In the days following the 2014 midterms, even liberals in the political media were sticking a giant fork in President Obama, declaring that his era was over, and that he was a lame duck.
This week, though, that same President Obama continued a post-midterm, post-mortem string of victories that would make Lazarus curl up in a ball. It’s like a Walking Dead episode, in reverse.
At the beginning of the week, everyone was wondering how the House of Representatives would work its way out of the showdown it provoked with the President over funding the Department of Homeland Security. On Monday night, Thom Hartmann and I talked about the Republicans’ attempt to tie DHS funding to the President’s immigration actions, and while I predicted that the House would have to pass a clean bill at some point, there was something Hartmann said that now seems particularly resonant in hindsight:
“For six years, they have been successfully doing this, to a large extent, outside of that little 72-day window when Obama had a filibuster-proof Senate.”
Little did Thom and I know that Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) and 74 of his Republican colleagues would be bailed out by Democrats within 18 hours of our talk, and pass a clean DHS funding bill by a 257-167 margin:
Insert sad trombone here.
Boehner was wise to hold this humiliating vote in the middle of Tuesday’s Netanyahu-nado, which, itself, has the makings of another Obama victory, but nothing can hide the fact that President Obama has been kicking ass and taking names ever since he rolled back the stone on his midterm tomb.
As promised, he took executive action on immigration, which is tied up in federal court right now, but which set the stage for this week’s resounding victory. He secured a major climate change agreement with China, personally and repeatedlyquashed legislation to approve the Keystone XL pipeline, scared Republicans away from voting on another Legitimate Rape anti-abortion rights bill, won the Cold War, saved the entire economy, encheapened gas prices, and now, he has defeated the Republicans on the singular issue that they ran on. There’s a case to be made that Walking Dead Obama is even more effective than the Obama who had a supermajority for 72 days. That’s one way to look at it, but if you’re a glass half-empty type, you could wonder where was this Obama during the intervening years between that short filibuster-proof majority and his current resurrection.
So far, President Obama appears to be the clear winner in his showdown with Benjamin Netanyahu and, more to the point, John Boehner over politicizing the U.S./Israel relationship, and with the deadline for a deal looming within a few weeks, this could become another pillar of the Obama legacy. If a nuclear deal with Iran is reached, and is well-received, it will be perhaps the biggest victory for this Dead President Walking.