Making a Lame Duck Presidency Relevant

E.J. Dionne calls on President Obama and House Democrats to stick together in order to “prevent the next two years from becoming a festival of reaction.”

“If Obama and progressives can cooperate to keep the worst from happening, they — and particularly the president — can also get things done. Obama’s executive actions on immigration squarely challenge congressional Republicans to put up or shut up on their claims that they actually want reform.”

“The Obama administration moved on another front last week to curb ozone emissions linked to asthma and heart disease. Republicans said they would try to block the new anti-pollution regulations. Okay, let’s fight it out. Again, conservatives will have to explain why they want to reverse an initiative rather than obstruct action altogether and then blame Obama for being ineffectual.”

“Yes, such steps will call forth enraged rhetoric about ‘the imperial president.’ But guess what? Starting in the Reagan era, when Democrats controlled Congress, the Heritage Foundation and other conservative groups put out studies and books attacking ‘the imperial Congress’ because they didn’t like any interference with a president from their own side. It seems that altered political circumstances can lead to neck-snapping changes in convictions that are allegedly rooted in constitutional principle.”

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