President Obama's Legacy: On Top of His Game?

Askia Muhammad | 12/12/2012, 12:23 p.m.

So, Obama won reelection, despite the most virulent, ugly, race-baiting campaign in history, and in the process gained a mandate, along with clear leverage that means he can literally dictate to the Republican leadership in the House of Representatives, where they hold the majority. He doesn't have to do anything but sit on his hands and the country will go over the "fiscal cliff" raising dreaded taxes on the wealthy and ushering in half of the mandated $1.2 trillion in budget cuts to come from military spending, which Republicans abhor.

The GOP can either accept the terms the president demands, or watch the economy go over, into the abyss, and the Republicans in Congress, not the president will be blamed by most voters. And while he's at it, make sure they agree to increase the national debt limit which expires in January.

So why in the world would the president accept any deal that doesn't protect his core constituencies just so he can allow House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) to save face? Bring the Republicans to their political knees, Mr. President. Teach them to fear you. They will never love you, even if you do everything they ask of you.

That's how this president can burnish his legacy: continue to speak softly, but beat them down with a big political stick.