The biggest takeaway in this second historic midterm shellacking of President Obama’s tenure is how much executive lawlessness, recklessness, and incompetence upset voters, across party lines. As I argued in Faithless Execution, although there is insufficient political support for impeaching the president, executive maladministration is a very powerful political issue. We saw that last night.
Voters may want Obama out of office, but they do not want him removed from office. They want him reined in. They want normalcy: a relief from constant crisis that involves a restoration of strong American leadership in the world (which would have a sobering effect on enemies who are now emboldened), and a return to regular governance at home – not monarchical directives to fundamentally transform the country by, for example, unilaterally purporting to grant amnesty to millions of illegal aliens when over 90 million Americans are out of the workforce.
That being the case, the worst thing Republicans could do is cut a lame-duck deal with the very Democrats the voters have just ousted and the very president the voters have just rebuked to fund through the end of next year the very agenda the voters have just rejected. If they cut the deal, they surrender the constitutional authority to do what voters have entrusted them to do.