This is When President Obama is Going to be President Tough

Thu Nov 06, 2014 12:08:01PM

President Obama speaking to the military at the U.S. Naval Air Station in JacksonvilleBy: U.S. Navy
Now is the time for President Obama to get tough with Republicans. Many people may look at the midterm election results and think that Republicans now have the upper hand, but I would beg to differ. The President of the United States still has a lot of tools at his disposal and Democrats need to stand with him and insist he use them to ensure Republicans aren't able to drive the debate these next two years. If we stand together with the President then what happened on Tuesday will just be a blip on the radar when we look back on his Administration years from now.

The first couple of things we must address is what powers the new Republican Congress will have when they are sworn in next January. They will now have the same subpoena powers the House of Representatives has had since taking over the chamber in early 2011. Senate Republicans will be able to determine the types of hearing they want to hold and investigations they want to conduct. They will make a big show of parading Obama Administration officials before the cameras and we will witness the same dog and pony show we've been watching in the House for the past few years. I foresee a couple manufactured 'scandals' sprinkled in here and there, but nothing of substance will come from any of it. It'll be good political theater, but that's about it.

Republicans will also be able to drive the legislative agenda for these next two years. They will get to choose what their priorities are and what bills they want to vote on. These bills will easily pass the House and will likely die in the Senate because the Republicans will not have enough votes to overcome the filibuster, the delaying tactic they have used throughout these past six years to block many of President Obama's priorities. Now the Democrats will be able to block any legislation they think is too partisan, turning the tactic Republicans have mastered against them.

The only exception is when we a budgetary item is under consideration. That only takes a simple majority and should easily pass both chambers of Congress and land on President Obama's desk. This is when we will have to stand behind the President and make sure he sticks to his principles by vetoing any and all legislation that was pushed through with no Democratic help. The veto pen is a powerful tool that will force Congressional Republicans to work with the President or nothing will be accomplished this upcoming Congress.

President Obama also has the Bully Pulpit for the next two years. He may not have the Senate anymore, but cameras are there anytime he wants to speak. He will have the platform to lay out his vision and contrast it with that of Congressional Republicans. I also foresee the President highlighting the differences between the radical Tea Party agenda of Ted Cruz and the more moderate wing of the Republican Party who at least claims they want to try to govern. We will likely see a fight for the heart and soul of the Republican Party. Will they push a radical agenda that has no chance of ever passing or work with the President on legislation that can actually get his signature? Only time will tell.
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Your thoughts mirror those recently published by The Nation. Here's a partial summary:

On election night, Nation editor and publisher Katrina vanden Heuvel challenged President Obama to “draw the line in the sand this week. ”As soon as the results were clear, she posted this piece: “The Democrats Lost Big Tonight. Why Obama Should Double Down.”

“President Obama should embrace good progressive public policy while expecting—indeed, hoping for—a massive outcry from the wing-nut section of the GOP,” vanden Heuvel wrote.

Among her prescriptions were to “act big—and act fast”: start with serious immigration reform; go up to the edge of normalizing relations with Cuba; cancel the Keystone XL pipeline; nominate a diverse set of progressives to fill every judicial vacancy at every level; nominate Tom Harkin to the Federal Reserve Board; and embrace a good jobs initiative.