President Obama has proposed a new draft air pollution rule that “business groups charge could be the costliest regulation of all time — setting up a test of how hard the president will fight for his environmental agenda against a newly strengthened GOP.” Politico,
President Barack Obama has already blinked once on the rule, which aims to limit smog-creating ozone pollution after 2020 from power plants and factories: Just before Labor Day in 2011, he forced the Environmental Protection Agency to withdraw an almost-final version of the rule, infuriating green groups that accused him of capitulating to industry pressure to ease his reelection. Obama said he was acting to “underscore the importance of reducing regulatory burdens and regulatory uncertainty.”
Now, facing a court order to issue a new proposal by next week, EPA has just issued a rule essentially as strong as the one the White House squelched three years ago — though not quite as strict as many environmental groups are calling for. It would lower the amount of ground-level ozone pollution that is considered healthy to breathe, which in turn could lead to costly new requirements for air pollution permits in much of the country.
MIT professor Jonathan Gruber—who sparked outrage with his comments questioning the administration’s transparency and voters’ intelligence on the passage of Obamacare—is scheduled to testify before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform on December 9. Politico,
Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) sent a letter last week to both Gruber and Medicaid Services Administrator Marilyn Tavenner calling upon them to testify at the hearing, which will focus on “repeated transparency failures and outright deceptions surrounding ObamaCare,” according to a release.
Gruber, an architect on Obamacare, was seen on a number of recently-surfaced videos making disparaging remarks about voters.
“Call it the stupidity of the American voter, or whatever, but basically that was really, really critical for the thing to pass,” Gruber said at the time.
Sen. Chuck Schumer recently admitted that pushing Obamacare through Congress in 2010 was a mistake. The National Journal,
While Schumer emphasized during a speech at the National Press Club that he supports the law and that its policies “are and will continue to be positive changes,” he argued that the Democrats acted wrongly in using their new mandate after the 2008 election to focus on the issue rather than the economy at the height of a terrible recession.
“After passing the stimulus, Democrats should have continued to propose middle-class-oriented programs and built on the partial success of the stimulus, but unfortunately Democrats blew the opportunity the American people gave them,” Schumer said. “We took their mandate and put all of our focus on the wrong problem—health care reform.”
The third-ranking Senate Democrat noted that just about 5 percent of registered voters in the United States lacked health insurance before the implementation of the law, arguing that to focus on a problem affecting such “a small percentage of the electoral made no political sense.”
President Obama was recently asked who he preferred to become Democrat’s nominee in 2016, he said “he’ll probably stay on the sidelines and not campaign much… because the American people want, ‘you know, that new car smell.’” MSNBC,
“They want to drive something off the lot that doesn’t have as much mileage as me,” Obama told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos.
Analytically speaking, Obama was almost certainly right. Voters hardly ever elect a president of the same party of a president who just served two terms. And the last time that happened, in 1988, voters threw out President George H.W. Bush after only one term.
But while accurate, Obama’s self-deprecating (if even passive-aggressive) joke about how Democrats are running away from him has the unfortunate consequence of highlighting perhaps the biggest weakness of his most likely Democratic successor, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Clinton has one of the longest resumes of any presidential contender in memory, which is both a strength, and a liability. As Obama himself knows from using this playbook to beat Clinton in the 2008 Democratic primary, she’s vulnerable to charges that she’s been around Washington too long and should be sidelined by a fresher face. In other words, that she doesn’t have “the new car smell” that, say, a young upstart Illinois senator had.