WASHINGTON — If you thought the bare-knuckled, no-holds-barred midterm elections were rough, the last two years of Barack Obama’s presidency will make that look like a Sunday school picnic.
Frustrated by the slow, plodding pace of democracy, the Constitution’s checks and balances, and the impertinence of Republicans to want a say in their government, Obama is preparing for all-out war in next year’s GOP Congress.
He has taken to writing his own immigration laws, and by implication, erased Article I, Section 1, of our governing document that says, “All legislative powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States …”
And he has been sharpening his veto pen, vowing that the job-creating Keystone XL pipeline won’t be completed as long as he is president. Pro-growth policies to put the American people back to work? Not on his watch.
And that’s just for starters.
The Republicans, on the other hand, with their pocket Constitutions in hand, are going to court and preparing a battery of bills to overturn policies that have weakened our economy, forced Americans out of the work force and threaten to bankrupt our country.
They have filed a lawsuit against Obamacare and are looking at strategies to overturn his unilateral rewrite of the nation’s immigration statutes.
President Obama boasted this year that even though he had run his last campaign, his policies were effectively on the Nov. 4 ballot. The voters responded by giving him and the Democrats one of the worst election thrashings in the modern political era.
Republicans not only took control of the Senate, they also increased their seats in the House in what may turn out to be their biggest majority since the 1940s.
Obama was unmoved by the voters’ angry rejection of his presidency, policies and programs. He even seemed to dismiss the election’s validity, arguing that a far larger share of the electorate had voted for him, while this year’s election drew a mere 36 percent of eligible voters.
But even that turnout percentage amounted to nearly 77 million voters, which is still a lot of people. And besides, many more Democrats did not vote, a midterm problem for his party that Obama complained about earlier this year.
Now comes the question of what the Republicans will do with their majority in the new 114th Congress.
They certainly have a strong and convincing mandate from the voters to change harmful policies, strengthen the economy, create jobs, boost incomes, curb wasteful and needless spending, and go after the mounting political scandals throughout the administration.
The Obamacare lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court was approved by House Republicans several months ago. It is being spearheaded by Jonathan Turley, a professor of law at the George Washington University Law School.
There was also some discussion among House GOP leaders about a suit against Obama’s executive actions on immigration, but they are looking at legislative remedies to block the president’s sneaky maneuver.
“We’re working with our members and looking at the options available to us, but I will say to you the House will, in fact, act,” Speaker John Boehner said this week.
But Obama is still president, and he has sworn to veto all of the GOP’s most important legislation: finishing the XL pipeline; cleansing loopholes from the tax code; cutting corporate and individual tax rates to trigger stronger economic growth; and enacting capital gains tax cuts to unlock capital investment and job-creating business expansion.
Meantime, Republicans will have the power of the purse, and they’re preparing to use it to kill Obama’s immigration initiative.
Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama, who will be the Budget Committee chairman in January, intends to add budgetary provisions in funding measures to block funds needed to implement Obama’s immigration rule changes.
“He ignored the interests of the American people, the American workers, recent immigrants who have been here and are looking for jobs in a time of unemployment. He undermined, in my view, the moral integrity of immigration law. And even the constitutional separation of powers,” Sessions said.
What isn’t in the GOP’s strategy plans next year is an attempt to force a government shutdown by holding up action on a budget for the fiscal year to force Obama to give in to their demands. Instead, GOP leaders plan to approve a short-term budget this month before the end of this Congress to carry the government into the new year.
Even then, Sessions says he wants to keep spending on a short-term leash, which he thinks will make it easier to get needed majorities for GOP reforms.
Whether that works in the GOP-run Congress remains to be seen, but it suggests a legislature in a constant war with the White House that Republicans welcome in their drive to turn the country in new direction.
But win or lose, there’s a bigger political purpose behind the GOP’s hit-and-run legislative skirmishes to come, even if they can’t overcome Obama’s vetoes.
They will be building the case for their economic growth and deficit-cutting fiscal reforms, thereby setting the stage for the GOP’s 2016 presidential campaign to come.
The strategy is relatively simple and politically effective, especially in the battle to repeal and replace Obamacare and other unpopular policies he has inflicted on our health care system.
Bombard Obama over the next two years with one bill after another on health care, jobs, business deregulation, energy expansion, and a simpler tax system that lowers tax rates and keeps businesses from relocating abroad — then watch the vetoes pile up.
Obama becomes the political poster boy for economic decay and decline, and Democrats will be seen as his anti-growth, anti-job accomplices.
Yes, it’s going to be one pitched battle after another, but what’s at stake for our country is worth fighting for.
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