After reading just one chapter of Democracy Denied, I immediately drew a key conclusion: This is not just another richly deserved expose of Barack Obama’s wretched record. Not that it would have been wrong if that was all Phil Kerpen had accomplished with his inaugural literary effort. But he achieves far more than that.
Kerpen compiles documentation of eight of the most egregiously un-Constitutional offenses of the Obama White House. Then, from the vantage point of having watched it all up close as Vice President for Policy at Americans for Prosperity, Kerpen provides riveting behind-the-scenes detail of how the damage has been implemented and the ensuing devastating fallout. But rather than simply identifying the offenses, the coup de grace that lends his account with the force that it possesses involves steps to solving each of these crises.
For instance, I had never heard of the REINS (Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny) Act until Kerpen wrote about it in Chapter 1. Co-sponsored by Kentucky Senator Rand Paul and Kentucky Congressman Geoff Davis, this bill, if passed into law, has the potential to roll back the size and cost of government as much as any proposed law in my lifetime. In brief, the REINS Act simply proposes that “all rules, regulations, or mandates that require citizen, state or local government financial expenditures must first be approved by the U.S. Congress before they can become effective.”
Kerpen provides the background story of the development of the REINS Act, along with far more details than I can here. There is, however, seismic potential here to force a return to Constitutional government here in a Washington that has run amok amid a chokehold of regulatory oversight. The REINS Act shines a glaring light on the Obama pattern of pivoting to regulatory agencies to implement what he cannot accomplish through the legislative process. But it would do more: short-circuit and even defeat such blatant attempts.
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act–better known as Obamacare–comes under heavy fire as the most obvious instance of determined flouting of not only the will of the American majority, but of Constitutional consideration. Kerpen reminds us that the bill that eventually passed was originally touted as a draft bill that could be fixed in conference…but then, Scott Brown was elected to the Senate in Massachusetts. Obama and the Democrats saw no other option than to renege on their promise and to pass a tangled web of medically-based chicanery, laced with contradictions and double talk.
Other Kerpen targets encompass the Dodd-Frank banking bill monstrosity, Obama’s war on the energy industry via support for cap and trade and blocking of new drilling options and the Employee Free Choice Act (“card check”). But the chapter on the largely uncovered vast land grab that the Obama Administration has overseen is an example of the valuable service this volume provides. The breathtaking sweep of the Obama Administration’s thirst for control of private property is astonishingly illustrated, for instance, by the Clean Water Restoration Act. This outrageous legislation would literally “[expand] the jurisdiction of the EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of engineers to all the land and all the water in the United States” (emphasis mine). Quite an apt metaphor for the stealthy, yet ever consistent overreach and unquenchable appetite for encroachment that constitutes the attitude of the Obama Administration since January 20, 2009.
Finally, I appreciate that in Democracy Denied, Phil Kerpen repeatedly cites the research of those working in the conservative movement trenches, such as my friends Seton Motley of Less Government and Erik Telford of the Franklin Center. These two and others like them may not yet be names that are known from shore to shore. But Kerpen recognizes where the real toil is done that accomplishes genuine change in the nation. How refreshing!
This is one of the most important books I have read this year. You will be well armed to argue the Election 2012 case if you make it part of your repertoire over your Christmas break.