Paul Jacob

Obama is in the White House and all is right with the world.

According to media far and wide, this is the upshot of the President’s post-Election Day shellacking turned lame-duck session triumph. Congress passed a deal to keep the Bush tax cuts in place, repealed “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” and ratified the START treaty with Russia.

Rs and Ds “worked together” and “got things done.”

In the glow of his new-found political success, before leaving our nation’s capital for Christmas, President Barack Obama expressed his “hope heading into the New Year . . . that we can continue to heed the message of the American people.”

This raises two important questions: (a) will the President and other politicians in Washington really listen to (and follow the desires of) the voters, and (b) what is the message from the American people?

More cynical observers might suspect that the “progress” in the lame-duck session, while indeed a reaction to the election results, was intended not to abide by those results, but to take action before those results could take office with the new Congress.

Certainly, the Obama Administration and congressional Democrats were not heeding the will of the public when it came to passing an unpopular stimulus spending bill or the even more unpopular “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.” Instead, they enacted their agenda with the whopping legislative majorities they enjoyed the public be damned . . . and before any swelling voter unrest could change the political soup.

It’s difficult to see the frenzy of lame-duck session activity as not simply more of that same dynamic: Act before the public prevents such action. Only this time with a more certain and fast approaching deadline.

In fact, in calculating the receptiveness of the President to the voters’ message, I note that the election was a clear repudiation of the very agenda that the President trumpeted anew at last week’s news conference. “So I think it’s fair to say,” said the always humble Mr. Obama, “that this has been the most productive post-election period we’ve had in decades, and it comes on the heels of the most productive two years that we’ve had in generations.”


Paul Jacob

Paul Jacob is President of Citizens in Charge Foundation and Citizens in Charge. His daily Common Sense commentary appears on the Web and via e-mail.