Noah R. Feldman, Midterm Maneuvers, N.Y. Times Mag., Nov. 21, 2010, at 13.
Abstract: My daughter was looking at President Obama's picture in the paper the morning after the midterm elections. ''Daddy,'' she asked, ''why does he look so frustrated?'' Explaining divided government to a 3-year-old turns out to be harder than you'd think. But she did seem to get the point that, while Obama was still the president, his job was about to become much more difficult. Historically, presidents thwarted by the loss of a Congressional majority have turned their attention to foreign policy -- no doubt the reason that Obama left for Asia within a few days of the election. The explanation for the shift in focus is constitutional as much as tactical. The founding fathers, convinced that diplomacy could not be conducted by committee, gave the executive substantial discretion in conducting foreign affairs. Although Congress can ask questions and conduct oversight hearings, a president who wants to have an impact internationally can act more or less on his own.