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
  • City wastes money Editor:In the paper Wednesday it was reported that someone with the City Of Mount Vernon had responded to the concerns of about 40 people that came out in support of the Henningers on 42nd St.The statement in part was; as stewards of the tax-payer’s

    August 22, 2014

  • The right presidential reaction As the tumultuous situation in Ferguson, Mo., entered its second week, President Obama stood before the nation and offered a mild, balanced plea. There is “no excuse” for excessive use of deadly force by police, he observed at a Monday news conferenc

    August 22, 2014

  • HIGHWAY TO THE DANGER ZONE Remember MacGyver? He was the fictional secret agent of 1980s television who would get out of world-threatening jams using only duct tape and a Swiss Army knife. Listening to Pope Francis in Korea the other day, I had some flashbacks to the prime-ti

    August 22, 2014

  • Keeping up with the Comcast call-center fiasco I’ve been intending for a while to write about the Comcast call-center fiasco, but it’s hard to keep up: the story just gets weirder and weirder. Following the now-viral recording of the telephone call in which a customer service representative essen

    August 21, 2014

  • System needed for choosing House In the original conception of our Constitution, the House of Representatives was to be the branch of government that best reflected the will of the people. House members cannot serve without being elected — vacancies are not filled by appointees — an

    August 21, 2014

  • Dems plead for more money I’ve been getting a lot of email from Democratic fundraisers lately. They seem very worried about November’s elections.First came the highly publicized “Impeachment Red Alert” campaign, in which the Democratic congressional committee warned that Repu

    August 21, 2014

  • Why Obama shouldn't go to Ferguson On Monday, ABC’s Ann Compton asked President Barack Obama whether he would visit Ferguson, Missouri, amid the continued unrest. Obama didn’t give a firm answer, but he did suggest it’s probably not a good idea.“When they’re conducting an investigatio

    August 20, 2014

  • Food stamps' $80B secret spending program Imagine a government program that has exploded in size, is the subject of bitter partisan haggling and spends almost $80 billion a year in secret.No, not the National Security Agency, the Central Intelligence Agency or the Department of Homeland Secu

    August 20, 2014

  • Vouchers provide greater choice I was chatting the other day with a fellow who, along with his wife, homeschool his children. We joked about the stereotype: Moms in denim skirts.But then he expounded on the benefits his youngsters have derived from being taught at home: a customize

    August 20, 2014

  • A rare experience Alexandra Petri’s editorial, “What exactly are we seeing in Ferguson” is well written and did something which has increasingly become a rare experience for me. Her article caused me to think!Petri makes the case for media coverage of American events,

    August 19, 2014

Twitter Updates
Facebook
Stocks