While President Obama and his advisers can certainly take heart in their party’s legislative victories in the Lame Duck session, there were some items that remained out of his reach in 2010.
One of them was an issue that President Obama addressed on his very first day in office, as he ordered the shutdown of the Guantanamo Bay terrorism prison, saying it would be closed within a year.
It’s almost two years later now, and the GTMO prison isn’t going to be closed anytime soon.
That was made even more clear in the Defense Authorization bill given final approval yesterday by the House and Senate, which included very specific language that prohibits the feds from moving any detainees to prisons in the U.S.
“Obviously, we haven’t gotten it closed,” the President said at a news conference on Wednesday before he left for his vacation in Hawaii.
“I can tell you that over the last two years, despite not having closed Guantanamo, we’ve been trying to put our battle against terrorists within a legal structure that is consistent with our history of rule of law,” Mr. Obama added.
Still, it’s a setback for the White House, which faced opposition on closing Guantanamo from both parties.
“I don’t know the answer to when it’s going to happen,” said White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs.
“I know it remains the President’s goal.”
Another goal is the immigration DREAM Act, which failed last weekend in the Senate, something that drew a bitter notation from the President.
“I am very disappointed Congress wasn’t able to pass the DREAM Act,” Mr. Obama said in a stern voice.
Even though he argued for it again yesterday, the chances of something like that being approved with a Republican House seem very remote.
“I’m also disappointed we weren’t able to come together around a budget to fund our government over the long term,” the President added, acknowledging the fact that Congress did not approve a single budget bill for the current fiscal year.
“I expect we’ll have a robust debate about this when we return from the holidays.”
Still, despite those setbacks, this turned out to be a productive Lame Duck for the Obama Administration.
Whether the next two years will be – that’s the $64,000 political question right now.
“What we’ve shown is that we don’t have to agree on a hundred percent to get things done that enhance the lives of families all across America,” Mr. Obama told reporters. “And if we can sustain that spirit, then regardless of how the politics play out in 2012, the American people will be better for it. And that’s my ultimate goal.”
Stay tuned in 2011.