New Orleans These days it’s simply the better course of both valor and discretion to face a new year with trepidation, especially when it comes to the national political horizon. We’re facing some bad business and constant attacks to the progressive forces with the Republicans in ascendancy both in Congress and the majority of the states in 2015. Nothing much good will probably be allowed to happen in 2016 with the presidential contest in full flower, so 2015 will set the table for better or worse.
I don’t want to start the year as a Debbie Downer though, so I’m going to look at the silver lining, and darned if it we finally can’t find it in perhaps the most unlikely place to look:the White House. After six years of half-steps and more “maybe we will,” than “yes, we can,” President Obama seems to finally have seen the butt whipping of the November mid-terms as a flashing light giving him a choice of just taking an exit off the route or going through construction and making the best of it. With one decision after another from evaluating schools differently to immigration reform to initiatives on climate change with China and opening up a different chapter in Cuba, we are starting to see the Barack Obama we had thought we were voting for in 2008. Perhaps this “hope-y” thing, as Sarah Palin called it, is finally going to work out for us.
There’s one thing we can count on. Obama has been clear that after 6 years of few vetoes, he’s ready to handle the goal line stands. On something like protecting the Affordable Care Act, Congress seems to be
conceding that they can vote to repeal, but it’s a symbolic step with no chance of overriding the veto in the Senate. With another 2 years of millions enjoying the benefit of health care, this could be hard to ever
turn back. Regardless, we will see the White House at the goal line a lot over the next two years, so remember the DEFENSE chant regardless of the season.
On the positive side certainly Obama is still a politician, so when it comes to 2016, just as we all most recently witnessed in 2014, he’s not going to take any action that imperils the chance that there will be a Democrat in the White House to protect whatever he leaves behind as a legacy or the future of other programs in the pipeline. Nonetheless, 2015 could continue to be Obama’s year of “living dangerously,” and forging new ground both domestically and internationally where he has the power of the presidency and the full resources of the White House and can prevail. That could be exciting, so it’s worth getting those kind of New Year’s resolutions to Pennsylvania Avenue as soon as you can!
There’s a chance that after six years of thinking that his silver tongued oratory would be enough to move the political markers, the President is finally ready to go all in, push the envelope, and stop asking for permission to make change.
That’s my hope for 2015.