By using a strategy of going on offense with a clear and strong agenda, President Obama has been dominating John Boehner and Mitch McConnell’s Republican majority in Congress.
Politico reported on how the president is setting the agenda:
Three months into the expanded Republican majorities on the Hill, White House aides see a landscape in which President Barack Obama is more in charge now than he was before the midterms. Rather than moving forward on their own priorities as Republican leaders promised after their midterm sweep, the House and Senate find themselves reacting to Obama.
So far, most legislation hasn’t moved at all, and the most prominent votes have been on bills they already know Obama won’t sign. Even the political flare-ups over Iran, White House aides say, are more evidence of a Congress — Republicans and Democrats alike — that is reacting to the president’s agenda.
“To the extent that Republicans on Capitol Hill are doing things, it is either putting out fires in their own camp or responding to incoming from President Obama,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest said in an interview.
President Obama threw Republicans back on their heels with his immigration executive action. The White House has not allowed the Republican-led Congress to get their footing by establishing any momentum or a coherent agenda. Democrats and the president have been able to exploit the fact that congressional Republicans veer from crisis to crisis with no plans or goals.
Sen. Mitch McConnell thought that he would be able to hit the ground running by passing lots of legislation immediately after he became Majority Leader. McConnell spent nearly a month bogged down on the Keystone XL bill, and followed up Keystone by being dragged into the House’s fight over Obama’s immigration executive action.
The president is more in control of the agenda in the Capitol than he was when Democrats held the majority in the Senate. President Obama is firmly in charge, and Republicans have no clue what to do about this turn of events. One of the main reasons why so many Republicans signed on to Sen. Tom Cotton’s letter to Iran was that they were desperate to assert their power. With Harry Reid masterfully keeping the Senate Democrats together, Republicans have not been able to pass anything unless Democrats agree.
President Obama has been empowered by losing the Senate. Until Republicans realize that they will have to work with the president and congressional Democrats, it is a safe bet that the do-nothing Congress will accomplish less than nothing because all roads to success now go through Obama.