(Salon) -- President Obama is in the doldrums. He has run out of ideas, and out of gas. His strongest supporters are in the grip of a morbid fatalism. There is nothing the president can do any longer, they sigh, because of the intransigent Republicans in the House of Representatives. The great days of the Obama presidency are behind us, everyone seems to believe, and the most this once-promising president can do now are hold convenings and issue small-bore executive orders while awaiting a round of midterm elections that are likely to go against him. Oh, woe is he.
It’s time to snap out of it. Obama is still the most powerful man in the world. The nation still needs presidential action. And the Democrats need action too, if they’re going to avoid disaster this fall.
Last week, I asked around for suggestions, things the Obama administration could do, all on its own, that the Republicans in Congress would be powerless to stop. I heard countless good ideas: Obama could make it absolutely clear to his FCC chairman that net neutrality is the policy of his administration; he could reclassify marijuana so that it is no longer a Class 1 narcotic; he could reform the federal contracting system to discourage outsourcing and promote good labor practices; he could encourage whistleblowers rather than punishing them.
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