Heads up the Obama voters. The midterms are coming and while Democrats don’t usually turn out for midterms (often to disastrous effect as seen in the 2010 midterms), Politico reports that the President told “allies” that “losing the Senate to Republicans would make his last two years in office unbearable.”
In a long piece dedicated to understanding President Obama and the shifts he’s making in the last two years of his presidency as he comes to terms with the limited power of the office, Carrie Budoff Brown and Jennifer Epstein at Politico noted that of all of the things he cares about, the income gap most animates the President:
Obama is most animated by the enormous challenge of closing the income gap between the rich and poor, but he’s had to rely on only small-ball initiatives. He and his aides have charted out a schedule of executive actions through early next year, giving the West Wing a renewed focus even if the ambition pales in comparison to the early days.
But a presidency built on finding ways to elude Congress is a remarkable descent for a leader whose second inaugural address was an audacious call to arms for a liberal resurgence. These days his actions reflect a conclusion that his best option is to navigate shrewdly within narrow limits rather than soar above them with transformative politics.
And that’s why losing the Senate would make the last two years unbearable for the President.
This fall in aspirations is not actually a “remarkable descent” for Obama, but for our nation, as it’s due to the politics of obstruction, hysteria and dysfunction practiced by a Republican Party that refuses to serve as loyal opposition or a check on presidential power, but instead has literally shutdown the government in a six year temper tantrum over losing elections.
The President can’t change laws without a Congress willing to legislate. As it stands right now, Speaker John Boehner has taken refuge in a rule he never bothered to legitimately pass, the “Hastert Rule”, which he claims prohibits him from bringing any legislation to the floor that isn’t supported by the majority already. Note that he didn’t bother to adopt this rule formally, and that the actual person behind this alleged rule has called baloney on it. But it gives the Speaker a reason for failing to pass any legislation.
The Republican-led House is an example of what will become of the Senate this year if sane voters don’t turn out.
Obama voters need to have the President’s back for these last two years. Getting out the vote is the best way they can show their support for his agenda and his presidency. If the Senate falls to Republicans, the nation will suffer along with the President’s frustration over his obstructed agenda.
Ms. Jones is the co-founder/ editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.