Peter Nicholas and Christi Parsons write for the LA Times:
As President Obama remakes his senior staff, he is also shaping a new approach for the second half of his term: to advance his agenda through executive actions he can take on his own, rather than pushing plans through an increasingly hostile Congress.
A flurry of staff departures and promotions is playing out as the White House ends a nearly two-year period of intense legislative activity. Where the original staff was built to give Obama maximum clout in Congress, the new White House team won't need the same leverage with lawmakers.
"It's fair to say that the next phase is going to be less about legislative action than it is about managing the change that we've brought," White House senior advisor David Axelrod said in an interview.
Rahm Emanuel, a former member of Congress who helped establish the Democratic majority in the House, resigned last week as White House chief of staff. His successor, for now, is Pete Rouse, a former congressional aide who has never held elective office.
Rouse won't emulate Emanuel, who was able to negotiate with lawmakers as a peer. Instead, the interim chief of staff will have a more operational role.
Winning passage of legislation wasn't easy for Obama, even with Democrats in firm control of both houses of Congress. Conditions will get tougher if, as expected, the Republicans pick up seats in the midterm election next month, or possibly take control of Congress.
"Whether or not the Republicans take over majorities in one or both houses, the margins will be so much narrower that the strategy of putting together a Democratic bill and picking off a handful of Republicans to push it over the top won't be viable anymore," said William Galston, senior fellow at the Brookings Institution.
So the best arena for Obama to execute his plans may be his own branch of government. That means more executive orders, more use of the bully pulpit, and more deployment of his ample regulatory powers and the wide-ranging rulemaking authority of his Cabinet members.
It's sad that this has to happen.
The Obama administration made a valiant effort to to gain bipartisan support for their policies.
But the "party of no" (which is about to become the party of No-er) necessitates more extreme measures.
I, like many, had hoped that President Obama could govern in a far more democratic fashion than his predecessor.
But I now see that power-hungry Republicans will never allow this to happen.
This, of course, is part of the reason it's so crucial that we turn out to vote en masse.
But regardless of the mid-term outcome, it's comforting to know that the Obama administration will be fortified and ready for the coming onslaught.