A New York Times editorial is all over the place today in its hysterical concern that Republicans are going to spend all their time investigating what Democrats have been doing these past 2 years. Let me say upfront that while there are certainly things which need investigation, the GOP can indeed hurt themselves if the investigations seem to be excessive or perceived to be "witch hunts". However, perhaps the most interesting part of the editorial is its title, an obvious shot directed at the GOP’s supposed preference for investigating over what the NYT feels is its real job – "Try Something Hard: Governing".
Funny – I don’t remember the NYT admonishing Congressional Democrats or the administration to do that when the obvious focus of both should have been jobs and the economy and not a horrific health care bill.
Also understand the premise the NYT tries to advance here. Using a Darrell Issa quote, "I want seven hearings a week times 40 weeks", they attempt to imply that’s all Republicans will be doing. That will hardly be the case.
Then we’re treated to absurdities like this:
This combativeness from the new House majority is an early symptom of its preference for politicking over the tougher job of governing in hard times. Its plans already feature the low cunning of snipping budget lines so the Internal Revenue Service cannot enforce key provisions of the health care reform law. (Why not defund Postal Service document deliverers while they’re at it?)
Why not – while the NYT calls it "low cunning", it is indeed a method by which the legislative chamber "governs". The NYT and similar media voices seemed to understand that when Democrats in Congress threatened to defund the war in Iraq. Now it’s "a feature of low cunning". A cry to govern by the NYT with a follow up criticism of doing so by the means the House is able to employ. Absurd.
Regulation? Well, last time I looked it was Congress who decided what regulations were and agencies who enforced them as the law provided by Congress said. Apparently that’s not the case anymore per the NYT:
The new majority will showcase hearings devoted to what Representative Fred Upton, the ranking Republican on the energy committee, called a “war on the regulatory state.” What he means by that is the Environmental Protection Agency’s daring to accept scientific evidence that human activity is driving global warming. Similar hearings, rooted in the vindictive rhetoric of the 2010 campaign, are likely for the new consumer protection bureau, immigration enforcement, and more.
How 2008 of the NYT to claim the EPA is accepting “scientific evidence” in its drive to regulate CO2. Obviously the carrier pigeon hasn’t made it to the Grey Lady yet that says not only is the “science” not settled, it is in total disarray and largely discredited. More importantly it isn’t up to the EPA to decided what science it is or isn’t going to accept. Its job is to enforce the law as it is written and amended by Congress. And to this point, there’s nothing in the law which allows the EPA the power or authority they are attempting to assume. What the Republican Congress wants to do is make that abundantly clear to the bureaucrats there. That’s governing. That’s oversight.
The same for the activist who has been named to the Consumer Protection Agency – the job there is to enforce existing law, not make it up as you go or enforce it arbitrarily according to an ideological agenda. And of course, immigration “enforcement”, which is again being arbitrarily applied by the bureaucrats as they see fit vs. applying it as the law demands, is in the same boat.
Reining in the bureaucracies as they attempt to overstep their bounds time and time again is “governing”. It is “oversight”. And those are two jobs the Democratic Congress has done poorly if at all as witnessed by the examples I’ve given. And there are plenty more.
The Times acknowledges, even after its ignorant tirade above, that it is the job of Congress to oversee how the laws it has passed are implemented and followed. And that it also has a duty to oversee the executive branch.
In principle, Congress’s oversight of the executive branch can be a vital necessity. Politically, however, both parties push its limits from time to time. Now is no time for myriad searches for sensational distractions when the nation’s voters cry out for solid progress.
This is the only worthwhile paragraph in the entire NYT editorial. If taken alone, it speaks perfect sense. When taken in the context of the rest of the editorial, it is a pitch for no investigations, since it is obvious that while the Times is pretending to call on the GOP House to “govern” it really doesn’t want it doing anything in that area which may point to administration malpractice or malfeasance or allowing executive agencies to interpret law as it sees fit instead of as it is written.
Tough cookies. To paraphrase Barack Obama – “they won”.
Politico takes a look at the White House team in light of the recent revelations of a job offer to Joe Sestak to pull out of the PA Senate primary and now the emerging story about jobs that may have been offered to a Democratic candidate in Colorado to keep him out of a primary. Politico wonders how the crew which so deftly managed such a successful presidential campaign has lost their "golden touch".
Perhaps there never was a golden touch. Perhaps the inevitability of the win had little to do with their deft management. Perhaps it had more to do with historical timing and a historic first. That and an attractive candidate whose huge faults and thin resume were something people were obviously willing to overlook for the feel-good euphoria they got from him and his rhetoric.
Perhaps, as the Politico calls them, they always were always “one part Dick Daley, one part Barney Fife.”
It would explain their developing reputation as nothing more than machine Chicago pols. And their inability to spin and manage the multiple crisis enveloping the White House and the Obama presidency. It seems each and every day, events and actions by this group conspire to put the administrion in a bad light.
They undercut the Obama’s reputation on two fronts. Trying to put the fix in to deny Democratic voters the chance to choose for themselves who their Senate nominees should be is hardly consistent with the idea of “Yes we can” grassroots empowerment that is central to Obama’s brand. And bungling that fix is at odds with the Obama team’s image — built around the likes of Rahm Emanuel, David Axelrod, David Plouffe and Obama himself — as shrewd political operatives who know the game and always win it.
Democrats are now apparently complaining. They are of the opinion that the White House is unable to handle more than one major challenge at a time. And any student of the presidency knows that multiple challenges on a daily basis are the norm. Additionally, Obama’s recent forays into state races in support of Democratic candidates has been almost universally unsuccessful. Asks one Democrat:
“How one group of people can be so good at campaigning and so bad at politics?”
Answer? Experience. Campaigning, while it has multiple tasks, has only one goal. Obama has been campaigning his whole life. He knows how to do that. Governing has not only multiple tasks, but multiple challenges and goals. Obama has never run anything or governed anything. This is his first real job. That is the reason most rational people demand that those seeking high executive office have some experience somewhere in their life with the duties and responsibilities of an executive.
We’re now suffering the results of irrational thinking when it comes to electing a president. Timing and “historical moments”, coupled with good campaign theater should never replace the careful consideration of the bona fides of any candidate for office – even at the lowest level. But all too often it does, and, such as in this case, we suffer the consequences. The question, of course, is will we do what is necessary, as soon as possible, to correct the mistake? Or will we again be swept away by the hype and spin and glitz of the one thing this group seems to be able to manage?