Thursday, December 18, 2014

Why such a good month?

I agree with Kevin Drum. Since the Democrats lost the 2014 midterms, Obama has been doing a bunch of things I approve of. I think the prevailing wisdom is that these are things he always wanted to do, but he was afraid of the damaging his chances or his parties' chances in some upcoming election. Once the 2014 midterms were over, he didn't have to fear such damage so he could finally act on principle.

I think that is probably right. I also think it doesn't totally make sense. Obama didn't act this way after his reelection in 2012 even though he would no longer have to face the voters. The story is that he still feared that his actions could damage the Democrats chance in 2014, so he held off until after that election. By that same logic, why isn't the President worried about damaging the Democrat's chances in 2016?  He won't be in office after 2016, so he doesn't personally have to deal with the consequences of that election. But presumably he does want a Democrat to succeed him and he would also want the Democrats to take back some seats in Congress (as they are expected to do).

On the other hand, I don't have a better story to explain his behavior in the past month. Maybe he does care about 2016, it's just that he also realizes this is his last chance to do some of those things before he retires from public office, so it's now or never. Maybe that is my better story.