Hendricks County Flyer, Avon, IN

December 7, 2012

Get out of Obama's way

By Taylor Armerding
CNHI

— I'm joining a bandwagon.

It's a small one so far, but I think it has promise. It's not the I'm-going-to-break-my-no-tax-increase-pledge-to-Grover-Norquist bandwagon, although that's an element of it.

It's not just about taxes. It's about pretty much everything. This is about what professor, author, and columnist Victor Davis Hanson has called, "Let Obama be Obama."

As the president's jeering, gloating supporters constantly remind us, Obama won. He beat Republican Mitt Romney, whose major sources of support were old, white men and married women, two of the most obsolete species in the country and not at all representative of the glorious, diverse majority that will lead the Divided States of America (Latinos, Blacks, Asians, gays, bisexuals, transgenders, union members, environmentalists, perpetual students, single women, welfare recipients, government employees, etc.) "forward!"

If Romney had won with a majority that didn't even crack 51 percent, we would be hearing constantly from the Democratic public relations arm - the mainstream media - that this was no mandate.

But since Obama is the winner, the consensus among all intelligent, right-thinking people is that the American people (save for that obsolete fringe) want the president to do everything he has said he wants to do to achieve the "fundamental transformation" of the United States of America.

So, Republicans should get out of the way and let him do it. Right now, as Hanson and others have noted, the president can make any number of promises to any number of his interest groups, secure in the knowledge that Republicans will block them and he can then blame them for "obstruction" and never have to live with voters finding out what the consequences of many of those promises would be.

I've already declared myself a supporter of "taxing the rich," although I think Obama should be held accountable for his double talk - he still goes on and on about "millionaires and billionaires" not paying their fair share and not "needing" a tax cut (which is his way of defining tax rates staying where they are), but his actual proposal would require individuals making one-fifth of a million to pay higher taxes.

And I'm in small, but influential company. Even conservative firebrand Ann Coulter says Republicans should not block raising taxes on millionaires. "Republicans have got to make Obama own the economy," she wrote this past week.

So, Republicans should let Obama sock it to the millionaires - the real millionaires - and then let him and his apologists explain why the pleasure of eating the rich will be followed by the indigestive reality that it will not be nearly enough to dent either the annual deficit or the long-term debt.

They should stand aside and let him block the wealthy from avoiding estate taxes by donating their wealth to charities and foundations, and then let him explain how government is much more deserving of that money, and will spend it much more efficiently and effectively, than those charities. Oh, and how immoral it is to let people choose for themselves what to do with their money.

They should agree to let him tax investment income - capital gains, dividends, interest - as earned income. If the stock market tanks, eroding IRAs, 401Ks and union pension plans, surely everybody will understand that it is the rich who benefit disproportionately from the current lower tax on investment income.

Republican Speaker of the House John Boehner should tell his troops not to stand in the way of the implementation of Obamacare, except to hold the president accountable for more double talk. Obama goes on and on about how evil it is for any group of people to get "special treatment." He said constantly during the campaign about how this should be a country, "where everybody plays by the same rules."

So, what's with more than 1,200 exemptions granted to various corporations and unions from the provisions of Obamacare so far? No more of that. Everybody must play by the same rules, like the president says.

Same for energy. As one of my readers, Jim, suggests, Republicans should get out of the way of regulations that will bankrupt the coal industry. They should agree to cap emissions levels that, as Obama himself said, would cause electricity rates to "necessarily skyrocket." Surely middle-class and poor Americans will not mind this "necessary" step to our clean-energy future - especially since the money flowing out of their pockets won't be due to a tax hike.

Republicans should treat Secretary of Energy Stephen Chu the way the left treated Mitt Romney when it comes to "walking back" earlier statements. In 2008, before he was energy secretary, amid a collapsing economy, Chu advocated for "European level" gas prices. Now that he is secretary, he has said he no longer believes that, and wants to keep gas prices low. What? Has he no core principles? He should be taken at his earlier word, not his politically expedient dodge now.

After all, keeping gas prices at their current level of "only" $3.80 per gallon or so is just putting more money into the pockets of greedy oil companies and pushing us toward catastrophic climate change. Surely the middle class won't mind paying for the "true cost" of fossil fuels. And after all, it's not a tax hike.

Don't obstruct him. The majority voted for Obama. So let them find out the consequences of his agenda.

Or, failing that, maybe they can get a chuckle watching a lot of Democrats get whiplash, suddenly deciding that they might want to obstruct the president too, if they want to stay in office.

- Taylor Armerding is an independent columnist. Contact him at t.armerding@verizon.net.