Somewhere in the bowels of the White House there is an aide whose sole job is to make a list of popular measures President Obama can propose that Congress is guaranteed not to pass this year. To judge by the number of Going-Nowhere Good-Governance suggestions Obama has made recently (remember the Jobs Act?) maybe there’s a whole room full of them.
The latest example of GoNGG legislation came on Friday, when Obama asked Congress for authority to consolidate executive branch agencies in order to streamline government. Who could be against more efficient government? No one. Will the GOP-led House pass a bill giving President Obama a win on a signature GOP issue in an election year? Absolutely not.
GoNGGs aren’t completely cost free for Obama. In announcing his request, he had to tap dance around the fact that he promised leaner government when he came into office:
I ran for office pledging to make our government leaner and smarter and more consumer-friendly. And from the moment I got here, I saw up close what many of you know to be true: The government we have is not the government that we need.
So why is he only getting around to asking Congress for new authorities nine months before he faces reelection?
Now, what we’ve tried to do over the first three years of my administration is to do a whole range of steps administratively to start making processes, procedures, agencies more consumer-friendly. But we need to do more, and we need authority to do more.
Translation: I’ve been so busy streamlining government that I’ve only just had time to realize I need more authority to streamline government. Nicely played.