Obama, the fiat President, is having a harder time telling the nation what to do

by Ryan Streeter on March 10, 2012. Follow Ryan on Twitter.

The fiat President. That’s what Barack Obama really wants to be. And that’s the label GOP candidates and activists should hold above his head daily until November. Much different than his 2008 promises of transformation, the fiat President has consistently shown a disdain for democratic process and lawmaking and a preference for issuing fiats and decision-making that shuns the legislative branch.

And all of that bad behavior will backfire. Or, should – so long as his opposition does a decent enough job reminding the public about it and stays away from doing things themselves that will backfire (such as saying you don’t care about the poor or that you can relate to Nascar fans because you know a couple of the team owners…things like that).

Consider the following:

    1. The President of Regulation Nation. Pew’s latest numbers on regulations show a nation more wary of regulation’s effect on the economy. Not since the Clinton years have so many (up to 52% from 45% a year ago) said that regulations do more harm than good. Pew is quick to point out that the rise is driven primarily by Republicans, and that’s true, but it’s also true that every category of voter trends in this direction. The share of liberal Democrats holding this view, for instance, has climbed from 23 to 32 percent. Obama has been unabashed at using the regulatory state to get around the tedious and tiring work of negotiating with Congress. And when he has done the latter, it’s been to expand the power of the former. ObamaCare is one big exercise in delegating authority to the unelected regulatory state that Obama can control. The whole contraception conflagration began not over a proposed law, but yet another rule that the fiat President wanted to impose on the country to advance a narrow view of what is good for that country.
    2. The grand oil irony. The President who was going to usher in a historic new green future is turning out to be the President who has increased the nation’s appetite for the dirty old-fashioned energy that comes out of the ground. Once again, he has tried to use authority he already has to promote green-ness that has failed colossally (Solyndra) and to hinder energy extraction that his left-wing base opposes (Keystone pipeline, offshore drilling). The effect has been that those bright spots in the country where energy production Obama cannot control is resulting in economic growth are shining even more brightly to a nation that is worried about rising energy costs. If the fiat President had embraced an all-of-the-above energy policy (yes, I know he says that’s what he supports, but come on…), the fossil fuel issue wouldn’t be hanging around his neck so weightily. Instead, because of his hostility to energy extraction, stories about, say, North Dakota’s economic growth (energy-based) compared to California’s stagnation (Obama-esque policy framework) will continue. Stephen Moore writes the latest such story in the weekend WSJ. I’ve hit on the story here, and Brian Calle has done so here. The point is that Obama’s fiat approach to energy (“America, be green!”) has made the worthy objectives of green energy harder and is turning an economically bruised nation against him.

The GOP machine would do well to remind the nation of these realities.