Here is the operating motto of the Obama White House: “So let it be written, so let it be done!” Like Yul Brynner’s Pharaoh Ramses character in Cecil B. DeMille’s “The Ten Commandments,” the demander in chief stands with arms akimbo issuing daily edicts to his constitution-subverting minions with an imperious wave of his hand. His entourage of insatiable usurpers never rests.
Can’t delude legislators into adopting a $1.5 billion Kabuki summer-jobs makework boondoggle? Create an unfunded program through executive fiat.
Can’t muster up a filibuster-proof majority for radical nominees? Czar-ify ’em.
Can’t get Congress to approve vast wild lands designations? Grab them under cover of a holiday lame-duck session.
Can’t get the illegal alien bailout DREAM Act passed on Capitol Hill? Executive-order it.
“So let it be written, so let it be done!”
In keeping with the dark and defiant habits of this administration, the new head of the half-billion-dollar Consumer Financial Protection Bureau was sworn in behind closed doors on Wednesday night. The nomination of former Democratic Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray to serve as Dodd-Frank regulatory enforcer had been soundly defeated in the Senate before Christmas. But as I reported last month, progressive zealots funded by billionaire George Soros goaded Obama to ignore the Senate’s constitutionally grounded advice and consent role.
At his left flank’s urging, Obama vowed to follow in President Theodore Roosevelt’s footsteps (TR recess-appointed 160 officials during a recess of less than one day) and install Cordray even though the Senate technically remained in pro forma session. Fresh from his Hawaii vacation, Obama returned to Washington and for once delivered on a promise.
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters Thursday that the administration expects no retaliation for the end-run around the deliberative process. Playing the pharaoh’s helper, Carney airily dismissed widespread bipartisan questions about the legality of the power grab as “esoteric discussion.”
The GOP knew the installation of Obama’s latest super-czar was coming a month ago, but is now scrambling to respond. Republicans will get clobbered with the class warfare card again unless they forcefully counter the Democrats’ narrative of the president’s “bold” actions for “middle-class Americans.”
Obama’s liberal media supporters have rationalized the tyrannical maneuver as a response to GOP “nullification.” But it’s those who oppose common-sense reforms of the gravely flawed Dodd-Frank law — a 2,600-page monstrosity that no lawmaker read before passing it — who are obstructing good government.
As Senate Republicans have been pointing out for months, Dodd-Frank threw out judicial review, removed CFPB from the congressional appropriations process, provided five-year tenure protection for the director and transferred the agency from the Treasury Department to the opaque and unaccountable Federal Reserve.
Obama and Democratic leaders themselves recognize the recklessness of vesting so much unfettered power in a single individual. In 2009, Obama floated a bipartisan board to oversee enforcement. Democratic Sens. Dick Durbin of Illinois, Charles Schumer of New York and Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island all co-sponsored legislation backing a commission. Massachusetts Democratic Rep. Barney Frank was also an original sponsor of a bill creating the very kind of five-member panel Republicans have proposed.
The House passed these and other structural reforms last year, but the Senate has failed to act, and the White House insists on demagoguing reformers. Moreover, taxpayers remain in the dark about how and how much the CFPB is spending, because Dodd-Frank allows the agency to draw funds from the Federal Reserve’s operating expenses. Out of sight, out of mind.
This is not “bold.” It’s jackboot. It won’t benefit “middle-class Americans.” It’ll line lobbyist pockets, soak taxpayer dollars and fuel a Beltway rule-making bonanza. It’s not about reining in Wall Street abuses. It’s about consolidating bureaucratic authority and granting unprecedented immunity to a single super-cop from congressional and public oversight.
Where, ahem, are those Occupiers when you need them?