Video: Has Obama Given Up on Democrats' 2014 Chances?

Posted: Jan 28, 2014 1:42 PM

Much ink has been spilt previewing President Obama's State of the Union Address, which he'll deliver in the House of Representatives chamber later this evening. (Follow the previous link for a fun Obama/Nixon mind meld). Obama will echo a theme for which his communications team has been laying the groundwork: "Do what I want or be ignored," as Katie put it. Where the "Republican Congress" -- as his underlings have deceptively called it for years -- fails to act, Obama will use the tools available to him, and some that aren't, to impose his will anyway. Liberals, who for years caterwauled about Bush's "imperial presidency" will no doubt give Obama's vow a standing ovation. Despite all of the buzz, this president has been acting unilaterally for years. His EPA has imposed job-killing emissions standards that couldn't pass Congress when Democrats controlled everything. His HHS has re-written Obamacare several times, likely in violation of the law. He's ignored his own lawyers on the War Powers Act vis-a-vis Libya. He's declared the Senate "in recess" to thwart an obstruction technique pioneered by Democrats during the Bush years (which SCOTUS appears poised to rectify). He's used an executive action to implement by fiat an immigration policy, even though he'd previously ruled out that very approach due to its illegality. He moved to waive several provisions of the Welfare Reform law, despite the clear text of the statute. The list goes on and on. That the White House is explicitly elevating its series power grabs to official, State of the Union-worthy policy is pretty provocative. It's also an implicit admission that they're throwing in the towel on Democrats' chances in the midterm elections:

If Team Obama thought they had a decent shot at regaining control of both houses of Congress, O could bide his time, stump for Congressional candidates, then await the Pelosi rubber stamp. But Obama's political team must have already concluded that the House won't switch hands and that the Senate could get dicey, too. So unilateral action it is. Recent polling provides contradictory clues as to how Obama's latest gambit will play politically. A WaPo survey suggests that most voters aren't terribly bothered by the general idea of the president doing what he can to work around an unhelpful Congress:

On the other hand, the public isn't too keen on Obama's agenda or decision-making, opposing each by 62 and 63 percent respectively, in two separate polls