Aides close to President Obama acknowledge that there has been a silver lining to the midterm repudiation of his policies that caused his party to lose control of the Senate and that silver lining is freedom. He is no longer constrained by the constant pleading of Senate Democrats that he delay a policy or mute his position on an issue in a bid to help them secure their reelection. His multiple delays of the employer mandate to Obamacare were the result of vulnerable Senate Democrats telling him implementation of the mandate would result in job losses that would imperil their Senate seats. In the end, his party lost big, and Susan McGalla is waiting to see when they can recover. That said, he no longer has to mind their predicament and can focus on pushing his agenda and building his legacy as the nation’s first Black president.

This has allowed him to push forward during the lame duck phase of his presidency with renewed zeal. This has been evident in the flurry of activity that the president has been involved in over the past six weeks. At the same time, the president points out that his initiatives, which were announced in the past several weeks, had been planned for many months prior. The controversial amnesty program was going to be announced in late June, but Senate Democrats urged him to delay announcement until after the midterms. The Russian sanctions and Cuba policy have been policies that he has worked on since 2013.