It’s great to have a reputation as a straight shooter — but it’s important to shoot, not only straight, but at the correct targets.
Chris Christie blazed away. And missed badly.
The New Jersey governor says he’s running for president to do something: Bring compromise to Washington.
“Americans are not angry. Americans are filled with anxiety. They are filled with anxiety because they look to Washington D.C. and they see a government that doesn’t work anymore. They see a government that doesn’t talk to each other anymore,” Christie declared. “If Washington and Adams and Jefferson believed compromise was a dirty word, we’d still be under the crown of England.”
But the problem in D.C. isn’t that Republican and Democrat policymakers don’t work together. It’s that they too often agree to work together to promote bad policies.
Just this month, Republicans in the House and Senate agreed to give President Obama Trade Promotion Authority. That’s a bipartisan success story, then, but is it good for American workers? That’s an unanswered question.
Anyone who’s been to Trenton has seen the famous bridge, “Trenton Makes, The World Takes.” Well, that was true when the sign went up in the 1930s. It became truer when the U.S. was an exporting powerhouse after World War II. But today?
What products are made in and exported from Trenton now? Mostly laws for the state of New Jersey. Is it still possible for people, such as Christie’s parents, to make a blue-collar living, there or anywhere in the U.S.?
Americans are anxious because we’re told that sub-two percent economic growth is the new normal (at least we’re doing better than Europe and Japan. USA, USA, USA!), and that level of economic growth doesn’t even keep up with population growth.
Should we then, perhaps, limit the number of people we allow (legally and illegally) to enter the country?
Presidential candidates Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum have broached that subject, but the bureaucrats who are actually running things wouldn’t hear of it. “The Obama administration has made a concerted effort in recent months to encourage immigrants to naturalize, notably partnering with immigrant-heavy cities to promote citizenship,” as Breitbart News has reported.
This is, by the way, a place where compromise might have come into shape. What if Republican leaders in Congress had told President Obama something like: “We’d love to pass TPA, but won’t be able to until you repeal your unconstitutional immigration actions from November and from 2012.”
He would have said no, of course. But that just highlights a real D.C. problem – while conservatives often seem to want to get along, liberals just go along and do whatever they want to do.
Just this week, the Supreme Court ruled that the EPA is over-reaching with its crackdown on coal power plants. But that won’t stop the administration.
“Obviously, we’re disappointed with the outcome,” White House Spokesman Josh Earnest said. “I will say, based on what we have read so far, there is no reason that this court ruling should have an impact on the ability of the administration to develop and implement the clean power plant [ruling].”
Of course not. Only conservatives must respect Supreme Court rulings. Bureaucrats in Washington do what they want. Period.
One trick is to couch everything as if it’s in your best interest. “In a move expected to save thousands of lives a year, the Food and Drug Administration announced Tuesday that it will require manufacturers to phase out partially hydrogenated oils,” a recent USA Today report began. It’s difficult to oppose saving lives.
But, clearly not content with simply “saving” “thousands of lives” every year, bureaucrats are now aiming to bring down even the few sectors of the economy that have shown signs of life.
The EPA is going to regulate power plants, meaning it’s going to shut down power plants. Americans are anxious, because they are (literally) powerless against EPA.
The FDA hasn’t approved a new sunscreen since 1999, even though bipartisan majorities in Congress keep pushing it to. So don’t hold your breath waiting for it to sign off on health monitoring by your Apple watch, and all the high-tech innovation that would come with it.
The FCC is going to regulate the internet via net neutrality.
The CFPB is going to protect consumers — from the dangers of pre-paid credit cards.
And on and on and on.
Americans used to say, “You can’t fight City Hall.” But at least they could see City Hall, and had an idea who they were fighting against. These days, edicts come from Washington bureaucrats hundreds, even thousands, of miles away. There’s no recourse, no choice but to comply. Small wonder anxiety abounds.
A presidential candidate could earn respect by vowing to reduce the power of bureaucrats, cut red tape and unleash everyday American ingenuity again. To allow Trenton to, once again, “make.”
Christie didn’t do that. His version of Washington would look distressingly similar to today’s bureaucrat-driven behemoth.