During what normally is a slow news cycle, the New York Times published a front-page story on Christmas Eve, the importance of which may be overlooked. The story itself, “Facing New Politics, Obama Is Set to Shuffle Staff,” focuses on anticipation and speculation over upcoming organizational changes in the Obama administration. Although this is certainly important news in and of itself, what’s more important is the implied motive for the shuffling: skirting Constitutional limitations.
Let’s begin our exegesis with the story’s title: “Facing New Politics.” The midterm elections created adverse conditions for Obama’s policy goals. With a Republican majority in the House of Representatives and a slim Democrat majority in the Senate, President Obama is preparing “for the realities of divided government.” For the second half of his first term, Congress won’t be a rubber stamp. Even if Democrats can bully legislation through the Senate, passage in the House will be made quite impossible. It’s a reality that previous presidents have dealt with too. Learning from his predecessors, Obama apparently intends to do what was most recently done by George W. Bush: simply ignore Congress and find a way to do what you want anyway. Continue Reading →