Editorial By Bill Collier- GOP takeover of the US Senate could have interesting consequences, not so much in bills that will be passed as in the degree of pushback and resistance the President will receive regarding his massive use of executive actions, especially through the policies enacted by unelected regulators.
The EPA will certainly come under scrutiny as its regulatory regimen is seen as illegal on the part of many Republicans. One can expect joint House and Senate Hearings, and investigations, on this very subject. The EPA has been implementing, through the broadest possible interpretation of its regulatory powers (ceded to it by the Congress over the years), a cap and trade regimen aimed at dramatically reducing the coal industry and limited the use of fossil fuels, even at the cost of a loss of hundreds of thousands of good paying jobs and the precipitous increase in energy costs. This very agenda has been voted on in Congress and was rejected by lawmakers. It is also rejected by most voters.
But this is not the only area of concern. Lawmakers will have more clout to investigate Benghazi, the IRS, and the Justice Department’s actions regarding Fast and Furious and its attempts to silence the media by investigating and spying on reporters.
Beyond investigations and regulatory oversight, it will be impossible for the President to continue to determine spending largely without Congressional oversight through the use of “continuing resolutions” which have essentially skirted the Constitutional requirement for an actual BUDGET to be originated in the House and confirmed in the Senate. The President and the GOP will have to work out actual budgets as it is certain that the GOP will not tolerate one more year without an actual budget.
Many votes which were held off by Harry Reid, the now former Majority Leader, to shield Democrats from taking tough stands will be pushed with a vengeance.
What is more, it is possible the rule changes imposed by Reid, which effectively blocked man of the maneuvers formerly open to a minority, will remain unchanged, at least for now. If indeed the GOP leadership roll back those rules, to their own disadvantage, one can be sure their base will be angry. The media will give them no point for doing so, and their opponents will not hesitate to use the relaxed rules to gum up the works as much as possible.
In effect, then, those rule changes which many see as making the Senate far less collegial and deliberative than it used to be, could become permanent, leading to a further erosion of the public’s trust and confidence in their government.
This will be especially problematic for any Obama appointees, including whoever might replace Attorney General Eric Holder. With the current rule changes, Republicans will be able to quickly vote down nominees and avoid long, drawn our hearings and maneuvers by the other side to delay the vote while they and their media allies beat up on the GOP.
No doubt the establishment media, who are largely an adjunct of the Democratic Party machine in the eyes of most conservatives, will extol the virtue of the “rights of the minority party” and the need for “bipartisanship”, which, in practice, amounts to giving the Democrats everything they want while giving the GOP and its base nothing they want. Indeed, the media who place their own liberal bias first and foremost have aided in polarizing America because, like partisan Democrats, they present “fairness” as giving only one side a voice and giving only one side what it wants.
Of course, conservative media, especially blogs, radio talk shows, and Fox News, will be equally uncompromising and will call any compromise with Democrats a surrender. They will snipe at any GOP leader who considers immigration reform or modifying but not repealing the Affordable Healthcare Act, and they will in general add to the polarization. Most conservative media sources admit that they are conservative but do little to balance their coverage or go beyond watchdog news and opinion piece writing, and both their language and their coverage serve only conservative readers or viewers.
The difference is that many of these conservative outlets, including pundits on Fox News, disclose their own agenda while leftists in the media refuse to disclose their bias, or even admit to it. The practice of disclosing one’s ideological or party bias on the part of media is not accepted among most of the establishment media.
Between overtly biased partisan pundits and biased reporters who refuse to admit their bias, let alone disclose what it is, politicians face a media environment dominated on both sides by the ends of the political spectrum and will be clobbered unless they throw red meat at their base.
While the GOP are making many noises about cooperation and working with the President, voters in the middle are especially favorable toward this view, they must contend with the perception among many rank and file members that the Democrats (and their media allies) will demonize them unless they abjectly surrender and their own base (whom, feeling alienated, did not support their 2012 Presidential nominee) be further alienated if they perceive that the GOP is giving in too much. Likewise, however, the establishment media and the Democrat base are likely to pressure the President and his Party to “tow the line” and even to resort to more executive actions rather than giving in to the GOP.
In short, we will see real budget battles, more investigations and hearings, much more pushback on executive and regulatory actions not popular with the GOP, and probably more polarization fueled in part by partisan media on both sides which, far from being objective and counseling compromise, will attack anyone on “their side” who dares to go down that road.