Mt. Vernon Register-News

Opinion

March 21, 2014

Obama is solo in his 2nd term

(Continued)

Perhaps the initiative that has received the most attention is the president’s My Brother’s Keeper program, which pledged $200 million in private funding over five years to promote black male educational achievement and excellence. Obama’s relationship with the program is at once deeply personal and political. Inspired in part by the aftermath of Trayvon Martin’s death, Obama described the nation’s commitment to black male youths as “a moral issue” for America.

“We just assume this is an inevitable part of American life, instead of the outrage that it is,” Obama observed after citing a litany of negative statistics regarding black boys’ experiences in school and the criminal-justice system.

Obama’s approach to these issues underscores the challenge of addressing the structural problems of unemployment, poverty and institutional racism within the limits of presidential power and without corresponding legislative victories.

Critics rightfully point out the numerous mistakes in strategy and tactics that roiled the president’s first term, despite the historic passage of the Affordable Care Act. And his inability to craft a unifying vision for a new New Deal emboldened an increasingly hysterical right wing that morphed into the modern-day tea party — a group that in the liberal and progressive imagination resembles the terrifying zombies from the television series “The Walking Dead.”

But whatever the genuine merits of such criticism, the era of sweeping legislation — at least barring some midterm election miracle — is over for now. Pragmatically, the best Obama can do over the next three years is to offer an alternative policy vision, as he recently outlined in his 2015 budget — one that stands no chance of congressional passage; sign executive orders that are as impactful as possible; and use the White House as a bully pulpit to promote a vision of American society that may wind up being fulfilled only after he has left office.

Text Only
Opinion
  • Fear indifference ‘Perhaps the Catholic church would volunteer to pony up some cash for the illegals’ care then? Hmm?”“Pope should stay out of it. Matter of civil laws, not church laws.”“Thinking that the pope should want the illegals to go to Argentina to get better

    July 25, 2014

  • A push for felon voting rights If advocates have their way, voting rights could be a new reality for the nation’s incarcerated.Full voting rights for felons is as hot a topic in Washington as voting rights in reverse pushed by voter-ID-tickled Republicans. But with new legislation

    July 25, 2014

  • Big insurers need better oversight Could Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. threaten the stability of the financial system? The U.S.’s top regulators are asking themselves this question as they consider whether Berkshire and other large insurers should come under Federal Reserve

    July 25, 2014

  • Questions for Obamacare after the ruling Tuesday, I outlined what we knew about Halbig v. Burwell, the case in which a federal appellate court ruled that subsidies for purchasing insurance under Obamacare can only be made available on marketplaces established by states. Now I propose to out

    July 24, 2014

  • Pensions not the problem I see in last night’s Register-News paper that James Rippy has attempted to enlighten us on pensions in Illinois. I also notice he has written so often he no longer has the title “guest columnist.” It is obvious he has the time and energy to work on

    July 24, 2014

  • Impasse threatens border solution After more than a year of contentious debate, could Congress be any more divided over the issue of immigration? The answer is yes.In the House, positions are hardening over what to do about the tens of thousands of families and unaccompanied young im

    July 24, 2014

  • Take a lesson from Texas I like to eat at blue-collar diners and cafes, particularly when I’m on vacation.It’s a chance to step beyond the homogenized national chains and experience a bit of local flavor.And being a reporter, I like to chat up local folks to find out a bit a

    July 23, 2014

  • The future reality of terrorist drones A very small airplane rose over the Gaza Strip last week. It entered Israeli airspace and sped toward the coastal city of Ashdod. Then a Patriot missile blew it up.The plane, a rudimentary drone launched by the terrorist group Hamas, posed little thr

    July 23, 2014

  • We are headed to a jobless future In an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal, former Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers revived a debate I’d had with futurist Ray Kurzweil in 2012 about the jobless future.He echoed the words of Peter Diamandis, who says that we are moving from a history

    July 23, 2014

  • Pensions need to be addressed I will have to admit that I am slightly overwhelmed today with the receipt of articles and suggestions for a column. One of my Fitness Mafia colleagues constantly tells me the columns are too long and trying to address different subjects just dilutes

    July 22, 2014

Twitter Updates
Facebook
Stocks