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OUR VIEW: With an eye on history, Obama opts to go it alone

executive action new tactic on stalled second-term agenda

Published: January 30, 2014 4:00 AM

Frustrated by his inability to get Congress to implement his agenda, President Barack Obama has opted for a go-it-alone strategy, vowing to use his executive powers "whenever and wherever" necessary to enact his program.

Obama's State of the Union address was long on populist rhetoric -- "Give America a raise" -- that drew cheers from Democrats while Republicans sat stone-faced. While it may have energized his base, it did nothing to move those arrayed against him. His pledge to opt for unilateral action underscores the polarization that has effectively paralyzed his presidency just one year into his second term.

The president vowed to use executive orders to increase the minimum wage for federal contract workers -- which is a far cry from raising the minimum wage for all workers, which takes congressional action -- and make it easier for millions of low-income people to save for retirement, which seems innocuous.

"America does not stand still, and neither will I," Obama vowed. Bypassing Congress and opting for action with the stroke of a pen may be an alternative to partisan gridlock, but executive action won't accomplish many of the larger goals on the president's second-term agenda, such as immigration reform. That will take cooperation and compromise with Republicans, who appear to be in no mood for any give-and-take with the president.

Coming off a lost year -- 2013 saw virtually no progress on any of the major items on Obama's agenda -- and heading into an election year that will determine the makeup of Congress for the rest of his term, the president has opted for a strategy that apparently writes off attempts at compromise in favor of executive action and taking his case directly to the people. That's a gamble, and Obama may be banking on political capital that he lacks.

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The change in tactics also sends a signal that the White House realizes that it has failed on its promises to bring change to Washington and that even with a solid second-term win in 2012, the president's agenda remains stymied on Capitol Hill.

Vice President Joe Biden said Wednesday on "CBS This Morning," "We're just not going to sit around and wait for the Congress if they choose not to act."

As Barack Obama heads into the final quarter of his Presidency, with an eye on his place in history, much of his agenda remains unrealized. Whether going it alone will change that remains to be seen.

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TaggR Jan 31, 2014 5:03 PM

Little whiner insinuating I hate the world. Oh the irony of it all. 
Just think, come 2016, the whiner will start another 8 year cycle of his constant whining and complaining about everything around him. And **** blame it all on those progressives. 

little_r_republican Jan 31, 2014 10:08 AM

Heard today about progressives...tggr: Progressives hate the world becasue it is not perfect for them. Progressives have a self loathing that they cannot satisfy. Hence they spew hate and venom everywhere. No opinion without vulgar language or insults. Even when they are rich and powerful they can't satisfy that self loathing feeling. Hence you have people like george soros who spend $40 million a year to spread more hate via groups like media matters.

redleg6 Jan 30, 2014 8:54 PM

Why such venom?

Can't Handel the TRUTH???

childofgod Jan 30, 2014 8:50 PM

There goes taggr again! Can't think anything through, so just call people names. Real smart taggr.

TaggR Jan 30, 2014 7:59 PM

redlegs6, little_r_republican, ian_maserb all the same jerk!

Ian_Maserb Jan 30, 2014 6:53 PM

Don't worry, the sheeple will elect Hildebeaste to turn all America into one huge Benghazi.

redleg6 Jan 30, 2014 4:59 PM

I was fine before the Unaffordable Care Act aka..Obamacare Act aka..Democare Act aka..Obamadoesn'tcare Act.

No matter what you call it, It doesn't work, and the American people don't want it.

Obama's/Dems liberal agenda/policies are what the people don't want.

What has been accomplished? Obama didn't have much to say at the State of the Union address last night.



stanback Jan 30, 2014 4:37 PM

No president has accomplished so much with so little cooperation from the opposite party. A party whose strategy from the start was to vote against anything the President tried to do no matter what it meant for the American people. It is a miracle the economy is as strong as it is now. We will see in the coming Congressional election and the next Presidential election how that strategy plays out for Republican Party.


@redleg, with the Affordable Care Act, at least you will be able to get that "Black Eye" taken care of.

redleg6 Jan 30, 2014 4:15 PM

As Barack Obama heads into the final quarter of his Presidency, with an eye on his place in history, much of his agenda remains unrealized.....

The EYE on his place in history, is, and will be, a "Black Eye" for Uncle Sam, and his citizens.

No pun intended...

little_r_republican Jan 30, 2014 9:30 AM

But he does read a teleprompter well!

Just as obnoxious is the timid republicans not taking the lead and offering bold options to lead us out of this miserable mess. Some conservatives are offering viable alternatives, yet they too are denegrated by the establishment republican wing of the democrat party.

All of Congress ignors what the majority of Americans want. Instead they ponder how to make illegal invaders legal which is far down the lsit in any poll. Congress could open public lands for oil and gas exploration and thus create economic booms like North Dakota and Midlan Texas all across the US. People would have 6 figure income jobs, pay hugh taxes and get the US off buing foreign oil with money borrowed from the Chinese and given to countries that hate US.