Obama's 'Midnight Regulation Express'
Kimberly Strassel has a great article in the Wall Street Journal that summarizes the actions taken by President Obama since the election designed to undermine the presidency of Donald Trump by piling thousands of new regulations and executive orders on the new president's desk, daring him to undo them.
Barack Obama isn’t known for humility, though rarely has his lack of grace been more on display than in his final hours in office. The nation rejected his agenda. The president’s response? To shove more of that agenda down the nation’s gullet.
The proposed regulations and executive orders are directly related to parts of the president's agenda that have been rejected by Congress and the American people – most recently in the November presidential election. These "Midnight Regulations" are little more than a spiteful way for President Obama to give the middle finger to Trump and the American people.
The technical definition of a midnight regulation is one issued between Election Day and the inauguration of a new president. The practice is bipartisan. George W. Bush, despite having promised not to do so, pushed through a fair number of rules in his final months. But Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton were more aggressive, and Mr. Obama is making them look like pikers.
Mr. Obama has devoted his last year to ramming through controversial and far-reaching rules. Whether it was born of a desire to lay groundwork for a Clinton presidency, or as a guard against a Trump White House, the motive makes no difference. According to a Politico story of nearly a year ago, the administration had some 4,000 regulations in the works for Mr. Obama’s last year. They included smaller rules on workplace hazards, gun sellers, nutrition labels and energy efficiency, as well as giant regulations (costing billions) on retirement advice and overtime pay.
Since the election Mr. Obama has broken with all precedent by issuing rules that would be astonishing at any moment and are downright obnoxious at this point. This past week we learned of several sweeping new rules from the Interior Department and the Environmental Protection Agency, including regs on methane on public lands (cost: $2.4 billion); a new anti-coal rule related to streams ($1.2 billion) and renewable fuel standards ($1.5 billion).
This follows Mr. Obama’s extraordinary announcement that he will invoke a dusty old law to place nearly all of the Arctic Ocean, and much of the Atlantic Ocean, off limits to oil or gas drilling. This follows his highly politicized move to shut down the Dakota Access pipeline in North Dakota. And it comes amid reports the administration is rushing to implement last-minute rules on commodities speculation, immigrant workers and for-profit colleges—among others.
Any action that is rushed is likely to be shoddy, especially if it’s from the federal government. The point is for Mr. Obama to have his way and to swamp the Trump administration with a dizzying array of new rules to have to undo. That diverts manpower from bigger and better priorities.
Trump's transition people are bitterly complaining about a lack of cooperation from the executive departments. This foot-dragging is slowing the transition process, which makes it less likely that Trump can hit the ground running on January 21. Instead, the new president will be forced to deal with a dizzying array of federal rules – most of which will end up in court anyway as businesses fight back against this federal government-wide power-grab.
The bottom line: Obama and the Democrats do not recognize Donald Trump as the legitimate president of the United States and will do all in their power over the next four years to ensure the failure of his administration.