July 8, 2014


Obama's 'imperial presidency' doesn't rule much of anything (Dana Milbank, July 7, 2014, Washington Post)

As imperial rulers go, this president has about as much oppressive might and raw dictatorial clout as Prince Hans-Adam II of Liechtenstein. Republicans have never respected Obama's authority. And now, as his popularity slips, he seems to be losing his ability to influence foreign allies, congressional Democrats and some of his previously loyal supporters.

Both the puny executive action and the criticism from erstwhile allies on Monday showed why the Obama presidency these days is falling a good bit short of imperial on the Alexander the Great scale. Education was the White House's message du jour -- lunch with teachers on the South Lawn was the only item on Obama's publicly released schedule other than his intelligence briefing -- but it didn't have a chance of wresting the national narrative away from less pleasant affairs.

On Tuesday, Obama plans to ask Congress for additional funds to process child immigrants. But then he's going on a fundraising trip to Colorado and Texas that, his spokesman confirmed Monday, doesn't include a stop at the border. This could put Obama further on the defensive by inviting the sort of criticism that followed George W. Bush's Hurricane Katrina flyover.

In recent days, Obama has spoken in scattershot fashion about education, jobs, the Highway Trust Fund, immigration legislation and Republicans' threat to sue him for his supposedly monarchical behavior. But his success in shaping the agenda has been negligible. He has been at the mercy of events, reacting to matters not of his choosing and taking executive actions that, for all the criticism, don't have the permanence or reach of legislation.

Working with the GOP he could get several trade treaties and modest reforms of Obamacare, immigration and taxes.  Combined with the Peace Dividend, he'd leave office on the same sort of high that Bill Clinton did in similar circumstances.

Posted by at July 8, 2014 6:52 PM

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