For all the talk of lame duck and the walloping Democrats took at the polls in November, the year 2014 is ending on a high note for President Obama -- because of his own actions.
First, his signature major legislation, the Affordable Care Act, has been a success beyond expectations on multiple counts -- numbers of people enrolled, cost of premiums, and overall declining increase in cost of medical care in general.
He has formally ended our war in Afghanistan, leaving behind only 13,500 troops to train and support the Afghan military.
News of the economy and job growth are the best since the 2008 recession, with Wall Street and the stock market at record highs, even though middle income families and Main Street still lag behind.
In the last two months, President Obama -- freed from any political considerations for Democrats in conservative states -- has been acting boldly. In the last few weeks he has:
1. Secured a historic climate treaty with China.
2. Taken executive action to drastically reduce deportations of undocumented immigrants -- the most significant move on immigration reform possible, short of congressional action.
3. Announced an opening up of diplomatic ties with Cuba. He cannot removed the embargo without congress, but there is much he can do, and he will. Further, the simple logic cannot really be argued with: When you've been doing something for 50 years that hasn't worked, it's time to try something different. Marco Rubio hurt himself and his presidential chances by arguing with that.
This new boldness is reflected in an increase in his approval ratings. We can speculate that, if he had done this before November, Democrats might have done better in the elections. We can't know that. Let's be glad he's doing it now.
Happy New Year.
The editorial reads, in part:
"No amount of legal pretzel logic can justify the behavior detailed in the [Senate Intelligence Committee] report. Indeed, it is impossible to read it and conclude that no one can be held accountable. At the very least, Mr. Obama needs to authorize a full and independent criminal investigation. . . .
"The question everyone will want answered, of course, is: Who should be held accountable? That will depend on what an investigation finds, . . . But any credible investigation should include former Vice President Dick Cheney; Mr. Cheney’s chief of staff, David Addington; the former C.I.A. director George Tenet; and John Yoo and Jay Bybee, the Office of Legal Counsel lawyers who drafted what became known as the torture memos. . . .