The Unappreciated Virtues of Doing Nothing

Fight disinformation: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter and follow the news that matters.


Just a quick point: the conventional wisdom says that Barack Obama accomplished a lot in his first two years but won’t accomplish much in his last four. I think this is about right. But this should scare Republicans a lot. Obama really did preside over some substantial changes during his first term—most notably Obamacare—and that made it fairly easy to appeal to centrists who felt apprehensive about this pace of change.

But if Obama spends his next four years presiding over nothing more than the implementation of laws already passed while simultaneously addressing America’s fiscal problems—something that’s inevitable given the end of the Bush tax cuts and an improving economy—then Democrats will look pretty good in 2016: steady, sober, and decidedly non-scary. It could be that doing nothing is about the best strategy the party could follow. And Republicans are going to do everything they can to help.

MOTHER JONES NEEDS YOUR HELP

Straight to the point: Donations have been concerningly slow for our hugely important First $500,000 fundraising campaign. We urgently need your help, and a lot of help, over the next few weeks so we can pay for the one-of-a-kind journalism you get from us.

Learn more in “Less Dreading, More Doing,” where we lay out this wild moment and how we can keep charging hard for you. And please help if you can: $5, $50, or $500—every gift from every person truly matters right now.

payment methods

MOTHER JONES NEEDS YOUR HELP

Straight to the point: Donations have been concerningly slow for our hugely important First $500,000 fundraising campaign. We urgently need your help, and a lot of help, over the next few weeks so we can pay for the one-of-a-kind journalism you get from us.

Learn more in “Less Dreading, More Doing,” where we lay out this wild moment and how we can keep charging hard for you. And please help if you can: $5, $50, or $500—every gift from every person truly matters right now.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate