Obama Can Pursue Ambitious Agenda Without Congress's Help
If President Obama wants to pursue a progressive agenda in the next two years, there are plenty of ways he can do that even without any help from Capitol Hill.
At his post-election news conference on Wednesday, Obama offered more lip service to the notion of compromise. But the fact remains that the next Congress looks to be hopelessly gridlocked. The opposition party is more radicalized than ever. And the only thing the resurgent GOP seems prepared to even discuss with Obama is cutting taxes.
So the big question will be what lesson Obama takes from Tuesday's election results. If he and his advisors are finally ready to acknowledge that the source of voter unhappiness was government ineffectiveness -- rather than government overreach, or a general economic malaise -- then there's plenty of room for him to maneuver on his own.
Indeed, progressives are urging him to seize the opportunity to take a more muscular approach with his executive powers, starting by getting much tougher on banks. They also hope Obama will use his regulatory authority, his enforcement powers, and his prerogatives as commander in chief to make decisive moves that can't be sabotaged by Congressional Republicans.
The basic message: So much for the prime minister routine, it's time to act like a president.