He’s no lame duck. The president is pushing hard to advance his agenda before the clock runs out. Despite fierce GOP opposition, he’s taken unilateral executive action on immigration, Cuba and environmental protections. He won’t be shy about whipping out the veto pen either, now that Republicans control Congress. “I’m going to defend gains that we’ve made in health care… on environment, and clean air and clean water,” Obama said in a year-end interview. Why the bold action now? The improving economy is giving him cover to do more.