White House press secretary Jay Carney pushed back against the article on Monday, saying 2014 is “not a focus” for Mr. Obama. But that looks like an attempt at damage control after the Post blew the White House’s cover. Mr. Obama has to appear to want bipartisan deals even as he prepares the ground for blaming Republicans in 2014 when those efforts fail.
This is already clear on the budget, as Mr. Obama insists on a second tax increase that Republicans can’t accept. We’re also increasingly worried about White House sabotage on immigration reform, as it pushes the bill left on a guest-worker program and enforcement. Mr. Obama is doing exactly what you’d expect if he doesn’t want a deal and plans to use the issue to drive minority turnout in 2014.
It’s important to understand how extraordinary this is. Presidents typically try to secure major bipartisan deals in their fifth or sixth years, before their political capital ebbs. That’s what Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan did, and George W. Bush tried on Social Security. Mr. Obama seems to think he can use the next two years mainly to set up a Pelosi House that would let him finish his last two years with a liberal bang.