Obama Defeats The GOP Again By Calling Their Small Government Bluff

Under the guise of reforming the executive branch, President Obama set Republicans up with a no win situation. Either they give him what he wants or out themselves as the lovers of big government that they are.

Obama said,

We live in a 21st century economy, but we’ve still got a government organized for the 20th century. Our economy has fundamentally changed – as has the world – but the government has not. The needs of our citizens have fundamentally changed but their government has not. Instead, it has often grown more complex.

There are five different entities dealing with housing; more than a dozen agencies involved in food safety. And my favorite example, which I mentioned in last year’s State of the Union Address. As it turns out, the Interior Department is in charge of salmon in fresh water, but the Commerce Department handles them in saltwater. Apparently, this all had something to do with President Nixon being unhappy with his Interior Secretary for criticizing the Vietnam War.

No business or non-profit leader would allow this kind of duplication or unnecessary complexity in their operations. So why is it OK in our government? It’s not. It has to change.

Today, I am calling on Congress to reinstate the authority that past presidents have had to streamline and reform the Executive Branch. This is the same sort of authority that every business owner has to make sure that his or her company keeps pace with the times. And let me be clear: I will only use this authority for reforms that result in more efficiency, better service, and a leaner government.

Congress first granted this authority to presidents in the midst of the Great Depression, so that they could swiftly reorganize the Executive Branch to meet the changing needs of the American people. For the next 52 years, presidents were able to streamline or consolidate the Executive Branch by submitting a proposal to Congress that was guaranteed a simple up or down vote.

But in 1984, while Ronald Reagan was President, Congress stopped granting that authority.

And when this process was left to follow the usual Congressional pace, not surprisingly, it slowed down. Congressional committees fought to protect their turf. Lobbyists fought to keep things unchanged because they’re the only ones who can navigate the bureaucracy. And because it’s always easier to add than to subtract in Washington; inertia prevented any real reform from happening. Layers kept getting added on. The Department of Homeland Security was created to consolidate intelligence and security agencies but Congress didn’t consolidate on its side. DHS right now reports to over 100 different Congressional panels. That’s excessive.

It has been a generation since a President had the authority to propose streamlining the government in a way that allowed for real change to take place. Think of all that has happened since 1984. A generation of Americans has come of age. Landlines have turned into smartphones. The Cold War has given way to globalization. So much has happened – and yet the government we have today is largely the government we had back then. We deserve better.

The president also reminded the country that he is doing everything he can to help without Congress, “Congress needs to reinstate the authority it has given to Democratic and Republican presidents for decades. In the meantime, as long as folks are looking for work and small businesses are looking for customers, I will keep doing everything in my power to help… So with or without Congress, I’m going to keep at it. I’m hopeful it’s with Congress because this is an area where we can receive bipartisan support, because making our government more responsive, strategic and leaner should not be a partisan issue.”

President Obama’s remarks have created a dilemma for congressional Republicans who claim to be both pro-small business and anti-big government. If Republicans really want to reduce the size of government and help small business, then giving this power back to the president is a no brainer. The problem is that Republicans love big government.

Historically speaking, “Of the 369,000 employees added between 1962 and 2001, 84% were added under Republican administrations and 16% were added under Democratic administrations.” George W. Bush managed to both reduce the number of federal employees while at the same time growing the size of the government. He did this with an explosion of privatization. George W. Bush outsourced every government function that he could get his hands on. Bush more than doubled the amount that the federal government spent on private contracts. W. didn’t reduce the size of the federal government. He cooked the books. The end result was the Republicans love of big government had been outsourced, not diminished.

After his speech today Republicans are faced with the choice of either standing with their stated principles, or giving Obama what he wants. If the Republicans reject Obama’s call for streamlined executive branch, they will be revealing both their political motivations and their small government hypocrisy.

The strategic gamesmanship here isn’t centered around a question of presidential power. Obama’s remarks today were a stealth attack on Republican hypocrisy. If Republicans refuse to grant the president the power that he requested, this will become another campaign issue for Obama. If Republicans do grant him the authority to reorganize his branch, President Obama gets to campaign on streamlining the federal government for small business. It’s a win-win for Obama, and all lose situation for the GOP.

Once again Obama is playing chess, while his Republican opponents still haven’t figured out checkers.

23 Replies to “Obama Defeats The GOP Again By Calling Their Small Government Bluff”

  1. They are being schooled by a master. These greedy cretinous idiots still can’t find their own asses with both hands. Barack Obama is a genius. Idiots have been schooled. Now do you see the importance of education and real morals?

  2. I was rolling on the floor this morning when I got to news alert e-mail concerning this action by the president. This is going to be a hilarious tour de force by the president. If the Republicans want given they are done as far as 2012 goals. If they do give them their taking the thunder away from themselves because they expressly wanted to do something like this and more and they will be allowing the president to do it more than.

    There is a large thundercloud over the RNC headquarters today. And the forecast is for rain, fog and extreme disappointment

  3. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Tea Party freshmen will agree. Several of them still run rouge and stood by their principle in the face of the GOP machine in the past

  4. I think I can already forsee what kind of spin the GOP is going to try to do with this…They will complain that the President is trying to put people out of work with this economy and isn’t he awful?, while meanwhile trying to push the decision on this until after the elections.

  5. As a chess player, I am aghast at the insinuation that the GOP even knows what the rules of chess are. :)

    Let ’em stop dragging their knuckles long enough to learn how to play a simple game like checkers, and leave the politics and governing to people who don’t have to take off their shoes to count to ten. :)

  6. Appropriate times to stand in your power. Power isn’t always evil, if you stand tall in power of’goodness, you can have a powerful impact on the sitution. Our president has proven this,I trust him and his judgement to run this country. Republicans will continue to delay and deny any and all legislation and nominations to the detriment of the country. They view this as an oppotunity to stop the president and democrates from accomplishing anything so they can get back in power.The republicans in congress/ and the house should be charged with treason. Obama 2012 !

  7. It IS a dilemma for the Congressmembers of the Party of No. They don’t want a victory for the president, but they are faced with the prospect of contradicting themselves since they’ve always claimed to be for “small government.” That’s what will happen if they say no to this. Whether they say yes or no, it’s a win for the president. I sincerely hope that he is re-elected, and I will do all in my power to help make that a reality. I also hope that these do-nothing fools get voted out of Congress to be replaced by folks who truly care about Americans.

  8. Ron Paul is, of course, the exception to this. He is a true supporter of small, Constitutional government, unlike Obama, who is just giving lip service to the idea of small government as a way to increase executive power. The rest of the Repulibcans can go to hell … for me, it’s Ron Paul or the Libertarian Party.

  9. 2nd to last paragraph actually states the problem incorrectly when it says “…Republicans are faced with the choice of either standing with their stated principles, or giving Obama what he wants” Actually their choice is to stand with their stated principles AND give Obama what he wants, or show that their stated principles do not match their actual motivations by refusing to give Obama what he wants.

    He’s asking for what they say they want. Put up or shut up.

  10. Also – on Page 25 of US Gov Historical Tables re US Budget, it’s recorded in black & white for all to see – – that under 8yrs’GWBush Republican Administration Budgets, (2002-2009) Georgie & the GOP took Government Revenues from 19.5% of GDP in Clinton Administration’s final Budget(2001) to 14.8% of GDP in 2009 (Bush last Budget), i.e. decreased Fed Revenues by -4.7% of GDP.

    Worse! The Republican Bush Administration increased Govt Spending from 18.2% of GDP in 2001 to 24.7% in 2009, an increase of 6.5% to Spending as a % OF GDP. Combined that’s a negative impact of -11.2%.
    http://www.gpoaccess.gov/usbudget/fy11/pdf/hist.pdf

    Now Mitt-puppet and the rest of the GOP keep blaming the $2009 $1.3T Deficit & increased Govt spending on Obama – a BIG FRAUD, since US Fed Fiscal Year begins on October 1st & 2009 Budget was created by Hank Paulsen/Bush & by time Obama was inaugurated on Jan 20, 2009, almost 4 months of the Budget had been enacted. In fact, on January 7, 2009, the CBO & Bush Administration announced “The U.S. budget deficit in 2009 is projected to spike to a record $1.2 trillion, or 8.3% of gross domestic product”, as CNN Money Reported.
    http://money.cnn.com/2009/01/07/news/economy/cbo_2009_budget_outlook/

    It’s interesting that in same article CNN reported “The CBO expects tax revenue in 2009 to fall by $166 billion, or 6.6%, from the previous year. That REVENUE DECLINE, in turn, is the biggest reason for the worsening outlook over the next decade”

    Funny….I could have sworn I’d heard the entire GOP Congress & Presidential candidates say “US has a SPENDING Problem, NOT a Revenue Problem.” !!!

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