President Barack Obama’s Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson got star treatment at the U.N. climate change conference in Copenhagen this week.
Jackson’s biggest applause line was when she said she was "proud" of the EPA’s announcement that it would regulate greenhouse gases as dangerous pollutants.
For a nation under siege by popular culture and the left with environmental alarmism, government regulation of greenhouse gases may at first glance seem like a reasonable step.
But take a step back and consider what this ruling means in practice. According to the EPA, greenhouse gases include carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide and a host of other gases that are emitted whenever people heat their homes, drive their cars, mow their lawns or tend their farms.
Without so much as a vote being cast, the EPA regulation suddenly micromanages all of this. It makes all economic activity more expensive. It makes creating jobs more difficult. It puts government bureaucrats — not entrepreneurs — at the center of our economy.
The ruling is alarming in its breadth, but perhaps even more disturbing is what it reveals about Obama’s view of democratic and constitutional government.
The Obama administration seems to regard government of the people, by the people and for the people as an inconvenience rather than a blessing. If the peoples’ representatives in Congress do what it wants, great. If not, they will use their power to get their way by any means necessary.
That includes issuing threats to another branch of government. Here’s what an anonymous senior administration official told Congress:
"If you don’t pass this legislation ... the EPA is going to have to regulate in this area. And it is not going to be able to regulate on a market-based way, so it’s going to have to regulate in a command-and-control way, which will probably generate even more uncertainty."
Not only does this statement reveal shocking contempt for the rule of law, but the official concedes that he or she will allow the EPA to further damage the struggling economy.
With this bullying gesture, the Obama administration reveals its true goals. It’s not interested in protecting the American people or our environment. Its interest is in power, and there is a word for a government whose primary purpose is the accumulation and exercise of power over the citizenry: Totalitarian.
Most of the international elite in Copenhagen this week made their peace with bureaucratic dictatorship long ago. The question now is whether America will follow the same path.
Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich has published 19 books, including 10 fiction and nonfiction best-sellers. He is founder of the Center for Health Transformation and chairman of American Solutions for Winning the Future. For more information, visit www.newt.org. His exclusive column for The Examiner appears Fridays.