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Morning Examiner: Obama’s campaign of pain

President Obama is just 42 days into his second term in the White House but he is already done governing. As The Washington Post reported this weekend, Obama is already “executing plans to win back the House in 2014, which he and his advisers believe will be crucial to the outcome of his second term and to his legacy as president.”

“The goal,” The Washington Post reports, “is to flip the Republican-held House back to Democratic control, allowing Obama to push forward with a progressive agenda on gun control, immigration, climate change and the economy during his final two years in office, according to congressional Democrats, strategists and others familiar with Obama’s thinking.”

In other words, Obama is done trying to work with Republicans in 2013 and 2014. He is abandoning any real effort for bipartisan immigration, gun, or energy reform. The bulk of his effort will now be devoted to eliminating all Republican power in Washington.

And Obama’s first step in that campaign will be to maximize the amount of pain the sequester inflicts on the American people. ABC News reports: “Now that the sequester has gone into effect — bringing on the spending cuts Obama once guaranteed would never happen — the president is in the awkward place of rooting for it be felt as he and his administration has predicted.”

For perhaps the first time in the history of the United States, it is in the political interest of a president to inflict maximum pain on the American people. Obama could have spent the last 16 months preparing to mitigate sequestration’s impact on the American people, as any responsible manager would have. Instead, he has done the opposite, explicitly ordering government agencies not to prepare for the worst. And he has refused all Republican efforts to pass legislation that would minimize the sequester’s pain.

“The president understands that to get anything done, he needs a Democratic majority in the House of Representatives,” Rep. Steve Israel,D-N.Y., told The Post “To have a legacy in 2016, he will need a House majority in 2014, and that work has to start now.”

It already has.

From The Washington Examiner
Examiner Editorial: Bradley Manning lucky he’s not charged with treason
Byron York: Obama sought to break GOP ‘fever,’ but did they break his?
Phil Klein: Can the Cleveland Clinic save American health care?
Michael Barone: Are Portuguese Hispanic?
Tim Carney: Health industry pushes GOP states toward Obamacare
Conn Carroll: California is becoming a feudal society

In Other News
The New York Times, Recovery in U.S. Is Lifting Profits, but Not Adding Jobs: With the Dow Jones industrial average flirting with a record high, the split between American workers and the companies that employ them is widening.
The Wall Street Journal, Wealthier Households Carry the Spending Load: Wealthier households, buoyed by improving home values and a rising stock market, are spending more. Poorer ones, hammered by higher taxes and rising gas prices, are holding back.
Associated Press, Tax bills for rich families approach 30-year high: With Washington gridlocked again over whether to raise their taxes, it turns out wealthy families already are paying some of their biggest federal tax bills in decades even as the rest of the population continues to pay at historically low rates.

Associated Press, Senate Republicans sell immigration plan to House: Republican Sens. John McCain, Lindsey Graham and Jeff Flake met with key House conservatives this week to promote legislation to overhaul the nation’s immigration laws and provide a pathway to citizenship for an estimated 11 million illegal immigrants, McCain’s communications director said Friday.
The Washington Post, Obama pushing to diversify federal judiciary amid GOP delays: Reelected with strong support from women, ethnic minorities and gays, Obama is moving quickly to change the face of the federal judiciary by the end of his second term, setting the stage for another series of drawn-out confrontations with Republicans in Congress.

Lefty Playbook
Ezra Klein on why Obama can’t get Republicans to raise taxes.
Christina Romer, chairwoman of President Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers, advises liberals to increase the Earned Income Tax Credit, not raise the minimum wage.
Dylan Matthews lists six things to know about the new White House budget director Sylvia Mathews Burwell.

Righty Playbook
Betsy Woodruff says Bill Bolling’s Bubble May Burst in Virginia.
Erick Erickson warns that Texas Republicans may vote to cave on Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion today.
Jason Bedrick calls Alabama’s new school choice program a good start.