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Thomas Frank writes How to wreck the GOP in 3 easy steps!

The great days of the Obama presidency are behind us, everyone seems to believe, and the most this once-promising president can do now are hold convenings and issue small-bore executive orders while awaiting a round of midterm elections that are likely to go against him. Oh, woe is he.

It’s time to snap out of it. Obama is still the most powerful man in the world. The nation still needs presidential action. And the Democrats need action too, if they’re going to avoid disaster this fall.

Last week, I asked around for suggestions, things the Obama administration could do, all on its own, that the Republicans in Congress would be powerless to stop. I heard countless good ideas: Obama could make it absolutely clear to his FCC chairman that net neutrality is the policy of his administration; he could reclassify marijuana so that it is no longer a Class 1 narcotic; he could reform the federal contracting system to discourage outsourcing and promote good labor practices; he could encourage whistleblowers rather than  punishing them.

There is also still an opportunity for momentous, headline-making, consensus-shattering deeds. Each of the following three ideas would move the country in the direction Obama has always maintained he wanted to move us—toward accountability, away from inequality, toward a healthy middle class. And each of them is sufficiently big that it might make a difference this fall. […]

1. President Obama should instruct his Attorney General to start enforcing the nation’s antitrust laws the way Democrats used to do. […]

2. Investigate and prosecute fraud committed during the housing bubble. […]

3. Make it clear that he will no longer tolerate the college tuition price spiral. […]

Obama can make sure each student has sufficient federal loans, and he can come up with a decent loan-forgiveness program. But he has been unable to stop his friends in academia from ripping those students off, from burdening them with debts so overwhelming that they may never be able to escape.

With a little originality, however, Obama can get started on the problem. The federal government has enormous leverage over the nation’s colleges and universities thanks to itsmassive funding of higher education. And the time to use that leverage is now.

Obama has already shown what he can do to an institution of higher ed in cases where his people suspect there’s something fishy going on. I refer to Corinthian Colleges, a for-profit outfit that until recently offered courses in vocational subjects, paid for largely by federal grants and loans. The company went out of business a short while ago, after Federal regulators demanded to see proof of its job placement rates. It now appears to be facing a criminal investigation.

What Team Obama did to Corinthian Colleges, they can do to any of our better-known knowledge mills, regardless of their tax status. […]


Blast from the Past. At Daily Kos on this date in 2013GOP senator howls about the 'environmental jihad'

Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson may not be up for re-election until 2016, but he is not letting a League of Conservation Voters ad against him go without a bout of whining—and fundraising:
“The League of Conservation voters is not an organization with a balanced approach to a cleaner environment,” states the email from the Johnson campaign. “They are an extreme left group on an environmental jihad.”

The email, which also solicited donations from supporters, denounced what Johnson said was an “unholy alliance” between LCV and the Obama campaign that gives the green group “unlimited resources and campaign expertise.”

Ah, yes, the "extreme" "unholy" "jihad" of the League of Conservation Voters, with their ads filled with facts about severe weather's cost in human life and property damage, Johnson's big donations from oil and gas, his votes in favor of continuing pollution, and his general record of climate change denial. Those scoundrels. Send Ron Johnson money, so he can "respond to their attack ads with the truth." Is he implying that he actually doesn't deny the reality of climate change, or is that the truth of ... him being a giant climate change denier, but with an explanation of how he's proud of his position because capitalism?

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