The latest two years in a presidency, with no more reelections in sight, are usually the least productive. After several years at the White House fatigue sets in, and bargaining power diminishes as legislators set their political ambitions beyond those two years.
This is what usually happens, but that’s not the case of the current administration. Intense Republican opposition in Congress has blocked successfully President Barack Obama’s initiatives, and could have discouraged him.
On the contrary, the President seems liberated from political pressures. Arguing that he is dealing with an obstructionist Congress, he showed this December that he’s not ready to retreat to the political background.
Both the executive action extending protection against deportation for millions of undocumented families, and the reopening of diplomatic relationships with Cuba, were campaign promises since Obama announced his candidacy. But they couldn’t be executed before due to negative repercussions either for his reelection or the Democratic perspectives.
This is the president we wanted to see from the beginning. However, since day one Obama acted as a moderate president, in spite of being dubbed repeatedly as one of the “most extremist in history.” The pragmatic attorney’s analysis prevailed over the activist’ risk taking.
On the Wall Street bailout he followed the bankers’ advice. With Obamacare he expanded health coverage one of his main achievements without further touching the entangled health system. In the budget negotiations he always left the impression that he conceded too much, resulting in the disastrous implementation of the so called budget sequestration.
Those examples might help explain the disillusion of a political base who voted him to change history and saw him giving in time and again to Republican pressure.
Today Obama seems liberated. The perspective of a new Republican Congress put him in a new protagonist role as the main Democrat opposing it, as the next presidential election approaches. Meanwhile, Obama can keep doing the right thing