National Review’s Jonah Goldberg sees as I do that the president’s executive actions regarding firearms are likely to be fraught with potential for cronyism.

Goldberg writes:

Progressives claim to dislike corporatism because they think it means “rule by corporations.” It doesn’t. The reality is they love it. They love having the “stakeholders” around one table so they can be coopted and bought-off.

The whole objective of the early New Deal was to cartelize the economy so the government could form partnerships with Big Business. When Clarence Darrow wrote his final report on the success of the National Recovery Administration he concluded that in “virtually all the codes we have examined, one condition has been persistent . . . In Industry after Industry, the larger units, sometimes through the agency of . . . [a trade association], sometimes by other means, have for their own advantage written the codes, and then, in effect and for their own advantage, assumed the administration of the code they have framed.”

What’s interesting about this situation is the unintended nature of it. There’s no way Obama likes gun manufacturers any more than Democrats in the 1990s liked big tobacco. But the result of all of the big tobacco regulations of 20 years ago, government — I should say “governments” —  is now in bed with big tobacco and is much more hostile to small tobacco companies that didn’t sign on to the master settlement.