Freed from the shackles of political considerations and no longer under the illusion that the Republicans in Congress will lift a finger to help him solve the nation’s problems, a new Barrack Obama is harnessing the full power of the Presidency and has proved that he is determined do what he can on his own. Fed up with a dysfunctional Congress he came out swinging after the mid term elections. The Democrats may have lost the Senate, but President Obama still retains the most powerful position in this country and he is proving that the Presidency is much more than just a bully pulpit.
For almost a year the House Republican refused to bring to a vote a comprehensive immigration bill passed by the Senate with bipartisan support. Though the House Republican leadership knew it was in the best interest of their Party to pass their own version of the bill, they allowed themselves to be pressured into inaction by far right elements of their caucus. Tired of their foot dragging the President used his executive powers address the problem.
President Obama ordered the Department of Homeland Security to shift the organization’s priorities to put emphasis on boosting border security and deporting felons rather than deporting illegal immigrants with families in this country. In the process he shielded over five million people from deportation and will provide work permits to many. Regardless of Republican claims to the contrary, it is perfectly within the power of the Chief Executive to set priorities for how the limited government resources he controls will be used to enforce the nation’s laws. The Republicans are outraged, but except for filling a meaningless law suit there is nothing they can do about it. They had their chance and should know that they have no one to blame but themselves.
Then with the Republicans still reeling from his immigration order, the President announced the normalization of diplomatic relations and travel restrictions with Cuba. After over a year of secret negotiations between the Obama administration and the Cuban leadership facilitated by Canada and the Vatican, agreement was reached. Prisoners accused of spying were exchanged and the Cuban government released scores of political prisoners.
After five decades the cold war between the US and Cuba at last came to an end. Again the Republicans, especially those of Cuban decent, sent up a howl, but again there was nothing they could do about it. In this country decisions on foreign relations are strictly the prerogative of the executive branch of the government. Of course only Congress can vote to lift the trade embargo, but I believe that with the interchange of US and Cuban citizens, relations will improve and the lifting of the embargo will just be a matter of time.
Is he done; I don’t think so. I believe Barrack Obama is not content to be a traditional lame duck President. Held back by the Republicans in Congress and political considerations for six years, I think that we can expect more of the same from President Obama.
The only question is what will he do next – I am sure that he believes that country has plenty of other problems which desperately need solving. Will he move to further encourage the development of renewable power sources and the reduction of green house emissions? Will his administration move to address the gulf of mistrust between the nation’s police forces and minority populations? As more states approve the use of medical and recreational marijuana, will he move to officially call off the government’s ill considered war on that drug, at least in the states where it has been legalized? Or, like the Cuban declaration, will it be something out of the blue? I don’t know what President Obama is planning to do next, but I can feel it coming.