Opinion: Columnists

Obama's destiny: Lame-duck revenge or four-year revolution?

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Win or lose, after the election, President Obama will leave a bigger scar on our nation than we thought. If Obama loses, an unseen reservoir of ruinous proclamations, executive orders, and regulations will burst forth in his outgoing days. If Obama wins, our nation faces four uncontrollable years of lacerating presidential whips and chains.

Carol Browner, Obama's former global warming czar now at the left-wing Center for American Progress, promised environmentalists on a September campaign conference call that the president has "a big to-do list for them" in a free-wheeling second term.

What's on that to-do list? Browner's not saying. And what's on the lame-duck to-do list if he loses?

Last week, Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., ranking member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, released a report titled "A Look Ahead to EPA Regulations for 2013." It reveals Obama's to-do list -- 13 specific job-killing Environmental Protection Agency regulations that have been quietly put on hold until after the election.

"To-do" means imposing harsh greenhouse gas regulations, banning hydraulic fracturing (fracking), taking federal control over all water, shutting down cement plants, "cleaning" gasoline to make it cost more, stopping farm dust -- and on and on, one economic bloodbath after another.

In 14 fact-filled pages, Inhofe's investigative staff goes into detail about why and how. A peculiar Obama insider quote struck me: "The only decision metric that matters for the next 14 months is, 'Will this help us get reelected?' If a regulatory decision is a liability, we should fully expect the administration to delay until Nov. 7" -- the day after the election.

I had the opportunity to ask Inhofe if he was certain of this. He told me, "There is no question, that if re-elected, President Obama will move forward with numerous EPA regulations that will destroy jobs and strangle economic growth."

But is Obama really that afraid to show his legislative agenda? The senator was emphatic: "Absolutely. He doesn't want the American people to know. He has told his friends on the far left to be silent until after the election, promising them that he will then have the flexibility he needs to impose his green agenda. Big Green gets it, and that is why they have fully endorsed Obama and his far-left agenda for the next four years."

Matt Dempsey , the Environment and Public Works Committee's communications director, provided background.

"Just about a year ago," Dempsey began, "as President Obama assembled his campaign team, it became clear that they understood that his green energy agenda was having a disastrous impact on jobs and the economy. Our staff recognized that, slowly and very quietly, President Obama abandoned all talk of pushing for his cap-and-trade agenda. Instead, he started to talk up his newfound love of oil, gas and coal."

Did anyone besides Obama's true believers fall for that? "Not really," said Dempsey, "because his record showed the change of rhetoric to be false. As a result, the Obama administration began punting on numerous EPA regulations until after the election hoping no one would notice what he has in store for the next four years if he is re-elected."

OK, the report is out. What now? "We have kept a close eye on each of the regulations the Obama EPA has punted on, knowing full well there are likely even more that they are keeping quiet on. I'll let you know."

Big Green supporters of this wait-and-see agenda seem to live by a modified motto of the self-righteous: "I'm willing for you to die for my beliefs."

Examiner Columnist Ron Arnold is executive vice president of the Center for the Defense of Free Enterprise.

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