But creating a 21st-century regulatory system is about more than which rules to add and which rules to subtract. As the executive order I am signing makes clear, we are seeking more affordable, less intrusive means to achieve the same ends—giving careful consideration to benefits and costs. This means writing rules with more input from experts, businesses and ordinary citizens. It means using disclosure as a tool to inform consumers of their choices, rather than restricting those choices. Above all, it means saving my ass from getting whacked in the 2012 election, by using centrist rhetoric to screen the consolidation of my socialist gains.Possibly that last line was added by some conservative wag. But, really, does anybody besides hard-wired Democrats, ignorant and gullible “independents” and David Frum believe this crap? The most left-wing president in my lifetime has pushed through legislation and issued executive orders that are clearly intended to rob us of our freedom in return for the promises (always unfilled) of a safer, more secure life; he has set new records for non-transparency; and he has demonized opponents and libeled entire classes of people – and now I’m supposed to believe that he’s worried about the confining aspects of red tape on the lives of ordinary citizens, whom he pledges to consult going forward? Please.
Obama has finally been led to water and forced to drink it. The mid-term elections revealed the underlying lack of confidence that the people have in the ability of Democrats to govern responsibly. So now the president is experimenting with triangulation: making cooing noises at business and the denizens of flyover country in order to position himself (falsely) in the middle of the political spectrum.
It is a strategy that I hope will be seen for the cynical ploy that it is (although my mind ominously keeps harkening back to something Mencken wrote: “No one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public.” That’s not always true, but it’s not by any means always demonstrably false).