Charles Krauthammer Explains How Obama Is Trying to Change America

Charles Krauthammer explains how the administration is trying to transform the country through federal regulations


This is a RUSH transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," August 30, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

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BILL O'REILLY, HOST: In the "Back of the Book" segment tonight: As you may know, the Obama administration is being accused by Republicans of strangling the economy by over-regulating the free marketplace. Fox News political analyst Charles Krauthammer sees a bigger picture here, and he joins us now from Washington. So, correct me if I am wrong, but you think that the president and his guys are trying to transform America by using business regulations, correct?

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, FOX NEWS POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, that's right. The president has never made a secret of his desire to change America. That's what he campaigned on, and that's what he did at the beginning of his presidency. He's already changed it radically using legal means through Obamacare. But when he doesn't succeed in Congress, he goes under the radar, and there are a couple of pretty egregious examples.

Remember last year he tried to pass the DREAM Act, which is a pretty significant change in immigration in which if you were brought here by illegal parents as a child and you meet certain criteria, you're in college or the military, you get, essentially, amnesty. Now, what's interesting is that the Congress, which at the time last year was entirely in the hands of Democrats, rejected the DREAM Act. So what does Obama do? His Department of Homeland Security issues regulations under the excuse of prosecutorial discretion, which essentially enacts the DREAM Act through regulation, meaning of the 300,000 cases out there of people waiting to be deported, the regulation now is, the instructions now are anybody who essentially meets the criteria of the DREAM Act is to be let off and even given a work permit. Now that's a pretty radical sort "in your face" at the constitutional system.

O'REILLY: Now, did anybody sign a paper ordering that? Was there a signed document?

KRAUTHAMMER: Yes, there's a document from the Department of Immigration to the people in the field as to how to handle the backlog of cases.

O'REILLY: That's Homeland Security, right?

KRAUTHAMMER: Right. It's under Homeland Security.

O'REILLY: I wonder who signed that. Was it Napolitano? Was it the attorney general? Who signed that?

KRAUTHAMMER: Well, whoever it was, it wasn't a secret. Everybody in the administration knows about it.

O'REILLY: No, I know that's the policy, but it would be interesting to try to dig that up.

KRAUTHAMMER: Well, it goes all the way up to, essentially, Obama.


KRAUTHAMMER: I mean, it's not as if all of this was hidden from his view. So -- but the idea is they had said it's because of lack of resources. This is a government that spends $3.7 trillion a year and it can't define the resources to actually look at all these cases individually. And this is a farce. You got $6 billion, for example, wasted on ethanol subsidies. Take a fraction of a fraction of that and actually look at all these cases individually, rather than enacting, by fiat of the administration, what the Congress had rejected.

O'REILLY: Right, OK. Now, the other one is the cap-and-trade stuff, which the president has not been able to get passed in Congress.


O'REILLY: Now, what is he doing under the radar?

KRAUTHAMMER: As you know, cap-and-trade is a way to essentially regulate emission of carbon, and it's essentially a way to shut down, ultimately, the coal industry. So it's in Congress -- remember the last Congress that is controlled by Democrats and utterly rejected. And remember even at the time the administration warned Congress, "If you don't enact this, we're going to do it by regulation." And, in fact, that's what's happening. Right now they're issuing regulations that, as The Wall Street Journal has pointed out, will essentially within a few years shut down about 10 percent of coal-generating electricity in the United States.

O'REILLY: Because they -- because they spew too much dirty stuff in the air?

KRAUTHAMMER: Exactly. It imposes new -- no, it's because of the carbon emissions and other emissions that will essentially -- that the coal industry will be unable to meet. It will be completely impractical for any of these businesses to actually operate.

O'REILLY: So the EPA, they've got to be taking the lead here. The EPA says, "Look, you have to have a certain amount of carbon emissions, and if you go over it, you can't -- you can't burn any more fuel. That's it."

KRAUTHAMMER: Exactly. And what you do is you will shut down the older plants, where the scrubbing is too expensive. And it's going to shut down a tenth of our capacity. And as The Journal pointed out, if a terrorist were to shut down a tenth of our coal-generating capacity, it would be an act of war.

O'REILLY: But the counter-argument is is it worth having the gunk go into the air because they are old plants and they need to be refurbished? Is it worth it?

KRAUTHAMMER: You can make all the arguments you want. You can even argue one side or the other of the substance of this. The problem I have is the procedure. Under our constitutional system, the executive executes the laws that Congress has passed. It should not be executing laws that Congress has rejected.

O'REILLY: All right.

KRAUTHAMMER: It's that kind of constitutional arrogance…

O'REILLY: So they're just finding a loophole. They're finding a way around it. Right. It's very interesting. All right, Charles. We appreciate it, as always.

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