OK, that pronouncement is a bit premature. But if the Republicans hold the House next year as seems likely, it’s a done deal. Just keeping track of all the attacks on the administration has become quite a chore. And quite a few of those attacks are coming from Obama’s base of support.
- The press is howling about the Justice Department’s heavy-handed subpoena of journalists’ phone records. “A fishing expedition for sources and an effort to fend off whistleblowers” is how the New York Times editorial board describes it. This issue isn’t going away any time soon.
- Then there’s Guantanamo, the closing of which was to be Obama’s first priority upon taking office in 2009. Thus New York Times commentator Joe Nocera: “The president could have jumped through the hoops Congress now requires and continued moving prisoners out of Guantánamo. But he didn’t. Instead, he froze all transfers, including 56 men from Yemen who had been ‘cleared’ for transfer by a national security commission that Obama himself established. The government, the commission essentially said, has no national security interest in holding these men. Yet Obama continued to let them rot in that Cuban hell. And you wonder why they are on a hunger strike?”
- Some unions are mad at Obama as Brandon Christensen pointed out on this blog, where he quotes one union’s demand: “repeal or complete reform” of Obamacare.
- The IRS scandal may have a shorter half-life. The Times correctly points out that Presidential use of the IRS to bludgeon political enemies goes back at least to Franklin Roosevelt and Richard Nixon. Still, it’s heartening to see the Tea Party rejuvenated, with street protests and blogs pointing out that thuggish behavior is a long-standing and probably irremediable attribute of the IRS.
- Waiting in the wings is Dodd-Frank. This financial “reform” act is mostly not yet in effect because the agencies are trying to figure out how to write the rules that will actually put into practice the clear-as-mud intent of the law. It’s a near-certainty that this law has fixed nothing and that another financial crisis will hit, possibly before Obama leaves office. Already we see signs of bubbles in the housing and stock markets.
“This country has come to feel the same when Congress is in session as when the baby gets hold of a hammer,” said Will Rogers. Three years of gridlock, if we’re fortunate enough to get it, should hide away the hammer, at least for a time, from both Congress and the President.