The Obama Administration is unusually adept at regulating its political agenda. When Congress declined to pass cap and trade laws, Pres. Obama’s EPA issued two new rules outlawing coal electricity – really. When Congress declined to pass card check legislation to ease union drives, the NLRB responded by cutting the debate that should precede a union vote. Most recently, the Supreme Court decided that corporations had a right to political speech. Pres. Obama responded by calling out Romney donors to silence them. Further, the FCC has issued a new rule requiring the disclosure of any organization that engages in political speech on its airwaves – another Obama effort to silence his opponents.
Most people do not care one whit about the FCC; after all, the FCC are those guys who divvy up cell phone spectrum and make people buy digital TVs. What interest does the FCC have in politics? Sadly, the FCC has always been a political tool because it regulates and controls the media of political dialogue. This is why the FCC, bypassing a federal judicial order, regulated ‘net neutrality.’ The FCC cannot stand to be outside of the loop on communications, especially political. This is why Rep. Nancy Pelosi seeks to restore the ‘fairness doctrine,’ which would allow the FCC to stamp out talk radio personalities that oppose her.
As with most regulation, the raw political power grab of the FCC’s latest disclosure rule is concealed by a veneer of ostensible reason. The new rule requires any broadcaster, no matter how small, to report any political airtime buys to the government. The veneer of reasonability is disclosure and sunlight, however, the rule requires immediate and real-time reporting of political buys. No other regulatory body’s political regulations are so onerous, and the only purpose can be to enable immediate tactical responses to those who buy ad time. The new rule’s timing is also convenient, as Obama’s reelection is just getting into gear.
Further, the rule’s primary proponent, Meredith McGehee, is a Naderite political operative. The former Common Cause lobbyist and aide to Socialist IL Rep. Lane Evans (D) somehow decided to focus on FCC reporting to advance her political agenda. Team Obama is amazingly talented at coordinating all of the Left’s assets to advance its overall political agenda.
If regular people start to feel the government’s collar around their necks, it has been a long time coming. While Obama’s assaults on traditional American freedoms have been most visible from the front (e.g. Obamacare, union bailouts, punish ‘the rich’), his shadowy tactics have been just as effective. If the nerdy FCC can become a political tool for Obama, his tactics combined with the embedded left sentiment of the bureaucracy appear to have no limits.