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The Step President

I've noticed a theme of late with the Obama administration, one that troubles me. We have a couple of governors who've noticed that the federal government has side-stepped its responsibilities, so they've stepped up to do what is needed to be done -- and one of them is getting stepped on for recognizing the necessity.

In Arizona, they've suffered for years from the federal government's staunch refusal to enforce the border. So, finally, they passed their own law requiring state law enforcement officials to enforce federal laws regarding illegal aliens -- and they're being assailed for that by the left, especially the Obama administration.

In Louisiana, they're trying to keep as much of the spilled oil off their shores as possible. They've had quite a few ideas that require federal approval, and Washington has fiddled while Rome burns (so to speak). So, finally, Governor Jindal decided it's easier to get forgiveness than permission and started ordering barriers set up at sea to keep the oil at bay. It remains to be seen how the federal government will handle this impertinence.

There's a third governor who's also making waves, but so far he hasn't stepped on Washington's toes. New Jersey's Chris Christie has vowed to get his state back on solid fiscal standing, no matter how many unions he has to utterly piss off. To this point, he hasn't run afoul of DC, sticking strictly within the state's purview, but sooner or later the unions (who already hate Christie with a passion) will call in their allies in the Obama administration and find some excuse to get them in on their fight with Christie (probably through the Department of Labor, but potentially through the Department of Justice -- they've shown they are quite happy to do Obama's political bidding).

It's a fascinating development. On the one side, we have a president who wants to redefine the role of the presidency (and, by extension, the federal government) to suit his own priorities and agenda, by choosing which government bodies have authority in what area, regardless of precedent, existing law, or the Constitution. On the other side, we have some rather boisterous governors who are putting the interests of their state ahead of Obama's agenda.

Normally, I'd give the advantage to the federal government. Its supremacy has long been established. But, by Obama's own statements and actions, he doesn't give a great deal of respect for the underpinnings of that supremacy, which undercuts his arguments. Further, he's never won a fight against a truly determined opponent -- he's either caved, outmaneuvered, or relied on his allies, backers, and proxies to do the heavy lifting.

We certainly live in interesting times...


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Comments (38)

At least in regard to New J... (Below threshold)
Bruce Henry:

At least in regard to New Jersey, this article belongs in the category of "News That Hasn't Happened." Film at 11.

REad recent NYTImes Op ED o... (Below threshold)
Nathan:

REad recent NYTImes Op ED on the New Orleans barrier written by a scientist: badly designed, will make things worse and won't last the hurricane season.
NS

Thanks, Bruce, for confirmi... (Below threshold)

Thanks, Bruce, for confirming what I said: that it hasn't happened in NJ YET.

You wanna make a bet on whether or not it will?

J.

Obama is incompetent, cluel... (Below threshold)
mag:

Obama is incompetent, clueless and fill with himself. It explains it all.

Mr Tea:You might h... (Below threshold)
Bruce Henry:

Mr Tea:

You might have a point with regard to Louisiana.

But I find it interesting that, as you say, Arizona has "suffered for years" from the federal governments lack of enforcement of existing immigration law. Yet, despite years of Republican governors and legislative majorities, they waited until now to make this move. Why did their suffering become so great that it could no longer be borne NOW? Why not during the previous administration? Or the one before that? In the (borrowed) words of that ancient philosopher Mr Rogers, can you say "pandering?"

So you have kind of a point on LA, in a sort of tired, FOX-talking-point kind of way. You have a political stunt in AZ. And nothing at all in NJ. Otherwise, great article.

Wait, what is (charitably) one third of "great?"

Why now in AZ, Bruce? I dun... (Below threshold)

Why now in AZ, Bruce? I dunno. I know it's been a long time brewing (no pun intended), a long time overdue, and it finally came to a head. I don't particularly care which straw broke the camel's back. You wanna obsess over it? Be my guest.

Also, it's human nature to spot patterns as they develop. More germane, it's my knack to spot these patterns before they come to fruition. Sometimes my observations are wrong, and go nowhere. other times, I'm ahead of the curve.

I think the unions getting gored by Christie will call in their markers from getting Obama elected, and try to get the feds involved. I think that Obama, so far, has shown that he will throw pretty much anyone under the bus when they become inconvenient, but has shown loyalty to unions. So I think that he'll wring his hands, talk about how reluctant he is to intervene in a state matter like Jersey's budget woes, but federal labor laws take precedence and he has no choice but to bail out the public sector unions that have crippled Jersey.

I'm predicting it, Bruce. I'm going out on a limb and saying that is what I THINK will happen. I'm not saying it is, I'm not guaranteeing it, but I'm spelling out what I believe will happen and why.

If I'm wrong, I'm wrong. Won't be the first time. I can live with that.

If I'm right, you look like a fool. Again, won't be the first time. Again, I can live with that.

J.

Bruce"Why did thei... (Below threshold)
retired military:

Bruce

"Why did their suffering become so great that it could no longer be borne NOW? "

Well if you ask Lee Ward I am quite sure he will say that it is because we have a black president.

"Why did their suffering... (Below threshold)
Oyster:

"Why did their suffering become so great that it could no longer be borne NOW?"

I imagine it's quite like the reason the Tea Party was born when it was. A great many people, myself included, were concerned about the growth of government and the reckless spending even during the Bush admin. But when we elected a Congress with a like-minded President that took goverment growth and multiplied it exponentially, well, enough became Enough!

For the same reason any of us will tolerate any annoyance in our private lives to a point. But when you've finally had enough, you get up off your butt and do something about it.

If all you're concerned about is the timing, then fine. But somehow I think you've got a bigger bee than that in your bonnet.

Although I must say, I liked RM's answer better.

Maybe the killings on the A... (Below threshold)
gene:

Maybe the killings on the AZ border is awakening some people. Under Bush there was hell being raised by the people and finally there was money appropriated to build a fence. Now I understand the fence has been conveniently disregarded under Obama and amnesty is again on the front burner. The democrats is in dire need of Mexican voters. Legal or otherwise.

Bruce Henry is such a fool.... (Below threshold)
Michael:

Bruce Henry is such a fool.

Hmmm...here in NJ States Ri... (Below threshold)
moseby:

Hmmm...here in NJ States Rights may become an issue. If Christie is successful in turning around our financial woes (unions be-damned!)he will become a popular Governor. If ol jug-ears goes up against that he loses NJ in 2012 "fer sher".

Why Now?Because th... (Below threshold)
Hank:

Why Now?

Because they've realized that there is no chance of seeing any leadership or solutions coming from the white house, or by extension, the democratically controlled congress.


Here in AZ the problems hav... (Below threshold)
Matt:

Here in AZ the problems have been a long time coming. The problems have been made worse by the Fedgov putting more emphasis on CA and TX than AZ and the smugglers coming through here instead. The smugglers understand that regardless of rhetoric, the feds have had little interest in the substance of enforcing federal laws along the border.

Janet Napolitano had the same opportunities when she was AZ Govenor for 8 YEARS. She did little and fought every attempt of the legislature to pass the type of laws we've seen the last few months. Nappie was more interested in pandering to illegal immigrants and the entertainment/hospitality industry to do much other than talk and send bills to President Bush.

It was Napolitano's administration that decided to prosecute a "Federal" Border Patrol Agent for defending himself when a criminal tried to bash him in the head with a rock. Two trials later (hung juries both times) and several millions later, they finally decided to quit while they were behind and stop prosecuting the Federal Agent. Funny thing, at the time I didn't see the Liberal/Progressive/Socialist press complaining that it wasn't within the states realm to prosecute a Federal LEO conductin his FEDERAL job, enforcing FEDERAL LAW.

As far as Govenor Christy o... (Below threshold)
Matt:

As far as Govenor Christy of NJ goes, eventually it will be decided he has to go. He'll either be assinated (SEIU, MOB etc) or indicted by the Feds.

When Fife Symington, AZ Gov, took a stand against the Clinton Administration they sent the U.S. District Attorney for AZ to take him down. Janet Napolitano succeeded, and it ultimately paved the way for a Democrat Govenor.

"Why did their suffering... (Below threshold)
JLawson:

"Why did their suffering become so great that it could no longer be borne NOW?"

Because under Bush, there was at least some lip service paid to immigration control and reform. And things with the gangs and drug cartels weren't QUITE so bad as they are now.

But Obama was making it clear that there wasn't going to be any sort of actual immigration control, and the 'reform' wouldn't change things.

How long should they wait for the Feds to get off the stick? If the Feds won't do their job - why should they wait to do the job the Feds won't?

So why now? Well - consider a set rat trap. It might take a fair bit to trigger it - but a rat trap's bar doesn't move until it's triggered. There's been a lot of incidents, and each one moves the trigger bar just a little bit further - to the point where one more slight nudge would release it.

Just one more rancher killed.

So there was a lot of potential energy stored, and now it's being released, and quick.

I'm sure the rat doesn't understand or appreciate what causes the trap to release - but whether it understands or not, the trap still goes off.

Bruce -"the... (Below threshold)
914:

Bruce -


"they waited until now to make this move. Why did their suffering become so great that it could no longer be borne NOW? Why not during the previous administration?"

Alright Ive had my fill of blame Bush idiocy for today. Now wheres Lee Wierd so I can fill up on racism.


Only the courageous are wil... (Below threshold)
OLDPUPPYMAX:

Only the courageous are willing to stand against dictators and would-be dictators. Jindal, Christie and Brewer are three classic examples of the guts necessary to overthrow a tyrant. The vast majority of the American people are on the side of these fighters. And we will have to REMAIN on that side.

Comrade Bruce: "Why did ... (Below threshold)
P. Bunyan:

Comrade Bruce: "Why did their suffering become so great that it could no longer be borne NOW?"

Comrade Napolatino was governor of Arizona up to January of '09 so there was no hope of passing pro-American legislation until NOW.

When the going gets tough, ... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

When the going gets tough, Barry takes a walk.

P. Bunyan beat me to it. AZ... (Below threshold)
Jay Guevara:

P. Bunyan beat me to it. AZ couldn't do anything with Uncle Mort as governor. So, you see, Obama has done something worthwhile, by getting her out of the way.

A prediction: if Chris Chri... (Below threshold)

A prediction: if Chris Christie tries to solve NJ's financial problems by being tough on unions, he will fail...because unions are not the source of NJ's financial problems.

What Christie would have to do to solve NJ's problems is conservative blasphemy: raise taxes.

I'm sure instead Christie will pursue the standard mantra: lower taxes and make things easier for business, and they'll make so much more money and hire so many more people, that the state government will get more money! While beating on unions too, of coursse.

So I'm predicting a failure for Christie. When NJ's problems don't change and he's up for re-election, just remember I made that prediction here.

And like all liberal predic... (Below threshold)
914:

And like all liberal predictions yours are based in denial.

lol with that.

When the going gets tough, ... (Below threshold)
Jay Guevara:

When the going gets tough, Barry takes a walk heads for the links.

FIFY.

So I'm predicting a fail... (Below threshold)
Jay Guevara:

So I'm predicting a failure for Christie. When NJ's problems don't change and he's up for re-election, just remember I made that prediction here.

Fair enough - a falsifiable hypothesis. Let's both remember your prediction.

And let's put in one caveat: that Christie is actually able to implementhis program. Is that fair? That way we'll be judging him on the success - or failure - of his ideas. Conversely, it's hardly fair to hold him accountable for ideas that weren't implemented.

Furthermore, it's not fair to expect all of NJ's problems to disappear magically, no matter what anyone does. They've been generations in the making. So let's speak to the slope: whether or not NJ is in better financial shape by the time of the next election.

So here's your fleshed-out prediction: even if Christie lower taxes and make things easier for business, NJ's financial situation will be no better.

Is that a fair statement?

"What Christie would hav... (Below threshold)
Oyster:

"What Christie would have to do to solve NJ's problems is conservative blasphemy: raise taxes."

Oh that's rich. So how's that raising taxes thing been working out for them, well, forever now?

Well, I say the whole AZ cr... (Below threshold)
Bruce Henry:

Well, I say the whole AZ crackdown law is a stunt. Just a way for Republicans to cast themselves as tough guys and make a few high-profile busts, while the same forces (big employers) that always do prevent meaningful progress. Remember, the National Restaurant Association, Big Agribusiness, and dozens of other interest groups DON'T WANT there to be fewer illegal immigrants. On the contrary, they want an easily exploited and easily intimidated low-paid workforce. And they have just as much influence in AZ as they do everywhere else. Any law enforcement official who takes this thing too seriously will soon regret it.

But rubes will fall for it. Indeed, judging from what I read here, already have.

As for NJ, breaking the public sector unions won't fix NJ's fiscal problems, and might worsen things. As an analogy, look at the airline industry. Reagan broke PATCO in 1981; are the skies safer now because of it? The pilot's unions are cowed and weak; is the airline industry a healthy industry because of that fact?

But to Mr Tea's point, I think he's wrong that Obama will intervene in NJ's labor problems except that he will support Democrats who will oppose the Governor's moves. I don't think he'll use the Justice Department to interfere.

Congratulations to RM for finding another way to obsessively accuse Mr Ward of trying to bring racism into a thread he hasn't participated in, and a big "Neener-neener" to Michael.

Shorter Mr Tea:"If... (Below threshold)
Bruce Henry:

Shorter Mr Tea:

"If I'm wrong, no big deal. If you're wrong, you look like a fool."

How does that work, exactly?

My article, my rules. Suck ... (Below threshold)

My article, my rules. Suck it up, Bruce.

Seriously... I made a prediction. I made no guarantees. I spelled out why I thought so, and invited others to critique it. If I'm wrong, I can live with that. I don't like it, but it doesn't wreck me.

You, on the other hand, didn't argue against it. You just came in and made an idiot of yourself. Let me condense it:

"This is how I think it'll happen."

"You're wrong! That isn't what's happening!"

"No shit, Sherlock. I specifically said it wasn't happening yet, but I expect it will."

"Well, you're wrong!"

"Why?"

"Because you're wrong!"

Actually, I should revise that. No matter what the outcome, you look like an ass.

J.

Well, I say the... (Below threshold)
Jay Guevara:

Well, I say the whole AZ crackdown law is a stunt. Just a way for Republicans to cast themselves as tough guys and make a few high-profile busts, while the same forces (big employers) that always do prevent meaningful progress.

What exactly would constitute "meangingful progress?" Legalizing all illegal aliens? You might want to talk with labor unions and American-born minorities about that, because they're mortally opposed to it, for obvious reasons.

You can't have it both ways. Democrats want to be seen as promoting the cause of illegal aliens on one hand and of union members and American-born minorities on the other, and the rubes fall for it.

As for NJ, breaking the public sector unions won't fix NJ's fiscal problems, and might worsen things.

Yep, nothing fixes fiscal problems like strong public sector unions. Ask any Greek, or Californian for that matter. California was wealthy, but started going downhill in the mid-70s, when Governor Moonbeam legalized public sector unions here. Now, we're in the crapper, just because of public sector unions.

To repeat:

So here's your fleshed-out prediction: even if Christie lower taxes and make things easier for business, NJ's financial situation will be no better.

Do you accept this bet?

"What Christie would hav... (Below threshold)
Jay Guevara:

"What Christie would have to do to solve NJ's problems is conservative blasphemy: raise taxes."

To my colleague Oyster's point, why would yet another tax increase make any difference? NJ is already one of the most heavily taxed states in the Union.

"except that he will sup... (Below threshold)
P. Bunyan:

"except that he will support Democrats who will oppose the Governor's"

I hope and pray you're right, Bruce. NJ can use all the Republicans in their legislature that they can get and the best way for that to happen is for the big O to campaign for their opponents.

BruceGive Lee time... (Below threshold)
retired military:

Bruce

Give Lee time. LIke a lot of conservatives I believe in preemptive strikes against the enemy.

Jim X

Name one time that raising taxes did NOT have an effect of increased deficit spending.

Remember Jim XThe ... (Below threshold)
retired military:

Remember Jim X

The main problem with socialism that eventually you run out of other people's money.

Barry, Barry, Barry, cant t... (Below threshold)
914:

Barry, Barry, Barry, cant trust em', cant teach em' but please oh please, can we impeach em'?

Re # 29:Well, Mr T... (Below threshold)
Bruce Henry:

Re # 29:

Well, Mr Tea, er, I mean Senor Guevara, did I ever, on any thread on Wizbang, advocate "legalizing" all illegal aliens? There may be some Democrats who do, but I'm not among them.

All I'm telling you is that the AZ law will never be enforced to the extent conservative rubes think it will, because the powers that be DON'T WANT there to be fewer illegal immigrants. They just want to use anti-immigrant sentiment to accomplish other ends.

If you're saying that unions and native-born minorities oppose illegal immigration because it depresses wages, why don't conservatives ally with them instead of demonizing them? Answer: because they are duped by the big employers, divided and conquered. Like I said, rubes. Employers don't want higher wages, do they? They like high wages even less than high taxes.

IMO the way to decrease illegal immigration is to concentrate enforcement on employers. If there was no opportunity for illegals, no way for them to make a better living here than at home, they'd stay home, wouldn't they?

"Now we're [California] in the crapper, all because of public sector unions."

Really? You really assert that public sector unions are SOLELY responsible for California's fiscal woes? Funny, I heard that Proposition 13 had something to do with it, along with maybe a few other factors, only one of which was public sector unions.

And re # 28:

I used about as much evidence in my argument that Obama won't intervene in NJ as you did in arguing that he will, Mr Tea. Precisely, none.

Well, Mr Tea, e... (Below threshold)
Jay Guevara:

Well, Mr Tea, er, I mean Senor Guevara, did I ever, on any thread on Wizbang, advocate "legalizing" all illegal aliens?

Now that you've cleared up what you're not advocating, how about enlightening us as to what you are advocating?

You really assert that public sector unions are SOLELY responsible for California's fiscal woes?

Bit of a straw man, but understandable in light of the unfortunate way I worded my comment, so I'll let it pass.

But yes, public sector unions are largely responsible for California's fiscal problems, along with Democrats in the legislature and Gray Davis, who bought union political support with our money. The current unfunded pension and healthcare liability for California's public sector unions? $500 billion. For comparison, the annual state budget (which is in the red by $18 billion) is $90 billion. Behold what liberalism hath wrought. And who legalized public sector unions in California? Jerry Brown. Thanks, Jerry!

Forgot to mention that othe... (Below threshold)
Jay Guevara:

Forgot to mention that other factors are excessive spending on education (40% of state budget, mandated by law - thanks, teachers' unions) and of course illegal aliens, whom we have to provide with education and healthcare although many, if not most, work off the books and pay no taxes.

But re public sector unions, to repeat the proposition to jim x, who apparently is now in Witness Protection:

So here's your fleshed-out prediction: even if Christie lower taxes and make things easier for business, NJ's financial situation will be no better.

Do you accept this bet?

"...how about enlightening ... (Below threshold)
Bruce Henry:

"...how about enlightening us as to what you are advocating."

I am advocating enforcement of immigration laws focused on employers, not the unfortunate wretches who sneak across the border BECAUSE THERE IS OPPORTUNITY HERE. If there was no one hiring these people, they wouldn't come. Kind of a free-market, supply-and-demand kind of approach.

Of course, I said that already, but don't let that stand in the way of a good snarky line, Senor Guevara.

But I doubt my approach will ever be adopted. That would mean arresting, you know, folks like US, and not those verminous brown people, right? It would also mean actually solving the problem, and then who would conservatives be able to demonize? Gay people are sooo 2004.




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