Suddenly Republicans Don't Like Mavericks Anymore

Greg Sargent had an interesting piece yesterday about President Obama's recent decision "to be as aggressive and ambitious as possible in unilaterally pursuing his agenda wherever he can," and how his executive actions are "setting in motion a series of arguments that will shape the next race for the presidency."
Republicans like to say all of this unilateral action defies the will of the people as expressed in the last election. If that is so, then Republicans will surely be glad to hear that much of what Obama is setting in motion may be litigated in another electoral contest — the 2016 presidential race.

When you step back and look at the degree to which these actions are beginning to frame that contest, it's striking. Hillary Clinton has now endorsed Obama's move on Cuba. GOP presidential hopefuls are lining up against it. She has vowed to protect Obama's actions on climate "at all costs," a stance that could take on added significance if a global climate treaty is negotiated next year. Potential GOP presidential candidates will likely vow to undo those actions and line up against U.S. participation in such a treaty.

Clinton has come out in support of Obama's action to shield millions from deportation. GOP presidential hopefuls have lined up against it, effectively reaffirming the party's commitment to deporting as many low-level offenders and longtime residents as possible. And so on.
Sargent makes the point that Obama's actions are (likely) building a coalition for the next Democratic nominee: "They are geared to the priorities of many of the voter groups that are increasingly key to Democratic victories in national elections: millennials, nonwhite voters, and college educated whites, especially women. The Cuba shift may appeal to young voters, particularly younger Cubans in the key swing state of Florida. The move on deportations could sharpen the contrast between the parties in ways that enhance the Democratic advantage among Latinos. The moves on climate could appeal to millennials and socially liberal upscale whites."

Obama's forcing the GOP into opposition against these policies, thus alienating these same key constituencies. While they also complain about the way the President is taking action, even as one of voters' biggest complaints about Washington is legislators who don't do anything.

Meanwhile, Obama and Clinton seem to have a neat little agreement going: He will go all-in on some big issues, and she will protect that legacy. As Tom Watson noted, "Obama is setting the 2016 platform seemingly in close collaboration with likely nominee. So much for distancing."

So much for distancing indeed. Democrats may have run away from the President during the midterm, but Clinton sure doesn't seem to have any interest in that loser strategy.

Anyway. It's fun to watch this unfold, and fun to watch the Republicans complain bitterly about our President going rogue. Looks like the party of mavericks doesn't like them anymore.

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