Darn it, when will Obama play hardball with these Republicans?

He acknowledged this reality with all that executive order business, and that was good. But by and large, he didn’t go at the Republicans in the way I think he should have. I see it like this. Nothing’s going to pass. That’s a given. So, given that nothing’s going to pass, then what? The only thing you can do—and this ain’t very uplifting, but it’s where we are these days—is set it up so that when nothing passes, the country blames the other guys.

That entails…what? Some shaming. Some calling out. Some zingers at the other side. Some direct challenges to the Republicans—you are defying the will of the clear majority of the American people on the minimum wage, on unemployment insurance, on gun control, et cetera. It’s true; they are. To say so would, I believe, put them on the defensive, and it would provide a framework for the whole year: The president directly challenges Congress to act, even taunts them a little.

That gives the Democrats something to run on. You keep that challenge up all year. Obstructionist, obstructionist, obstructionist. And then by November, when nothing has happened, hopefully people will think that it’s the Republicans’ fault. You’ve galvanized your side.

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