Tuesday, January 22, 2013
Well Done Mr. President
I’ve been waiting a long time to hear another liberal inaugural address that drew the line on what separates liberals from conservatives. The president did not use the opportunity to extend another olive branch to the Republican Party but instead chose to lay down the foundation for a new tomorrow or as someone said,” to declare the end of Reaganism.”
The talk of a need for collectivism and a need for a free market that is fair for all Americans had to be devastating for Libertarians to hear.
The president did not draw- a- line in the sand, but he did lay down his marker, which is what we need to have an honest dialogue. He knows nothing will get done on climate change in the next four years, but that doesn’t mean he won’t continue to talk about more violent storms, frequent fires and drought that are caused by climate change. Fifteen years from now, the climate-change deniers will be saying, “ if we only have listened to President Obama, we would have had a fifteen-year head start."
The president talked of honoring the social contract we made with the elderly and the most vulnerable and the need to view all the options before cutting those programs. This was the first time in inaugural history, that the words, gay, Medicare, Medicaid and climate change were ever used.
The Republicans are out in full force telling everyone within earshot" see I told you he was a liberal” as if it was a social disease. I never knew how liberal or moderate the president was because of some of his previous appointments and stances. For instance, he never fully endorsed the public option and during the debates he bragged of all the drilling for oil we’ve done. He set deportation records and kept all the Bush methods of fighting terrorism except for the enhanced interrogation methods. After four years, he has become wiser and has learned that you won’t win many battles if you're always playing defense and on your opponent's home turf.
The voters want the parties to compromise to get something done but that can’t happen unless the lines of distinction are known by both parties. For example, it is highly unlikely that a grand bargain will be made because the president barely mentioned the deficit or the debt. The Democrats could be persuaded to raise the retirement age to age 66 for the elimination of the oil subsidies and the parties can continue working on things that can be passed with bipartisan support. Like anything else, bipartisanship can be habit forming.
The GOP is starting the new legislation session after a three- day retreat to strategize but their opponents did the same in a less informal way. The Democrats know that they are only 17 house seats away from taking over that legislative chamber. They think if they keep laying out mainstream positions, they will be bait the GOP to oppose; thereby keeping their extreme Tea Party at 9% approval. The GOP has a 26% approval, and Speaker Boehner has a 18% approval compared to Obama’s 52 % which gives them the confidence that their strategy is working. Things can change overnight but right now I don’t see the president moving one inch away from the stand he took yesterday. In his upcoming State of the Union speech in two-weeks, he will say what legislative accomplishments he thinks can be accomplished in his second term.