So how have things been going for our bored, exhausted, and disengaged president? He’s been acting pretty enthusiastic, energized, and absorbed with his job, I’d say. Let us count the things he’s done since the November 4th midterm elections:
- November 10: Surprised everyone by announcing his support for strong net neutrality.
- November 11: Concluded a climate deal with China that was not only important in its own right, but has since been widely credited with jumpstarting progress at the Lima talks last week.
- November 20: Issued an executive order protecting millions of undocumented workers from the threat of deportation.
- November 26: Signed off on an important new EPA rule significantly limiting ozone emissions.
- December 15: Took a quiet victory lap as Western financial sanctions considerably sharpened the pain of Vladimir Putin’s imploding economy.
- December 16: Got nearly everything he wanted during the lame duck congressional session, and more. Democrats confirmed all important pending nominees, and then got Republican consent to several dozen lesser ones as well.
- December 17: Announced a historic renormalization of relations with Cuba.
I guess you can add to that a non-event: In its second year, Obamacare signups are going smoothly and ahead of target. Am I missing anything beyond that? Maybe. It’s been quite the whirlwind month for our bored, exhausted, disengaged president, hasn’t it?
All of these things are worthwhile in their own right, of course, but there’s a political angle to all of them as well: they seriously mess with Republican heads. GOP leaders had plans for January, but now they may or may not be able to do much about them. Instead, they’re going to have to deal with enraged tea partiers insisting that they spend time trying to repeal Obama’s actions. They can’t, of course, but they have to show that they’re trying. So there’s a good chance that they’ll spend their first few months in semi-chaos, responding to Obama’s provocations instead of working on their own agenda.
Was that part of the plan? Beats me. But it seems to be working pretty well so far.