This week brought reports that President Obama will soon take executive action to prevent the deportation of millions of undocumented immigrants. The news sparked howls of protests from Republicans, with Speaker John Boehner on Thursday refusing to rule out shutting down the government in retaliation. "This is the wrong way to govern," he said. So in order to prevent the president from exercising the power of government, the right "way to govern" is, apparently, to prevent all government from working. Perhaps when Philae is done probing Comet 67P, it can land on a place even more inhospitable to humans -- the U.S. Congress -- and make sense out of that dormant, non-celestial body. Meanwhile, New York Mayor De Blasio announced that those caught with small amounts of marijuana would be given tickets instead of being arrested. It's a welcome, if belated, step -- but even better would be ending the racial disparities in drug enforcement. That's the real ticket.
Obama shouldn't "poison the well"? Really?
Many are now pointing out that Warren's elevation pretty much assures she won't be running for president in 2016, but then we never really believed she would run in the first place. At this point, she'll be much more effective within the Senate Democrats.
Speaker Pelosi was able to pass meaningful legislation despite an ideologically diverse cause because she made sure that her members understood that even though they might disagree on many things, their job was ultimately to negotiate a compromise and take action to improve the lives of ordinary Americans.
The important lesson from all of this is that leaders in Washington shouldn't start believing their own press releases. Go ahead and claim voters endorsed everything you stand for, but don't start acting like it's true. The American people did not suddenly decide they don't care about clean air, clean water, and a healthy climate.
Obama needs to strongly show that no election instantly changes what the two parties believe, and that all this talk of waving red flags cuts both ways.
What is the TPP? A giant trade agreement between the U.S. and 12 Pacific Rim nations now being negotiated in secret. Well, mostly in secret. Around 600 corporations have seen a draft. Yet Congress and the public still have not.
By starting off on the negative and accusatory foot, you aren't earning any points, except by those waiting at the castle gates with their pitchforks, and in doing so, you are poisoning the well of conciliation and progress.
Even as Republicans bask in victory and Democrats try to recover from shell-shock, the greater implications of this election are starting to crystallize. It's early, but three lessons particularly stand out.
Now the Democrats have been rebuked. The people are not happy, and understandably so. But what has made the people unhappy is mostly the result of deliberate Republican choices to sabotage our political process.
Republicans in Congress just won a smashing electoral success by essentially doing nothing but mercilessly block Obama's agenda. That, to put it another way, is a winning formula for them with their base voters.
This pro-polluter agenda is not what the majority of Americans want. Poll after poll shows strong support for environmental protection. Yet incoming Senator Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker John Boehner ignore these views.
Hating Obama should not be an effective political organizing strategy, but is indeed in the absence of any effective Democratic backbone to counter right-wing absurdities. Democrats deserve their losses; they ceded the battle before it began.
Republican control in both houses of Congress might not actually be the worst thing for the Obama administration. It might actually be to Obama's advantage on two key issues -- trade and immigration.
To those Democrats who don't think this election is important enough for them to exercise their precious right to vote, especially African Americans, Latinos, the young, and women, you will only have yourselves to blame for what comes next. And, yes, it can get worse.
Latinos should send a message to Republicans: We won't support your failed policies, we won't abide by anti-Hispanic rhetoric, and we will always side with political forces that seek to build on the common good, not tear it down.