Dawdling Obama charts last-minute rush of mis­chief

The Washington Times Daily - - POLITICS - MERCEDES SCHLAPP Mercedes Schlapp is a Fox News con­trib­u­tor, co-founder of Cove Strate­gies and for­mer White House di­rec­tor of spe­cialty me­dia un­der Pres­i­dent Ge­orge W. Bush.

Our pro­cras­ti­na­tor-in-chief is fran­ti­cally try­ing to make up for lost time, as Pres­i­dent Obama uses his fi­nal days in of­fice to is­sue last-minute reg­u­la­tions and play po­lit­i­cal games at the United Na­tions that harm and in­sult one of our best al­lies.

From now un­til In­au­gu­ra­tion Day, brace your­self for the spec­ta­cle of a re­lent­less pres­i­dent build­ing a le­gal and reg­u­la­tory wall in a last-ditch ef­fort to pro­tect parts of his legacy.

Mr. Obama is mak­ing it dif­fi­cult for Pres­i­dent-elect Don­ald Trump to undo his ac­tions. For ex­am­ple, Mr. Trump may well need to le­gal or con­gres­sional ac­tions to change Mr. Obama’s re­cent ban on oil and gas exploration along large swaths of the coun­try’s At­lantic and Arc­tic coast­lines. Mr. Obama used a 1953 law called Outer Con­ti­nen­tal Shelf Lands Act to pro­tect the fed­eral lands, with the ex­press goal of mak­ing it nearly im­pos­si­ble for fu­ture gas or oil exploration and drilling in these ar­eas.

As a part­ing gift to Planned Par­ent­hood, the na­tion’s largest abor­tion provider, Mr. Obama is­sued a fi­nal rule ban­ning states from deny­ing fed­eral funds to the or­ga­ni­za­tion. This rule will take ef­fect two days be­fore Mr. Trump takes of­fice, and the new pres­i­dent would need to re­scind the rule or lobby Congress to pass a joint res­o­lu­tion of dis­ap­proval.

And Mr. Obama just this week des­ig­nated two na­tional mon­u­ments in Utah and Ne­vada, his lat­est move to set aside mil­lions of acres of land from com­mer­cial de­vel­op­ment or en­ergy exploration — what­ever the wishes of the peo­ple who live there. Mr. Obama will leave a legacy of cre­at­ing and ex­pand­ing more na­tional mon­u­ments than any other pres­i­dent.

But Mr. Obama’s most de­struc­tive part­ing gift was his de­ci­sion not to veto the U.N. Sec­re­tary Coun­cil res­o­lu­tion that in essence would call Is­rael’s set­tle­ments in dis­puted Pales­tinian ter­ri­tory as il­le­gal. Mr. Obama wanted to send one last mes­sage to his neme­sis, Prime Min­is­ter Ben­jamin Ne­tanyahu, while join­ing in the in­ter­na­tional pil­ing on against the Jewish state. By de­sign, the U.N. res­o­lu­tion Washington failed to block will now be very dif­fi­cult to undo. Mr. Obama went ahead with his fit of pique even though mem­bers of his own party ob­jected to his treat­ment of a crit­i­cal ally. Both Democrats and Repub­li­cans have crit­i­cized the lame-duck pres­i­dent’s move, which has al­ready re­sulted in Mr. Ne­tanyahu stepping away from ad­vanc­ing a two-state so­lu­tion.

For the first seven-plus years of his time in the White House, Mr. Obama built up a legacy of greater reg­u­la­tion, more ex­ec­u­tive orders, tram­pling on the rights of Congress, and pur­su­ing a for­eign pol­icy based on Amer­i­can weak­ness and re­straint. A re­cent Gallup poll may have found that Mr. Obama is Amer­ica’s most ad­mired fig­ure, but based on re­cent events, vot­ers will be re­lieved to know that the Obama chap­ter will soon be clos­ing for­ever.

The Don­ald Trump chap­ter be­gins by promptly ex­e­cut­ing his agenda. The pres­i­den­t­elect should fo­cus on re­vamp­ing the fed­eral bu­reau­cracy, strength­en­ing Amer­ica’s stand­ing in the world, and push­ing for­ward a pro-growth eco­nomic agenda.

And un­like Mr. Obama who left so much for the very last minute, Mr. Trump should waste no time get­ting down to busi­ness. He’s al­ready work­ing with cor­po­ra­tions to ne­go­ti­ate bet­ter deals and bring jobs back to Amer­ica — a good start. He has put to­gether a Cabi­net of highly qual­i­fied, pro-busi­ness men and women who are look­ing for ways to change the way Washington works.

And, un­like his pre­de­ces­sor, Mr. Trump would do well to re­mem­ber that there is no time to waste.

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