President Obama’s aim in his second term is to shatter conservative opposition, politically and ideologically. That’s the clear message of his Cabinet picks thus far, who share the common characteristic of being radical and divisive (less so John Kerry, who was a second choice). Obama’s not searching for compromise; he is provoking confrontation, and deliberately so, convinced he now has the (permanent) campaign machinery to win. That makes the 2014 elections all-important: Congress is a partial restraint on Obama right now, but if he can use the clashes ahead to convince enough voters that Republicans are the problem, Obama’s last two years in office will look less like a lame duck term and more like a sprint to the finish for his left-wing agenda.
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