Obama Goes 2 For 22 in Hoops, But It's Still Better Than His Record Against Congress

Whether or not the president of the United States can drain shots on the basketball court has no relevance to his success in office. That being said, here is something amusing to consider: Is Obama’s recent 2-22 White House pick-up basketball game fail so much worse than his rate of success at getting bills through Congress these days?

I don’t have a clever statistically driven info-graphic to illustrate this comparison (Nate Silver, I’m looking at you!) but Obama’s lousy 9% shooting average on the court does conjure up a comparison to so many failed negotiations with the House of Representatives. 

Whether the issue up for debate be climate change, gun control, “fiscal cliff” negotiations, or the health care debate, managing his "team" in Congress has often been an exercise in failed diplomacy. And then there is Guantanamo Bay. Yes, still open. Yes, Obama did vow to close that place in his first week in office. What gives?

It’s not hard to understand why Obama’s negotiations with Republicans could be a challenge, but Politico argues the Democrats have serious issues with Obama too, noting, "As Obama prepares an aggressive public lobbying campaign for his ambitious second-term agenda, Democrats on Capitol Hill are bluntly warning him that he has to do more to engage them if he expects his congressional allies to take a series of politically tough votes." 

But Obama seems to have something else in mind. Bloomberg News reports, "After spending his first two years in office deep in negotiations with a Democratic-controlled Congress, and the last two years battling with much of the Republican-controlled House, he enters his second term prepared to move forward alone." 

After his first term with a do-nothing Congress, Obama is ready to circumvent the House of Representatives altogether in using his executive power to move legislation.

In some ways Obama already has made this move, as he is using executive power more than any other president in modern history, explaining, “He delayed the deportation of young illegal immigrants when Congress wouldn't agree. He ordered the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to research gun violence, which Congress halted nearly 15 years ago. He told the Justice Department to stop defending the Defense of Marriage Act, deciding that the 1996 law defining marriage as between a man and a woman was unconstitutional. He’s vowed to act on his own if Congress didn't pass policies to prepare for climate change.”

 

In response to Obama’s not-so hot White House Easter Egg Roll basketball performance, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney, told reporters that Obama "doesn't get to practice probably as much as he'd like to," and as you know, "These are busy times."  

Indeed it sounds like President Obama certainly has his hands full what with all of the executive power he has been wrangling as of late. 

How much do you trust the information in this article?

Jamie Hagen

Jamie J. Hagen is a New York City-based writer, researcher and incoming student at the Global Governance and Human Security PhD program at UMass Boston this fall. Jamie has written about feminism, feminist security studies, and LGBTQ politics for publications including Autostraddle, The Dart Society, On The Issues Magazine and One Green Planet. You can find her work at: www.jamiejhagen.com

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