President Obama has recalled John Podesta to work at the White House as a “counselor.” Podesta is the Clinton hand who founded the far-left Center for American Progress (home of the clownish Think Progress blog).
Podesta’s appointment, which needs no congressional approval, comes at a time when Obama is already making moves to do without Congress. He has used executive actions to re-write Obamacare, and to recalibrate immigration law, both in ways that just happen to favor either himself or the Democrats.
The New York Times reports that Podesta will work on executive actions when he returns to the White House.
Mr. Podesta will help Mr. McDonough on matters related to the health care law, administration organization and executive actions, said a person familiar with the plans, and will focus in particular on climate change issues, a personal priority of Mr. Podesta’s.
“Climate change” suggests that Obama intends to ramp up his war on coal in the remaining years of his presidency, via the EPA and perhaps executive actions similar to those he has used with regard to Obamacare and immigration. Obama came into office threatening to bankrupt the coal industry, wanting to impose a cap and trade regime, but could not get one passed by Congress even when Democrats controlled both houses. Obama is aware that his actions will force energy prices skyward. His actions come at a time when evidence for global warming has disappeared. That has not changed his intention to impose cap and trade.
Democrats recently nuked the Senate filibuster for judicial appointments below the Supreme Court level. That will allow Obama to pack the DC Circuit Court with appointees who need only 51 Senate votes for confirmation, and the Democrats have more than enough until the results of next year’s mid-terms are known. That court is the first place that presidential executive actions are taken when they are challenged in court. That court is about to have a 7-4 Democrat majority and is poised to hear a challenge to EPA air quality rules.
What Podesta brings to the situation is his own work studying and advocating the use of presidential executive power.
After Obama was soundly rejected by the American voters in 2010, Podesta penned a report for CAP titled, “The Power of the President,” writing:
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. … It would be a welcome relief from watching legislative maneuvering to see the work of a strong executive who is managing the business of the country through troubled times.
Since that report was published, Obama has completely ignored Congress on awide variety of issues, from immigration to energy, instead asserting his own power as president to make law as he, and he alone, sees fit.
Conn Carroll writes that Podesta’s appointment shows that Obama is done working with Congress. He’s right, but there’s even more at stake here. Obama recognizes that in Congress, his agenda is dying and after the mid-terms will be dead. So he is planning to sideline Congress.
Obama is packing the DC Circuit court in anticipation of losing Congress to the Republicans. He will begin issuing executive actions that he anticipates will be challenged in court. He is bringing in a strong advocate of using executive power to assist in crafting these actions and defending them before a strongly Democrat-appointed court. Congress or other interested parties can take any of Obama’s actions to court if they want, they can mount investigations in both houses of Congress, they can hold hearings, whatever they want. But Obama will have packed that court with radicals who are aligned with his agenda.
Obama and Podesta are preparing to spend the final three years of Obama’s presidency systematically hacking the Constitution. They intend to render the 2014 mid-term elections completely irrelevant.