Barack Obama, not wanting to be the Incredible Shrinking President, asked Congress today for the power to shrink the federal government in an election year.
I am not making this up.
Of course, there just couldn’t be any political motivations involved here.
If you think not, I want to sell you Manhattan Island and the Brooklyn Bridge for 24 dollars worth of beads and trinkets. I’ll even throw in the Penn Street and Buttonwood Street bridges since they are losing more structural support than Newt Gingrich.
In proposing to close the Commerce Department and merge six trade and business agencies, Obama wants to inoculate himself against Republican cries that he is a big-government liberal who has presided over a mammoth government expansion.
Granted, you would think that Republicans in Congress would rather contribute to Obama’s reelection campaign than approve his request for expanded powers in an election year.
However, Obama has painted the Republicans into a corner on one of their own favorite issues.
While Republicans are smart enough to realize that a liberal never changes his stripes, they can’t walk on fresh paint without ruining their expensive leather shoes. Not surprising then that initial GOP reaction appears broadly positive.
If Obama gets the authority to shrink the government, even if it’s just a cut the size of a pinto bean, it will somewhat mute the campaign rhetoric of Mitt Romney.
And spoil some of the fun.