Dear Commons Community,
President Obama is ending 2014 on a high note. Actions (or inactions) he has taken are looking better and better as December 31st approaches. Several media sources are commenting that Obama has his swagger back and that his decisions are showing boldness as well as thoughtful analysis. As an example, Timothy Egan in a New York Times column, entitled Obama Unbound, comments:
“On normalizing relations with Cuba, on a surprising climate change initiative with China, on an immigration gamble that’s working, and executive orders to protect the world’s greatest wild salmon fishery in Alaska or try to root out gender pay disparities, Obama is marching ahead of politicians fighting yesterday’s wars. In setting an aggressive agenda, he has forced opponents to defend old-century policies, and rely on an aging base to do it…
And speaking of oil, the incoming Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell has vowed, as one of his first orders of business, to push forward Keystone XL, the proposed pipeline to move Canada’s dirty oil though the American heartland. There’s one problem: With low energy prices, the pipeline may no longer pencil out. It’s a bust, potentially, in a free market awash with cheap oil.
With the Cuba opening, one of those events that seem obvious to all the minute it takes shape, the president has Pope Francis as a diplomatic co-conspirator. This leaves Republican opponents of fresh air in Havana lecturing the most popular man on the planet. Even after that all-dogs-go-to-heaven thing turned out to be something that was lost in translation, the pope’s blessing of the Cuba initiative will beat hot air from a half-dozen senators.
Obama’s trademark caution in a crisis still serves him well. He kept his head during the Ebola meltdown when everyone else was losing theirs. Had we gone jaw to jaw with Putin over Ukraine, rather than building the case for sanctions, the world would be far messier. But in finally learning how to use the tools of his office, Obama unbound is a president primed to make his mark.”
If Obama keeps this up, America will have a most Happy New Year!