By PETER BAKER and JULIE HIRSCHFELD DAVISNOV in The New York Times
WASHINGTON — President Obama emerged from last week’s midterm election rejected by voters, hobbled politically and doomed to a final two years in office suffering from early lame-duck syndrome. That, at least, was the consensus in both parties. No one seems to have told Mr. Obama.
In the 10 days since “we got beat,” as he put it, by Republicans who captured the Senate and bolstered control over the House, Mr. Obama has flexed his muscles on immigration, climate change and the Internet, demonstrating that he still aspires to enact sweeping policies that could help define his legacy.
The timing of the three different decisions was to some extent a function of separate policy clocks, not simply a White House political strategy. Mr. Obama, for example, had been scheduled to travel to China for a summit meeting in mid-November, and American officials have been trying for most of the year to negotiate a climate agreement for him to announce while in Beijing.
Still, even if by happenstance, the back-to-back moves have reinforced Mr. Obama’s desire to assert himself in a period when his poll numbers and political capital are at their lowest ebbs. While losing Congress was a grievous blow that will further challenge his capacity to govern, advisers said that he feels liberated. He can now pursue his long-term agenda, they said, without being tethered to the short-term electoral concerns of his party’s leadership in Congress.
In the process, though, Mr. Obama has angered Republicans who accuse him of essentially defying the message sent by the electorate. All of the talk by the White House in recent days of working together with the new Congress seems belied by a president who has wasted little time advancing some of the same policies that were renounced just a week ago, Republicans said.
“The president is completely ignoring the will of the American voters, who turned out on Election Day and overwhelmingly elected people who wanted to change the direction of the country,” Senator John Barrasso of Wyoming, chairman of the Senate Republican Policy Committee, said in an interview. “Even today, the new polls show Americans would rather have Republicans make the agenda changes than the president.”
Read more at The New York Times
3 thoughts on “Obama, Down but Not Out, Presses Ahead”
Only 36 percent of the nation voted in the midterm. That means that maybe 20 percent voted for the republicans. Twenty percent of America does not give them a mandate.
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You’re right, gen. Voters were not much interested nor inspired to vote in this midterm. Combine record low public interest with the voter suppression efforts that prevented potentially millions of Americans from voting, and you get what the Republicans call “a mandate.”
We probably just saw one of the lowest-turnout elections in American history.
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It angers me all the new voting laws imposed in GOP controlled states. Fewer polling places, shorter voter hours, etc. It is not American and there should be screaming from both parties. The GOP is not the party my father belonged too.