Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Why Obama is the anti-lame-duck president

Kevin Drum (motherjones.com) quotes movie-maker Quentin Tarantino:

You supported Obama. How do you think he’s done?
I think he’s fantastic. He’s my favorite president, hands down, of my lifetime. He’s been awesome this past year. Especially the rapid, one-after-another-after-another-after-another aspect of it. It’s almost like take no prisoners. His he-doesn’t-give-a-shit attitude has just been so cool. Everyone always talks about these lame-duck presidents. I’ve never seen anybody end with this kind of ending. All the people who supported him along the way that questioned this or that and the other? All of their questions are being answered now.

Then follows a listing of what Obama has done in his last term, quoted here by Greg Sargent at the Washington Post/Plum Line.

By way of illustration, Drum compiles a list of all of the actions Obama has taken since Dems got washed out in the 2014 midterms, in order to demonstrate how active his presidency has been thus far in his second term:

  1. Normalized relations with Cuba.
  2. Signed a climate deal with China.
  3. Issued new EPA ozone rules.
  4. Successfully argued in favor of same-sex marriage before the Supreme Court.
  5. Put in place economic sanctions on Russia that have Vladimir Putin reeling.
  6. Pressured the FCC to approve net neutrality rules.
  7. Issued new EPA coal regulations.
  8. Issued an executive order on immigration.
  9. Got fast track authority for TPP and seems poised to pass it.
  10. Signed a nuclear deal with Iran and appears on track to get it passed.
  11. Won yet another Supreme Court case keeping Obamacare intact.
  12. Issued new rules that increase the number of "managers" who qualify for overtime pay.
  13. Presided over the birth of twin giant panda babies at Washington, D.C.’s, National Zoo.

What’s particularly striking is how many of these major moves have been embraced by likely Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and have been opposed by the 2016 GOP presidential candidates — and will thus form the basis for the broad contrasts that will drive next year’s presidential race. (I’ve taken the liberty of bolding the initiatives above that fall into this category.)

...

[For example:] Clinton has vowed to build on Obamacare’s coverage expansion; the 2016 GOP candidates are all vowing to repeal it, and those who are purporting to offer their own plans would, at a minimum, roll that coverage achievement back. Clinton endorsed Obama’s executive actions shielding millions from deportation; the 2016 GOP candidates have pledged to reverse them. By the way, the battle over those actions could be headed to the Supreme Court next year, right when the presidential race is in full swing.

And finally, all the 2016 GOP candidates have pledged to ship those baby pandas back to China on Day One, too. (Okay, I made that last one up. But no one has yet asked Donald Trump to detail his plans for them and thus dictate the agenda for the rest of the GOP field, so who knows.)

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