The Moment Obama Lost the Senate?
Posted on June 4, 2014
Originally posted in WSJ
The pen and the phone were the first clues that the president had already given up on his Senate majority.
When Barack Obama told his Cabinet in January that he was going to sign executive orders and call upon outside interest groups to achieve the rest of his agenda, he basically threw in the towel on the legislative branch.
The Senate has mostly been preoccupied with confirming presidential appointees to the judicial and executive branches.
Senators haven’t done any serious legislating that would capture the hearts or imagination of the voting public. Efforts to raise the minimum wage have been half-hearted at best.
The latest example: The EPA climate regulations aimed at the coal industry but hitting almost all parts of the energy sector.
These regulations are likely to make almost impossible for Alison Lundergan Grimes to beat Mitch McConnell in Kentucky, and they deal a serious blow to the prospects of red-state Democrats Mary Landrieu, Kay Hagan, Mark Begich and Mark Pryor.
The president faced a choice at the beginning of the year: Do all that he could to secure the Democratic majority in the Senate, or try to get as much of his agenda accomplished before the Republican hordes descend on Washington.
He appears to have decided that the Senate majority was expendable.