David Brooks is frustrated. Congress won’t grant amnesty to all those potential Americans “hiding in the shadows,” it can’t pass gun control, and it hasn’t given us any fun wars lately. Brooks is also disappointed by the American public’s lack of enthusiasm for DC’s military adventures. Members of Congress, always mindful of the next election, aren’t about to further alienate voters. That makes Brooks sad. Brooks, a thorough Neocon, gleefully backed the Iraq War as a means to achieve “national greatness.” To him, a strong central government is the answer to everything, since, in his own words, “ultimately, American purpose can find its voice only in Washington.”
The solution? Brooks says it’s time for the president to assume more power and get things rolling again. Here’s his argument, from an opinion piece entitled Strengthen the Presidency:
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.
What should Obama do, in Brooks’s opinion? Simple: “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.”
Yeah — nothing like a few “executive branch power grabs” to liven things up.
Don’t dismiss this as just the ravings of a typical government supremacist. What Brooks is advocating is a very real, very frightening possibility. Obama is already taking steps to do exactly what Brooks is talking about. Obama has appointed long-time DC insider John Podesta to his senior staff. Podesta has long been an open advocate of a powerful chief executive. In a Center for American Progress paper in 2010 entitled, “The Power of the President: Recommendations to Advance Progressive Change,” Podesta wrote: “Concentrating on executive powers presents a real opportunity for the Obama administration to turn its focus away from a divided Congress and the unappetizing process of making legislative sausage.”
Liberty activists should fear this man. Podesta’s progressive ideology is a blueprint for the welfare-warfare state:
In 2008, Podesta authored his book The Power of Progress: How America’s Progressives Can (Once Again) Save Our Economy, Our Climate, and Our Country. In it, he articulates a vision of progressive values based on four core lessons: 1) Progressives stand with people, not privilege; 2) Progressives believe in the Common Good and a government that offers a hand up; 3) Progressives hold that all people are equal in the eyes of God and under the law; and 4) Progressives stand for universal human rights and cooperative global security.
(Catch that last line? And some people don’t believe me when I argue that civil rights and militarism are DC’s yin and yang.) Like all DC insiders, John Podesta knows how to deploy his noble-sounding ideals to turn a buck:
Since President Obama entered office in 2008, Boeing has spent $840,000 on The Podesta Group’s services, relying on the firm to lobby in favor of lucrative defense appropriations at the White House and on Capitol Hill.
What can we expect from Obama in the coming months? More wars, more forced multiculturalism, more authoritarian government.
In other words, what we can expect from ANY administration.