As much as I would love to believe this is yet another instance where the President has outsmarted the GOP (and in a fair would it would be) his proposal for legislation allowing him fast track authority to consolidate federal trade and commerce agencies is precisely the sort of thing that has zero chance getting through our awesome 9% approval rating Congress, and it’s easy to see why. Politico sees this as a smart move, on the other hand my inner cynic says this is good tactics, bad strategy.
Obama’s plan would merge the Commerce Department, the Small Business Administration, the Office of the U.S. Trade representative and other independent business agencies into a new, unnamed Cabinet agency.
The president would need congressional approval to consolidate the agencies, and he virtually dared Republicans to vote against it, putting the GOP on the defensive for the second time in a month. The payroll tax cut fight forced Republicans lawmakers to choose whether to support the president or a tax increase. This would force them to support the president or the status quo — a tangled web of regulatory agencies that Republicans have held up as a barrier to job creation.
“This is an area that should receive bipartisan support because making our government more responsive and strategic and leaner shouldn’t be a partisan issue,” Obama said as he announced the initiative at the White House. “We can do this better. We can provide taxpayers better value.”
Not only will Republicans vote against it, I foresee they’ll propose legislation eliminating those agencies instead and daring the President and Democrats to vote against that instead. Meanwhile, we’ll be treated to the theory that the President should probably be impeached for daring to ask Congress for anything and that because he’s not serious about dismantling the entire Executive Branch and handing everything over to Orange Julius that he’s really a tin-pot Chicago Way dictator who is nothing like the Republicans.
Meanwhile, at the same time we’ll hear that this proposal means President Obama has abandoned unions, working-class Americans, and the idea of any government oversight over trade and commerce, making him a job-killing Wall Street puppet who never really liked American workers anyway, and that he’s precisely the same as the Republicans.
It’s about this point, when the Village is pushing both these theories on the news as “President loses union base” and “Why can’t Obama reach an agreement with Republicans?” that everyone else will turn off their brains to avoid the headache and this idea will get quietly shelved. There’s just nothing to be gained by trying to make a common sense proposal to even look at doing something like this during something as clinically insane as an election year.