Is President Obama Shifting Right, or Being Shifty?

Has President Obama had a miraculous Paul of Tarsus like conversion while traveling his own road to Damascus? A true Obama moment? According to Rasmussen, his favorable vs. unfavorable ratings have been in the positive range. The country is broke and getting broker by the minute, but so what? There were some leg tingles when he announced a forty-five billion dollar trade deal with China during President Hu's visit. However, very little was actually new business: "It’s largely an amalgamation of agreements that had already been inked, including Boeing’s $19 billion airplane deal." Oh well. He has also "appointed GE Chairman Jeffrey Immelt to head his newly created Council on Jobs and Competitiveness," the successor to Paul Volcker’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board. Oh well again; Immelt may be a crony capitalist and the poster child for corporate welfare but it's still awesome; the country desperately needs councils and czars and the more the merrier.

The world looks forward anxiously to President Obama's State of the Union message when ambience will trump substance and there will be at least some attempts to show unity. It won't be like this event at the opening of the Scottish Parliament in 2004 where the members all joined hands and sang Auld Lang Syne; they seemed to be enjoying it. The show of unity at the State of the Union address should be spectacular in any event. It will also provide a great comedy routine to amuse our enemies abroad, and a welcome respite from harsh partisan rhetoric for those in the United States. Can President Obama really speak out of both sides of his mouth unaided, or will his ventriloquist be required? How about a split-screen teleprompter?

President Obama recently announced in a Wall Street Journal op-ed piece that there are too many stupid old (as distinguished from stupid new) anti-business regulations and that he is going to fix them. Will there by any deregulatory impact on climate initiatives, ObamaCare, and Dodd-Frank? No, only the bad old regulations are up for consideration:

The Clean Air Act ... embraced common sense rules of the road that strengthen our country without unduly interfering with the pursuit of progress and the growth of our economy.

Besides, agencies must be held accountable! Of course; but for what and to whom? The people? The Congress? The president? It would be at least a minor miracle if he would or could somehow fix the current mess he worked so hard to make. He won't:

We have, from time to time, embraced common sense rules of the road that strengthen our country without unduly interfering with the pursuit of progress and the growth of our economy.

Sometimes, those rules have gotten out of balance, placing unreasonable burdens on business -- burdens that have stifled innovation and have had a chilling effect on growth and jobs. At other times, we have failed to meet our basic responsibility to protect the public interest, leading to disastrous consequences. Such was the case in the run-up to the financial crisis from which we are still recovering. There, a lack of proper oversight and transparency nearly led to the collapse of the financial markets and a full-scale Depression.

Over the past two years, the goal of my administration has been to strike the left right balance. And today, I am signing an executive order that makes clear that this is the operating principle of our government.

This order requires that federal agencies ensure that regulations protect our safety, health and environment while promoting economic growth. And it orders a government-wide review of the rules already on the books to remove outdated regulations that stifle job creation and make our economy less competitive. It's a review that will help bring order to regulations that have become a patchwork of overlapping rules, the result of tinkering by administrations and legislators of both parties and the influence of special interests in Washington over decades. [emphasis added]

He should know about the ways in which agency rules can damage the economy because he has been the catalyst for many such rules in the recent past. His signature legislation, ObamaCare, has numerous statements such as "the Secretary shall determine" with little or no statutory guidance as the bases upon which the Secretary is to make his determinations. Such nonsense continues; he claims that the goal of his "administration has been to strike the right balance." If what has happened thus far reflects his administration's notion of the "right balance," then keeping that same balance means more of the same. Is he serious? Of course he is, about getting reelected next year, and the best way to do that is to make noises he hopes will please business while permitting him to continue to boldly go precisely where he has gone before. Drill, baby, drill? Let's change the subject and talk about something less oily; ObamaCare? That's off limits too.