Bush Crowns Himself Emperor

Robert Pear writes in tomorrow’s New York Times,

President Bush has signed a directive that gives the White House much greater control over the rules and policy statements that the government develops to protect public health, safety, the environment, civil rights and privacy.

In an executive order published last week in the Federal Register, Mr. Bush said that each agency must have a regulatory policy office run by a political appointee, to supervise the development of rules and documents providing guidance to regulated industries. The White House will thus have a gatekeeper in each agency to analyze the costs and the benefits of new rules and to make sure the agencies carry out the president’s priorities.

This strengthens the hand of the White House in shaping rules that have, in the past, often been generated by civil servants and scientific experts. It suggests that the administration still has ways to exert its power after the takeover of Congress by the Democrats.

This, of course, is the Bush version of “bipartisanship.”

The White House said the executive order was not meant to rein in any one agency. But business executives and consumer advocates said the administration was particularly concerned about rules and guidance issued by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

Here’s the punchline:

In an interview on Monday, Jeffrey A. Rosen, general counsel at the White House Office of Management and Budget, said, “This is a classic good-government measure that will make federal agencies more open and accountable.”

HA HA HA HA HA, oh my, oh, too funny (wiping eyes), wooo, those people have one sense of humor!

Business groups welcomed the executive order, saying it had the potential to reduce what they saw as the burden of federal regulations. This burden is of great concern to many groups, including small businesses, that have given strong political and financial backing to Mr. Bush

The quid, it is pro quo.

18 thoughts on “Bush Crowns Himself Emperor

  1. And a big FU to labor and the environment.

    2 more years.
    Yuh know somebody needs to ask Hillary and the other candidates if they will repeal all these executive orders if they are elected.

  2. because after all, no one with mere academic credentials can possibly make the “right” decisions without a political officer present. Oh, wait – that was The Hunt for Red October.

  3. So these are new political appointees, I understand. I wonder if any of them have to face confirmation. I wonder if they will be hand selected by the preznit… or will the various trade lobbyists get to vote for their favorite appointee? Democracy, you know. And I wonder how much each of these appointees and their staff members are going to be paid from the treasury.

    Sounds to me like a make-work program for a bunch of do-nothing Republican political hacks who just got sacked by all the lobbying shops in town as they hire Democratic political hacks to replace them and please the new congress.

    It’s the new Wingnut Welfare program! Now with government funds!

    Maybe some cool member of the House would like to have some fun with it and introduce the “WingNut Welfare Reform Act of 2007” to put a stop to it. They could have fun with this one. Do it just like a real Welfare Reform bill, selling it as a “welfare to work” reform package for worthless homeshooled kids. You know, like the ones who ran the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq a while back. They could impose a “work requirement” and have a mandatory ethics 101 program for all appointees in the program.

    I wouldn’t worry much about them doing much of anything but waste space and cost a bunch of money. I doubt that they could stop provisions from an act of congress from going into effect, but they could probably slow some stuff down for a couple of years.

    Maha- Have you noticed that at the new site politico.com, they take user submissions for Op-Eds instead of writing their own Editorials? The OP-Eds get voted on by the online readers and the top ranked ones go into the print edition. I think this could be a good outlet for your Op-Eds like that beautiful one you wrote recently “Manifesto.” If you submit something, let us all know and we’ll go vote for it.

  4. Just think how wonderful life is going to be when a Democrat is back in the White House and uses all this power FOR the good of the people instead of AGAINST them. Just think of the howls of outrage that will erupt from the right wingers. I can hear them now. Music to my ears. Just keep telling yourself “Only two more years, only two more years.”

  5. BushCo is dying, and before the dying one becomes a corpse, the vulture relatives are busy running around the estate grabbing whatever they can get their hands on.

  6. marijam — it is my fondest desire that whoever gets the presidency in ’08 will reverse all these various executive orders and power-grabing tools. Yes, it would be nice to have a democrat using all that power in service of goals *I* like, but doing so would merely legitimize near-dictatorial powers for the president. And that would really, really suck next time a republican or other non-democrat wins the presidency.

    maha (or whoever) — all these various agencies, the EPA and OSHA and the like … what branch of government do they operate under? Are these congressional agencies or executive agencies?


  7. “reduce what they saw as the burden of federal regulations.”

    Another example of the unwillingness of the right wing to move beyond the logical fallacy of black and white thinking. To a wing nut, we have but two choices — unregulated capitalism or centrally-planned communism. Just as there is a difference between a smart response to terrorism and a stupid one, there are smart regulations and stupid ones. Reducing the “burden” on business has become the wing nut code for eliminating all regulation, both smart and stupid.

    BTW, because I comment here from time to time as “Brian,” I feel the need to point out that I am not the bloodthirsty, ersatz “Brian” who commented in response to your “Unspeakable Truth” post. I realize that I can’t claim exclusive rights in the name Brian, so I might need to adopt a less common handle.

  8. Unraveling this mess will have to be done one Cully Stimson at a time. It really does make you wonder what they have planned next. Perhaps BlackWater Security will arrest Congress, or the ’08 election will need to be “postponed” for Nat’l Security reasons. The odd thing is, I write this tongue and cheek but anything could happen.

    The various investigations Congress is beginning are not going to return any positive findings whatsoever. This administration in running out of room to not care what the first branch thinks. They have used the Constitution as a personal hygiene product and some measure of accountability must occur to prevent this from happening again. Impeachment ultimately is the only way that we can prevent global pardons to punctutate the last days of this administration.

    They all look good in blue, so perhaps they could be housed together in Danbury.

  9. Is there any awareness that Brownie was this kind of bureaucratic installation? Is this an attempt to institutionalize incompetence?

    Smells like Norquist via Addington. Gotta luv OVP.

  10. Reading the first two sentences of Mr. Pear’s words, my mind immediately leapt to the acronym NKVD. Amongst other roles, they assigned political commissars to organizations to ensure purity of political thought by the troops and management.

    I always thought the NeoCons were envious of the old Soviet Union…

    All in all, it was, just another brick in the wall.

  11. Taking off on pollywood’s note — as I recall from the history of the Soviet Union, the Bolshevik party under Stalin established something of a shadow government by placing loyal political operatives in each government agency with the rights to review, reject, or modify rules and regulations. And, of course, to rat out for “purging” those not sufficiently loyal to the cause.

    I always thought that the Repubs were anti-communist. They certainly were under Regan. This group has gone around the bend. All we need is a Gulag system, and we’ll …. Oh, wait.

  12. “Just think how wonderful life is going to be when a Democrat is back in the White House …”

    This shows how incredibly shortsighted Bush is. Either that or he is hoping to be named “Dictator Perpetuus.”

  13. Ya gotta love that line about ‘classic good-government measure’! When I studied history, ‘good-government’ was about creating civil service positions, so that easily manipulated and/or corrupt politicalappointees didn’t have the power. It’s hard for me to even say “open and accountable” in the same breath with “political appointee” without laughing.

    Orwell had no clue how bad it would be.

  14. This is one of the hallmarks of the current rightwing noise machine. Whatever you know people will complain about, get the claim out that the opposite is true, first.

    “The illegal surveillance conducted by the Bush administration in violation of civil rights is carefully conducted to protect civil rights”.

    You don’t even have to *explain*. You just have to *say*. And you’ll have people dismiss complaints.

  15. More of this to come:

    In December, 2005, James E. Hansen, the longtime director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, gave a dangerous speech of the sort that frightens George Bush. He said there should be a prompt reduction in emissions of greenhouse gases linked to global warming. After Dr. Hansen gave his speech, he was told that thenceforth the Institute’s public affairs staff would be required to “review his lectures, papers, postings on the Goddard website and requests for interviews from journalists.” We later found out that NASA’s media gatekeeper was a 24-year-old former Bush campaign worker who had “accidentally” claimed earning a college degree when, in fact, he was a dropout.

    Read Eric Alterman http://mediamatters.org/altercation/ for more on this

  16. So much for any effort to get the “best and the brightest” to work for the Federal Government.

    It seems to me that one of the first things Bush did when in office was abolish all EO’s signed by Clinton. Turn abouts fair play. I hope.

  17. Randy has the right idea in #3. This program needs to be ridiculed by Congress in ways too amusing for the press NOT to pick it up. Get it out there that the president is making desperate grabs for power in the Justice Dept and regulatory agencies. The legitimate appointed heads of these agencies can’t be too fond of the new system and will probably be quite willing to cooperate with Congress informing about the new system.

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