Politically, President Obama has never been weaker, after losing both House and Senate. At the same time, he has never talked tougher. There is a connection between the two.
Obama recently told Democratic lawmakers that he’s going to “play offense” in coming months. Coming from a man with a history of occasional trash talk — “I’m LeBron, baby” — it’s tempting to dismiss this as just more chatter. What is Obama doing, going on offense after his party suffered such a resounding defeat in November?
Conservative writers John Podhoretz and Jonah Goldberg argue the president just can’t resist trolling Republicans. Liberal Paul Waldman essentially agrees, admiring Obama’s ability to “come up with a new idea every couple of weeks to drive [the GOP] up a wall.”
It’s true the president seems to take real pleasure in annoying his adversaries. But there’s a serious strategy behind it.