How the GOP Made Obama One of America’s Most Powerful Presidents

How the GOP Made Obama One of America’s Most Powerful Presidents [Zachary Karabell – Politico]

Republicans over the past seven years have come to view Barack Obama not just as an ideological enemy but as a “dictator”—an accusation hurled most recently by both Chris Christie and Glenn Beck—a president who has unconstitutionally abused his executive power with an array of unilateral actions.

But Republicans are hardly passive victims of an overweening executive; they are, in fact, paying for their own unilateral surrender of power. The GOP-dominated Congress has sought to weaken and undermine Obama and instead has achieved the opposite. Unable to pass significant legislation after the Affordable Care Act, the Obama White House filled the vacuum by creative use of executive authority, setting a potentially risky precedent for the future balance between the branches but spurred, ironically, by the very opponents who were trying to contain him.

Out of anti-Obama pique, Congress has also relinquished much of its primary tool, the power of the purse. Congress and the White House have not agreed on a budget since 2009, and only at the end of 2015 was an actual budget passed by the House. So while it is technically true that even the most controversial military programs of the Obama years have had de facto congressional support, Congress has failed to use its constitutional control of the budget as a check on executive action.

And whatever powers Obama takes, with Republican complicity, can be used by President Trump or President Cruz.

Obama Has a Refreshingly Clear-Eyed View of “Allies” Like Saudi Arabia

Most of the 9/11 hijackers were Saudis — our allies. The Middle East isn't strategic to America's interests anymore and the less we're involved there the better off we are.

Kevin Drum:

We failed in Lebanon. We failed in Iraq. We're failing in Afghanistan. We failed in Libya. No matter how cold and distant it seems, there's simply no reason for America to expend vast resources on an impossible task urged on us by a bunch of putative allies who are only interested in using us as a mercenary army. We should protect ourselves against the export of terrorism from the region—which might sometimes require a military solution—but that's about it. It's far past time to ratchet down our engagement in the region and let other countries take the lead if they really want to.

I see the Republicans are revving up the Benghazi machine again

Because that worked so well for them in 2012. 

There are actually legitimate questions about the White House handling of Benghazi. The recent Carney memo is disturbing. But it’s by no means the smoking gun the Republicans think it is. 

And the American people are sick of hearing the Republicans rant about Benghazi. The American people hear about Benghazi and it just sounds like more birther/Muslim/socialist rubbish. 

American needs a party to oppose the Democrats. Instead, we have an embarrassing uncle who gets drunk and says inappropriate things at the Thanksgiving table. 

Update: Boehner to Form Select Committee on Benghazi