliation system – amnesty if you admit your crimes.

        • It’s official — the government of the United States of Obama consists of boobs and bores and is led by a narcissist. It is no consolation that Great Britain joins us in racing to the bottom.
          President Obama’s flirting with Denmark’s prime minister would be shameful on any occasion. That it happened at the memorial for Nelson Mandela only adds to the embarrassment.
          But the “selfie” episode also symbolizes the greater global calamity of Western decline. With British prime minister David Cameron playing the role of Obama’s giggling wingman, the “look at me” moment confirms we have unserious leaders in a dangerously serious time.

        • do it like Mandela, with a Truth & Reconciliation system

          Essentially a public, institutionalized plea bargain system.
          I LIKE it…!!!

      • Allowing corruption and over-reach to go unpunished or uncorrected is what leads to empires.

  • Third, executive branch officials usually have more specialized knowledge than staffers on Capitol Hill and longer historical memories.
    Is brooks trying to say that folks live in the White House longer than they live on the Hill ?   Oh please.

    • Someone should have told Bob Byrd.   Seems if he lived in the White House, he’d still be with us, according to that thought pattern.
      .

  • http://legalinsurrection.com/2013/12/yes-obama-deliberately-stalled-controversial-regs-prior-to-2012-election/
    Essentially, Pres. ScamWOW has told three catagories of lies to gain office…
    1. what he planned to do (c.f., addressing entitlement spending)
    2. what he would NOT do (c.f., ride rough-shod over Congress and the courts)
    3. everything else
     

  • Doesn’t this supply testimony to why Brooks is utterly, completely wrong …

    BOB WOODWARD: I think this budget deal worked, quite frankly – let’s go right to the center of this – because Obama was not part of the negotiations.

    • … this is Obama’s MO …

      The EPA’s highest-paid employee and top expert on climate change engaged in “crime of massive proportions” by pretending to be working as an undercover agent for the CIA so he could avoid doing his real job for years, according to federal prosecutors and the agency’s top investigator on the case.

      • If we could get everyone at the EPA to play hooky, the lack of new inhibitions on productivity would avoid orders of magnitude greater costs than what they pull down in salary for their phoney-baloney jobs.