Onumba.om —With the Midterm elections now over and the outcome being a nice ass thumping for Democrats, the Obama administration, perhaps, would have to adopt a whole new partisan posture against his victorious and tumid Republican opponents now threatening to dismantle all that he has achieved in the past six years while looking to thwart all that he plans to accomplish in the remaining two years of his administration.
The GOP gained control of the U.S. Senate while stiffing its grip of the House of Representatives after corralling additional seats there.
It all sums up to a profound bad news for the Obama administration. With a load of loathe for the president by the Republicans, clearly, daggers are drawn and a volcanic partisan tinderbox looms. President Obama, facing immense pressure from grappling with a minefield of high-voltage issues, both domestic and foreign, emerged from the thick and blinding fog of defeat to declare he isn’t a “mopey” milquetoast about his party’s monumentally catastrophic loss. Of course, it was a self-consoling posture, a blast of confidence and defiance, if you will, that may well be helpful in managing his debilitating loss to soothe the sting, but there’s no denying the fact that his presidency is presently riding through bumpy potholes and appears destined to collide with GOP victory bus parade. At this cusp, the president can only hope for an elevated spirit of bipartisanship to emerge from the dark ashes of his party’s massive shellacking.
In short, it won’t be pretty moving forward.
And it’s not just for the reason that the president’s Democratic Party lost control of the U.S. Senate, that too of course, but largely for the fact that the loss mean the Republicans will now control both chambers of legislative branch of government. What that means is something President Obama is definitely not looking forward to: working with a bullying brigade of torridly dogmatic and ideological GOP lawmakers acting more like vengeful and vitriolic foes than reasonable and accommodating opponents.
Nowhere is this glum outlook, this looming tectonic power swing in Washington, going to be more visible than in the U.S. Senate where old Mitch McConnell, arguably the biggest legatee of last week’s GOP triumph, is poised to become the new Senate Majority Leader come January. Sounding every bit like one already, he wasted no time unleashing a barrage of blisteringly cacophonous salvos, starkly warning Obama, who is now probably on an irreversible path to go it alone on immigration reform, to rethink his plan, saying it “poisons the well.”
McConnell warned the president that his rubicon posture on the immigration tiff is tantamount to “waving a red flag in front of a bull.”
It wasn’t just a cockahoop McConnell yammering from the rooftop, though. In a truculent choriamb with the veteran Kentucky lawmaker is Arizona Senator John McCain who is certainly no fandom of Obama. The war hero codger has visibly relished being a caviling thorn in the president’s side from day one, constantly caricaturing, razzing and even scuppering the administration’s efforts. But for McCain, unlike McConnell, his beef with the president is both personal and professional, having lost to Obama in the 2008 presidential contest and evidently continues to reel from that epic defeat till today. It’s really no secret that both Obama and McCain have never had anything close to a chummy relationship. It’s been openly frosty. And their corrosive relationship would have probably remained in such lugubrious doldrums to the very end had Democrats prevailed in the election. Fortunately for McCain, his party’s election triumph saved him from remaining a crabby old man, kvetching, pouting and seething in endless frustration decrying what he sees as Obama foreign policy disaster around the world, particularly in the Middle East over Syria. Perhaps, a gleeful McCain sees his party’s victory through the lens of this being his last chance to torment the man who wrecked his presidential ambitions and forever blocked his path to the White House. Come January, McCain is likely to take over the powerful chairmanship of the Senate Armed Services Committee where he might finally get back at Obama with possible plans to securitize the president’s foreign policy agenda through a flurry of committee hearings and investigations and who knows what.
Sizing up the vast landscape of volatile issues facing government yields a depressing hodgepodge of global woes: there’s the messy crisis playing out in Ukraine, there’s ISIS and its metastasizing and apocalyptic terrorist brutality annihilating civilians in parts of Iraq and Syria, there’s the raging Syrian civil war unleashing cadaverous consequences for folks out there, and then there’s the Israeli – Palestinian conflict with absolutely no headway being made to achieve peace. And as though that’s not enough for a besieged world to grapple with, there’s an added Leviathan global scare brought on by the Ebola epidemic ravaging parts of West Africa. It’s messy out there for sure. But expect a McCain’s led congressional hearings to rummage through some of that mess for what he describes as needed and lacking epiphany into the role of the United States government involving each.
But of all the battles looming in Washington, expect the immigration brouhaha to emerge as the linchpin of the post-election hostility between an increasingly lame-duck White House and the emboldened Republican leadership eager to put its newfound power to use. House Speaker John Boehner wasn’t on the ballot but the Republican new found power immensely strengthened his hand on the immigration battle where he and Obama remain hopelessly deadlocked, with the Republican-Controlled House stubbornly refusing to act on immigration reform. Like McConnell, Boehner warned Obama against resorting to executive fiat to install reform, telling reporters in Washington last week, “When you play with matches, you take the risk of burning yourself. And he is going to burn himself if he continues to go down this path.”
Seemingly, the Republican leadership is boldly flexing its newly minted legislative muscle with a flurry of bombastic pronouncements and a smorgasbord tactical posturing and rhetoric aimed at blunting Obama’s deepening resolve to act unilaterally on immigration. But the president is not likely to budge unless Boehner and his den of recalcitrant minions move fast to pass immigration reform bill before the end of the year. For one thing, the president is highly likely to dig in on this given the immense pressure on him from the restless Hispanic community to act on immigration reform as he promised aimed at addressing the lingering plight of 11 million undocumented immigrants now tiptoeing across the country in limbo and trepidation.
We will see how it all plays out.
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