Obama’s brief liberal tilt was a welcome, if belated, change of pace that got us — among other things — a better-than-nothing climate change agreement with China, a relaxation of the assault on immigrants and a crack in the generations-old blockade of Cuba. But The Wall Street Journal reports today that, as anticipated, that is all over. Obama will instead work with Republicans to move large-scale anti-worker policies around trade (with fast-track authority) and corporate taxes (which will involve lowering the rates, supposedly accompanied by closing some loopholes). More funding for infrastructure projects is supposedly in the works as well, but we can anticipate that whatever good things we get from that will be offset by yet more concessions to Republicans. Everything on the agenda is in accord with the priorities of a broad swath of US business, of course — and indeed, most of the progressive changes in the small burst of executive orders at the end of last year were also acceptable to or even favorable to most of the business class, being opposed only by the most diehard right-wingers.
The left will have to take a mostly oppositional stance in this phase, and also hope that the crazy obstructionism of the far right will sabotage some of these bad policies without also setting the stage for something even worse.