“You don’t like a particular policy or a particular president? Then argue for your position. Go out there and win an election.” So said a belligerent Barack Obama on Oct. 17, 2013. He was speaking to his Republican “enemies” in Congress, not to the American people, whose best interests he represents, he has long maintained.
Last night the voters answered back in a single voice. Their message to him might be paraphrased as “You lost!” to riff on another of his exhortations to his GOP foes on Capitol Hill.
His fellow Democrats’ response to last night’s referendum was varied. Juan Williams, of The Hill and Fox News Channel, said somewhat self-delusionally that the shellacking Democrats took was not so much an indictment of the administration as it was of incumbents and business as usual inside the Beltway. Former Congressman Dennis Kucinich claimed that the lopsided outcome of yesterday’s midterms showed the power of money.
But no response has been as telling as the one from the White House. In his postmortem of last night’s stinging rebuke of the Obama presidency, the New York Times’s Peter Baker wrote:
Mr. Obama is eager to throw off the constraints of a campaign that he did not direct and begin to defend his record in a more robust way again.
“He’s going to be aggressive. He’s ready to go,” said another senior official, who like others did not want to be identified discussing plans before the election results were tabulated. “We’ve got a lot of important stuff to get done in the lame duck. He’ll talk about that tomorrow. We’ve got a lot of important stuff to get done in the last two years. He’s anxious to get going on that.”
And what might that important stuff be? According to ABC’s Jonathan Karl, blanket amnesty passed as an executive order tops the list. Speaking before the polls closed yesterday, Karl said:
White House officials are saying that you can expect the president to set an aggressive, and defiant tone tomorrow. You’re not going to see any mea culpas, no big firings, no change in direction.
[O]fficials tell me the president is prepared to aggressively pursue his agenda using his power of executive authority, where he can’t work with Congress, and the big one is going to be on immigration reform. White House officials tell me that the president will move forward with an executive order on immigration reform no matter how big a shellacking Democrats get tonight.
One possible interpretation of this stance is that Obama is daring the now all-Republican Congress to do their damnedest — their damnedest being to bring articles of impeachment.
The nation had no stomach for that move against Bill Clinton in 1998, which backfired. Will they take this action against a president who has indicated he will defy the will of the people and of the Constitution to the bitter end? Stay tuned.