Monday, December 31, 2012

Countdown to 2013

++Sporting a 12% approval rating, it seems the Senate and the White House reached a deal. The deal is being lambasted by Paul Krugman, Richard Trumpka,Robert Reich,the progressive blogosphere,and New York Times.

++What does the deal say. It preserves tax cuts for those earning under $450,00 per couple,the estate tax, which Republicans want to eliminate,will be tagged to inflation,the capital gains tax goes up to 20%. The entitlement programs are untouched. The unemployment benefits will be extended. Yes, the payroll tax will have to go, which actually makes Social Security less of a target in the future.The President agreed to a two month delay on sequestration while Democrats wanted one year. 

++The New York Times tut-tutted that it did not address the long-term interests of the country. And you think something this cooked up, would?

++The fear is that this hostage taking will occur now everything there is a fiscal issue. I thought it would anyway. Republicans had to drop their insistence on never raising taxes and dealing with the estate tax and an increase in capital gains. That is not to say that the bill will pass. But if the Senate passes the bill, then if Speaker Boehner allows the bill to go to the floor and he passes with Democratic votes,the spin of obstructionism will be broken. Then the pattern for the future will be slightly changed.

++You might read Michael Tomasky piece in the Daily Beast about how this is the pattern throughout our history and that it is rare that progressive attitudes can dominate with a congressional culture determined by the South from the beginning of our nation.

++If you want to read a nice piece about people freaking out, Henry Holzer in the Daily Beast writes about the Emancipation Proclamation turning 150 tomorrow. Abraham Lincoln partied with visitors throughout January 1 while those anticipating the Emancipation Declaration believed Lincoln might actually cave on the subject. Observers got nervous. The first problem was that Lincoln had found a typo and had the proclamation returned to be printed anew. By mid-afternoon, it appeared and was approved by the President. And the partying continued and the tension got higher. The President went to his study to sign it and first brought his pen up and put it down. Then he tried again. His hands were shaking from the handshaking with well-wishers. He then massaged his hands and finally got to the point where they were steady. Then he signed it. His hesitation was because he knew this was the proclamation that made him immortal and he wanted his best signature in place. Holzer's good read reminds us that in the immortal words of Joe Biden the Emancipation was a Big F... Deal.

++So with us having gone--sort of--over the fiscal cliff and hitting the debt ceiling, remember tomorrow will be the first time since 1951 that Congress will be in session on New Year's Day. 

Happy New Year's Everybody

++The oldest democracy seems to be finishing up counting the votes from true last election. Florida's voter suppression efforts did succeed--over 50,000 people failed to vote because of the long lines and 60% of them were Democrats. But with New York State still counting, President Obama did make history by going over the 51% mark, joining Dwight Eisenhower as the President who last won back-to back elections with 51% of the popular vote. His lead now is over 5 million votes over Mitt Romney.

++Liberals and progressives who rolled this past election are now back in the Obama sold us out mold. Early comments on the Fiscal Cliff express dismay about the Presidents compromise of letting the tax cuts end for only those earning $400,000 or more and his comment that he had put forward the Chained Social Security Plan. By Monday afternoon, Obama betrayed more people by seemingly agreeing to a compromise on the estate tax allowing it to drift upwards to $6 million. Of course,the fact he got the Republicans to agree to raising any taxes is miraculous. The Chained Social Security offer, which has vanished, was linked to an extension of the debt ceiling for the rest of his term. But I suspect we will see dismay with Obama for the next 4 years. Liberals and progressives will have to then ask themselves what comes next?

++Following up on the comment by Chris Hayes about the mini-Golden Age of progressive and radical policy critiques, I recommend watching Chris Hedges' talk in Los Angeles. It is currently posted at Chris Hedges was a classmate of mine at Harvard Divinity School and did not become a Presbyterian minister like his father because he was "called" to become a free lance journalist covering El Salvador. His talk is about the history of suppressing populist and progressive movements in the United States and how we became what we are. 

++President Obama said yesterday that he would pursue gun control legislation if the people wanted it. The recent grotesque killing at Sandy Hook struck a cord with foreigners observing this country from abroad. A pro-American French philosophy and journalist  Bernard-Henri Levy wrote a lament about seeing our country engulfed in gun violence. Howard Fineman, vacationing in New Zealand, heard Kiwis lament how we can no longer govern ourselves both in fiscal matters and with gun violence. The Shining City on the Hill looks tarnished from abroad. 

++This year ends where this blog began with a country so atomized that it can not seem to grapple with the large ,real problems that it confronts. There seems to be little hope on the horizon for a "progressive"energy policy since the fossil-fuel industry has bought up Congress. The House Republican Caucus was bought up by Chevron during the last election. There is little or no hope that the subsidies to the oil companies will be sunset. Any progress in the days ahead will be on the margins.

++The United States will have to start considering the very real issue of poverty once again. It has been over a generation since poverty has made its way into our political dialogue. 

++The war on the social safety net will continue throughout Obama's second term. Virtually none of the discussion to date makes any sense or is based in reality. Expect that to continue. 

++The Republicans are likely to hold the House until 2020 or until a new Census. They are likely to be more obstructionist, not less because they only fear primary challengers from the right. The Democrats will inch upwards in 2014 but not by much.

++We have to hail Nate "The Great" Silver for his great year where he shows that being a Wonk or a Nerd is still worthwhile. Nate deserves his award as "Out" magazine man of the Year. My own special award goes to Sam Wang, who showed that a neuroscientist can know more about politics than the politicians. And Kudos to Allen Richtman for once again calling the Presidential election without even looking at poll numbers. And "kos" of the Dailykos for getting all the elections right with even a better record than Nate Silver.

++Tonight begins same sex marriages in Maryland and Maine has already started. Congratulations to all the happy couples.

++This has been a Bipolar year. You have the triumphs of Elizabeth Warren and Heidi Heitkampf to the U.S. Senate,the election of the most diverse class of Democratic representatives and Barack Obama's smashing victory. But we have seen a rash of mass murders, even extending beyond Sandy Hook, and the devastation of my homeland, the Jersey Shore, with Hurricane Sandy. We have seen the worst drought since the Dust Bowl days in the Midwest and the South. Abroad we have seen the slaughter of the Syrian people, the destruction of Timbukutu, and the reversion to repression in Egypt.

++My hope for the coming year is that this will not become the new normal-environmental destruction,massive human rights violations, and an economy that goes into recession because of our political dysfunction.

++A healthy New Year to all. Prosperity if you can get it.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

What to Expect in the Year of the Dragon

++Chris Hayes rejoices in the "mini-golden age of radical criticism and polemics". I happen to agree with him. The revival of what in former days would be leftist criticism and political thought has been invigorating.

++The opposite is very depressing--the total collapse of a very wealthy but morally and intellectually bankrupt Right. 

++The difference is that the Right can retain its fading power to blackmail and to obstruct. The Left may be revived intellectually but it has not managed to find a way to influence policy.

++The main winners of this year are gays, who have won marriage rights in more states, the Latinos, who broke their past lethargy and voted in huge numbers, and the African Americans, who voted at a higher rate than whites for the first time in history. Women fought back but the war on women escalated after the election with Michigan passing more restrictions on abortion clinics. 

++For one group of winners--the Latinos--this coming year could see all not-so comprehensive but better law on immigration reform. The reason is that Republicans are desperate to win favor with Latinos.

++While the President has come forward for sensible gun control, the NRA and their corporate masters will thwart all moves in this direction. The Newtown event just pushed the Right closer to fascism with calls of arming teachers and schools.

++When I started this blog, I said that President Obama might be our last democratically elected President. I stand by that. We escaped the bullet twice now but already measures are being taken to prevent 2012 every occurring again through new voter suppression measures only days after the votes were counted.

++We may see 2013 usher in a Republican caused recession again because of their fooling around with the Fiscal Cliff and the debt ceiling. This is a sign that Republicans have not become radicals but nihilists. Since the GOP campaigned on American exceptionalism,with their loss they are into hyper-declinism of the United States and seem committed to  a self-fulfilling prophecy.

++What can we see abroad?
I think Hugo Chavez will pass from the scene.
I think you will see Assad in Syria vacate to Russia.
I think you will see Fidel pass by the end of Obama's second term.
I think you will see President Obiang Nguema of Equatorial Guinea step aside for his son Theodorin.
I think you will see a rash of terrorism through the Gulf states.
I think Mookie al-Sadar will make a move in Iraq when Iran has lost influence in Syria. 
I think the Arab Spring will start morphing into more repressive regimes and other more liberal regimes. The transition from dictatorship to more open societies will experience more setbacks.
I think you will see more American military actions in Mali and the larger areas around.
I think you will see efforts of unrest in Algeria since they are to have presidential elections this year.

++War with Iran?
Today,I don't think there will be war either by Israel or the United States. But remember you and I will have absolutely no say in the matter.
Iran will have a desultory election this coming month, which will be slightly better than other Middle Eastern states recently. It will not affect the real powers in the country--the Supreme Leader and the Revolutionary Guard. But it will buy them time. The economic sanctions are crippling the economy and you may actually have some type of a negotiated deal. A negotiated deal with Tehran will provoke a backlash by Republicans in the United States.

++President Obama has only two years for any effective action on the domestic front before the by-elections. And remember this is the time that openings on the Supreme Court should occur. If the Democrats can reform the filibuster rules in the Senate, we are likely to see a rush of Obama appointees finally make it to the court. 

++The time of the inauguration should let Obama define for himself what the next issues of the second term will be. It should give him a temporary lift and evaporate the rancor and toxic atmosphere that has enveloped the country after the election.

++Same Sex marriage at SCOTUS. Here I am for a half full set of decisions. I have to expect after two Reagan appointed judges ruled DOMA unconstitutional that the right-wing court would have to lean that way. On Prop 8, the California decision, I expect a more ambiguous decision. The questions the Court has asked is who has stature to arguing the case in California? The state refused to defend the law and only NOM argued it. I expect the Court might just toss it back or at least make a very specific ruling that  only pertains to California.

++As I have written, the FIRE economy is dead and is unlikely to revive much. The problem that now exists is a total lack of trust in Wall Street, the banks, our political system and our institutions as a whole. This is a very dangerous situation. If the economy can not break out because of political gridlock, we may face another decade of slow growth and not make the policy decisions to move to a new economy.

++This coming year I will start posting more reviews of the books I have read. January is a book bonanza month including a new Ian Rankin. For my piece of mine, I am reading all of D.T.Suzuki on Zen Buddhism.

++As we head into the Year of the Dragon,let's take note that the current Congress is the less productive in American history--no mean feat. It is several times worse than Harry Truman's "Do Nothing Congress."

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Holiday Spectacle

++This past week we saw the incredible conservative crackup in living color. Remember when President Obama told his donors that after the election the Republican fever would break? Or David Brooks writing in the New York Times that the Republicans after the election beating were in detox? I guess none of it was true.

++Andrew Sullivan captured the mayhem of the meltdown in the House over Plan B and the stony silence of conservatives on the gun deaths at Sandy Hook elementary school. In a rant that when viral and is worth reading "Enough,Republicans!" Andrew Sullivan,  former conservative and Republican, went on a tirade that wrapped the GOP in its present madness. I had thought Andrew's tantrum after Obama "lost" the first debate was a bit over the top. But in retrospect he had an acute instinct about what the country would face if Obama lost. This blast at Republicans and their total inability to warrant consideration in governing is a classic.

++David Frum reappeared after the election suggesting ways the Republican party could widen its base after President Obama swept the boards with Latinos,African Americans, the young and single women. After the House rejection of Boehner's Plan B, a gimmick to embarrass President Obama, and the horror story of a press conference by Wayne La Pierre, David Frum was reduced to twittering like crazy about the collapse of conservatism and the lunacy of the NRA.

++President Obama moved quickly on the issue of taking sensible steps toward controlling semi-automatic weapons and large clips. Appointing Joe Biden in charge, someone who engineered the first assault weapon ban in the 1990s,this was a practical policy step that mark normal governments. But the faux outrage by conservatives and then the NRA shows how polarized the society has become. 

++One of the most remarkable quotes that surfaced this week was Wayne La Pierre's remark after Obama won re-election:"I've lost more than all the losses in all our wars combined." Incredible because Wayne has never fought in a war. Another remarkable document surfaced--the resignation letter of President George H.W. Bush from the NRA in 1995 when Wayne as executive director criticized federal agents involved in tracking down gun freaks responsible for random killings.

++Back to Plan B. The kabuki theater played by John Boehner came to a halt on Friday when after assuring the country he had the votes his plan came screeching to a halt and had to be postponed when it was clear the Republican caucus won't vote for it. The Club of Growth,Americans for Prosperity opposed it and Grover Norquist reversed his position to eventually oppose it. The utter incompetence of the House Republicans was staggering. The whole purpose of stopping the vote was because Republicans don't want to be seen as raising taxes, even on those earning over $1 million. As a consequence,it is likely that the Fiscal Cliff will happen and everyone's taxes will go up. In their fantasy, they believe the public will blame Barack Obama, who will begin his second term with more political clout in some time.

++To give some perspective, Nancy Pelosi never lost a vote and never was off on a vote count. John Boehner was lost several votes and has not been able to manage his own caucus. His record is staggering.

++Republican pundits are now realizing that President Obama basically can pass any bill he wants after the Fiscal Cliff because Republicans will look like they are cutting taxes. All this with a severe contraction of the economy ,which may mean we lose 3.5% of the GDP-- compared to 8% GDP when the full recession hit in the last quarter of 2008. 

++I have received volumes of e-mails from conservatives who are simply repeating the talking points from the Romney campaign. Too bad, guys, you lost. But the difference is that the tone is getting shriller and angrier. 

++With President Obama's speech at Newtown and his remarks about controlling gun violence,I fear he has ignited again the smoldering anger and hate in white conservative America. I deeply fear a serious attempt on our President's life. Already threats against him have reached historic heights. But the rhetoric coming from armed white folks is getting incoherent and shrill.

++If Republicans have lost their tax mantle, the neocons are going ballistic because of the potential nomination of Chuck Hagel as SecDef. In his career in the Senate, he opposed like many sane Americans Israel's settlements and as an act of heresy he voted against sanctions against Iran. The neo-cons and the Right are now out for a scalp by claiming former Senator Hagel is anti-semitic, which provoked a defense of him from the local rabbi in his state. But after McCain and Lindsey Graham forced the issue on Susan Rice and made her step down from consideration for Secretary of State, the neo-cons feel there is blood in the water. Hagel is the President of the Atlantic Council, an organization that fosters transatlantic understanding and is devoted to NATO.

++Not to be outdone this week, the Koch Brothers and the Club of Growth and Americans for Prosperity came out against any federal aid for Hurricane Sandy victims. The Administration has submitted a request for $70 million while the House countered with $20 million. The amazing intervention by the Koch Brothers and front groups was triggered by their strange belief that Chris Christie by appearing with President Obama and commending his role gave Obama the election. So they want revenge. 

++David Koch made a startling statement that people who have second homes on the shore do not need federal help. Let's ignore everyone else in the New York, New Jersey area. This out-to-lunch evasion of reality permeated every issue the whole week.

++Unbelieveably the House Republicans now want to play games with the debt ceiling. I received one e-mail that this was the only way they could get Obama to stop his runaway spending,which is rather modest actually. Lost in translation is that the debt ceiling is about your commitment to pay already existing debt. The last time we played this game the bond agencies downgraded America's creditworthiness. I also received another e-mail saying that this would not affect the sales of bonds. Last time the stunt cost the US government $30 billion. President Obama has to simply invoke the 14th amendment and break the back of this obstructionism. Do yourself a service and read Andrew Sullivan on this nuttery coming from Republicans.

++Torture resurfaced this week with the reviews of the new film about killing Osama bin Laden. Senator McCain and the CIA head criticized the film for inaccuracy when it portrayed torture as a key element in discovering bin Laden. The European Court awarded millions to a German and a Canadian who has been tortured by Americans. The Senate concluded its study of the subject but did not release to the public its 6,000-page study. It should.

++Progressives had heart attacks because President Obama got into one of his negotiating fits with John Boehner and caved on some critical points--raising the $250,000 to $400,000,agreeing to a chain SSI, which would mean less benefits to seniors in outyears. Clearly he ended the week as someone appearing reasonable but Boehner simply could not agree to the compromise, which would have reduced the debt by 2-4 trillion dollars. I hope this is not the tone for the next four years. Dealing with people who refuse to compromise despite getting their head handed to them in the election. 

++Lost in the mayhem was John Kerry's day. John Kerry was nominated to follow Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State. Kerry had served as a back channel communication with the Middle East for President Obama and earned his spurs by playing Mitt Romney for the debate prep during the campaign. By all accounts, Kerry is a superb choice.

++President Obama is off to Hawaii, a trip that has generated more criticism from the Right. The latest claim is that he is vacationing and consorting with an old friend who was once arrested for soliciting a prostitute. It will be a wonder when a conservative actually says anything nice about the President. A birthed suit was thrown out this past week in Florida but Republicans want to file a new one.

++So you want your message to reach a wider audience. This was not a week Republicans should show case to appeal to any normal human beings. If this is what we can look forward to, we are in very serious trouble as a country.

++Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and a very Happy Year of the Dragon. In a year that saw President Obama's re-election and an incredible array of new elected officials, it was ended in tragedy, sorrow and just plain horrible things. I hope the past weeks got everything out of the system.

Monday, December 17, 2012

After The Massacre Of Innocents at Newtown

++Normally I would pontificate about the killings of 6 and 7 year old children. President Obama did a superb job of that yesterday with his speech at the prayer vigil for the children and the adults who tried to protect them. It should be mentioned he never used the word "gun". He didn't have to.

++ The incident comes on the heels of a rash of such incidents over the last few years. I sense that there has been a mood change in the country with this obscenity. Politicians are now speaking up for gun restrictions in the face of the NRA's lobbying efforts. The NRA has been silent during this time and the 31 pro-gun Senators would not appear on Face The Nation this past Sunday. The pro-gun forces are in retreat for the first time in decades.

++We can play amateur shrink and reflect on our own culture about where this disease comes from and how to combat it. It is too complex to boil down to a few simple things but a few simple things in the area of gun restrictions can make a difference.

++Since Friday I have attempted to put my thoughts in order but I can't. I leave you with Emily Dickinson's beautiful lines:

"Unable are the loved to die.
    For love is immortality."

Wednesday, December 12, 2012


++If you are reading this,the world may have ended.

++If it hasn't. then the next date in 12-21-12. It depends on how you read the Mayan calendar.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Nuts is the New Normal

++Michigan just passed Right To Work Laws in the heart where the UAW was founded. Governor Snyder thought he would just get this done with once and for all. Thousands are protesting. And Snyder was warned that this will spark a state-wide fight that will last years. Observers felt that this was a Koch Brothers inspired act because of their cosmic failure at the national level. The rush was because next year the Republicans would not have the votes.

++While David Brooks says that the GOP has de-toxed after the November election, last week they blocked passage of the UN Treaty on Disabled People. The UN treaty was modeled after the George H.W. Bush American Disabilities Act. A slam dunk. Former vice presidential and presidential candidate Bob Dole attended as Republican Senators walked passed him to vote against the Treaty. The treaty failed by only a few votes. Harry Reid pledged to bring the treaty up at the next Senate.

++President Obama raised the issue of taking away the debt ceiling from the political debate. Mitch McConnell misrepresenting what the debt ceiling put forward a bill that would give the President authority ,believing the Democrats would oppose. When Harry Reid said he would ask for a straight up and down vote in a couple hours McConnell did the unthinkable,filibuster his own bill so it would not come up for a vote. I have seen this before when a bill has amendments attached to it but never a clean bill.

++I wish President Obama would invoke the 14th amendment when the debt ceiling comes up next year. Last year's fracas cost the economy billions and was the only time in our history that the debt ceiling was ever polarized. 

++I also hope Harry Reid produces on filibuster reform because the filibuster was supposed to be used only on issues of overwhelming national interest and not on every issue. 

++Tan Man Boehner is back from his discussions with President Obama on the Fiscal Cliff and briefed the House that there has been no progress. Poll after Poll shows that the public will blame the House Republicans if their taxes will go up. 

++Republicans are marching forward with more Voter ID laws in Alaska and Wisconsin. Republican operatives from the last campaign have admitted that voter suppression, long lines and ID laws benefit them. So much for democracy.

++Dick Morris surfaced after his humiliation of predicting a Romney landslide. He claims Romney lost because whites didn't vote in sufficient numbers.

++The Catholic Bishops are at it again--urging Catholics during this holiday season to protect their heritage from President Obama assault on the freedom of religion. Oh,by the way, I received my Christmas card from the President. Such a Grinch.

++Gays are marrying in Washington State. Dan Savage got married again to his partner, having married in Canada. The presiding judge was Mary Yuu--not joking.

++Meant to write about the Supreme Court accepting two same sex marriage cases--Prop.8 and DOMA. The latter case involved Edie Windsor who was married to her partner of over 40 years and found out on the death of her partner that she owed over $300,000 in federal estate taxes because she was not thought of as the legitimate spouse. George Will opined on Face the Nation that this case was a no-brainer and even Mary Matalin agreed that for those living in the real world same sex marriage was a done deal. The reason I have not written about this is dread and fore boding. Ted Olson's brilliant case on Prop.8 is a slam dunk in the world of rational law. But nothing can be assumed with a Court that made the Citizens United ruling. We still has the attitudes of Tony Scalia, who again defended his homophobia during a book tour at Princeton.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Back From a Break

The count continues. The United States still has not completed counting the votes of the presidential election. New York continues today and there is the expectation that President Obama will finally reach 51%. 

When this happens President Obama will be the first President since Dwight David Eisenhower to win back to back elections with 51% or above. Sounds strange. President Obama is also the first Democrat since FDR to win Florida in two straight elections. 

So what about this election don't you understand? Apparently if you live within the Beltway, a lot. The tone in DC since the election has been creepy. The fiscal cliff nonsense seems to have absorbed the pundits' attention but not the public imagination. 

I just hope President Obama this year invokes the 14th amendment as President Clinton suggested last time the debt ceiling debate heated up. It's time Obama breaks the back of the House. Even on House elections, the Democrats got over 50% of the popular vote but because of the gerrymandering only gained eight seats.

For some reason we are seeing Grover Norquist all over the place as the arbiter of tax policy. I hope we are seeing his last hurrah. He vows that the second Tea Bag rebellion will be more intense than the last. What is it with these conservatives that they can not persuade but have to threaten? 

Peggy Nooner wants President Obama to act more like Reagan and compromise with Tan Man Boehner like Ronny did with Tip O'Neil. I shutter to think we will have to hear four more years of this nonsense.

For the second consecutive year, the right is blasting Obama for being too Christian and having 45 Christmas trees in the White House while the country is starving. But never fear, USAID grantee, Rev. Warren says that Obama is waging a war against religion. The Daily Beast actually had a piece about Rev. Warren's comeback. Tony Cardinal Dolan has written a new post-election Bishop's letter calling on Catholics to resist Obama's new attack on Catholic institutions by insisting insurance companies must cover condoms. But at least he hasn't gone down the road of the evangelicals that claim that not using oil and natural gas is an insult to God because he hid these treasures in the ground for us to find.

Sheldon Adelson lost $150 million in his efforts to buy the election by supporting Romney. 

Willard has been re-appointed to the Marriot board. At least they acknowledged his first initial was W. 

Newly elected Senator Elizabeth Warren has won a seat on the banking committee. The industry has been lobbying intensely against her since she won.

In case you can't understand what the Benghazi tantrum is about. Rachel Maddow nailed it. McCain, Ms. Lindsey Graham and Ms. Ayotte want John Kerry to become Secretary of State so that Scott Brown can make a comeback. 

Things are so dull I expect Fox News to hire Baghdad Bob to juice ratings.

After the first days of the talk that the GOP will change,it is apparent that there will be no changes in the near term. Their 2016 wannabes are traveling to pay homage to Sheldon Adelson and the Koch Brothers. I guess Dick Armey had enough and resigned from Freedom Works. The Koch brothers' Americans for Prosperity are now lobbying against Tan Man Boehner's alleged compromise on the Fiscal Cliff. It is a great thing about ideologues--an election defeat is just a temporary setback. No need to adjust to the new political reality.

There is one basic reality we can all be thankful for. The Neo-Cons are no more. They may be talking heads and appear on Sunday Talk Shows but they have no influence left on our debates. Maybe they will make a comeback if catastrophe hits or around 2016. But by then they will be either too old or just be the younger amateurs. No more Dan Señor, No more Ari Fleischer,No more Dick Cheney, no more advocates for torture and endless war. This is a real sea change in our politics. Neo-conservative domination of our national security policies trace back to the Clinton Administration or perhaps George H.W. Bush. But it is doubtful you will see a resurgence anytime soon. This should bring a period of fresh imaginations on topics of foreign policy. 

I hope we see immigration reform this term and President Obama not be so accommodating to the obstructionists. It is important that the filibuster nonsense be reformed. President Obama can still do a lot as executive but it would be nice to see old legislative actions come back. 

The Reaction is already planning 2014. Voter suppression efforts are already underway. Voter I.D. laws are now being prepared for additional states. 

So President Obama will have two more years before there will be a concerted effort to make him a lame duck.