This will be the new tone for Obama's second term — bitter, divided and getting worse, even as the nation's fiscal status deteriorates. After a few months of ugly showdowns like the one that just ended, it will be considerably more difficult for Obama to make progress in Congress on the remaining big-ticket items on his agenda — guns, immigration and climate change, for example. Even more difficult will be bigger, bipartisan goals like the entitlement and tax reforms that America desperately needs.
If his first term is any indication, Obama will retaliate against congressional resistance by acting alone, as he already has by using executive power to make policy in education, welfare, labor law, the environment and immigration. He will test legal limits with new administrative changes, executive orders, memoranda and creative regulatory rulings. This will further alienate Congress and prompt still more lawsuits against his administration, like the one currently under way to unseat “recess” appointees whom he installed without confirmation last year when the Senate was not in recess.
There is something in the water in Washington — all of the wells are being systematically poisoned, and we're still only at the beginning of the process. Happy new year.
— The Washington Examiner