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It turns out presidents can actually do stuff

A welcome and long overdue change of strategy is being kicked off today for the Obama administration, beginning with an executive order raising the minimum wage of Federal contractors. Among the points raised in that article:

Last year began with the fresh-start ambitions of his second inauguration but ended in a long trail of mistakes, international embarrassments and missed legislative opportunities that sapped Obama's credibility with the public.

Senior adviser Dan Pfeiffer outlined the lessons learned in a three-page memo that Obama discussed with his Cabinet in recent weeks, according to several administration officials who have read the document.

Among its conclusions is that Obama, a former state legislator and U.S. senator, too often governed more like a prime minister than a president. In a parliamentary system, a prime minister is elected by lawmakers and thus beholden to them in ways a president is not.

According to the above article, it seems thinking about Obama's legacy is also partly what prompted this.

Here's Greg Sargent's take:

Resorting to executive authority is also about resetting the prism through which the American people evaluate the president's performance and his engagement with them -- by conveying a sense that he has a plan to move the country forward, and he's acting on it.

Sargent follows up with poll numbers showing support for Obama using more executive authority. The truth is most people think the president is a lot more powerful than he really is, but weirdly the message from the Obama administration up until now is that he's actually a lot less powerful than he really is, as you can infer from my final quote, this time from Digby:

Wait. The last I heard from all the analysts was that the presidency was little more than a ceremonial position, sort of like the Queen of England, and there's no point in expecting anything at all from it. Indeed, I had been given to understand that it's foolhardy to even think about what a president could accomplish with his one branch of government that oversees all federal agencies, the military and the entire regulatory state as long as a rump faction of the GOP held sway in the House of Representatives. Who knew he could actually do things and say things that might make a difference?

I can certainly see why the administration was getting a teensy bit uncomfortable with all that talk of presidential impotence. It's not exactly an inspiring image. Still, you can't help but wonder just what the hell took them so long to realize that all their supporters relentlessly flogging the idea that the poor president is little more than a figurehead might just not reflect well on legacy of the man the nation elected to be its national leader.

By fnord12 | January 28, 2014, 1:19 PM | Liberal Outrage

Reference from SuperMegaMonkey

The news that Obama is going to try to do more by executive action sparked predictable outrage, but both TPM and Yglesias look at the pushback so far and declare it particularly lame. First of all, Obama has some catching...    Read More: Executive Marauder

Reference from SuperMegaMonkey

Yglesias makes a fair point (warning: Twitter): "When Obama used leverage over contractors to get paid leave for *over a million people* it was a minor story." He means this in contrast to Trump's Carrier actions. But two counterpoints: 1)...    Read More: Own it and be ready