Thursday, January 28, 2010

Obama Speaks Directly To Supreme Court And Political Leadership

Despite my opposition to the spending freeze that Obama announced at his State of the Union address, I thought that the president gave a strong speech. Certain passages stood out:

Our administration has had some political setbacks this year, and some of them were deserved.

After eight years of George Bush, who presided over domestic and foreign disasters yet couldn't admit to mistakes, it's refreshing to have a president with the maturity, confidence and honesty to acknowledge that he's not always right.

This year, I will work with Congress and our military to finally repeal the law that denies gay Americans the right to serve the country they love because of who they are.

Not allowing gays to serve is absurd and discriminatory. There was no adverse impact when the military in Israel, Canada and Great Britain ended the ban.

...last week the Supreme Court reversed a century of law that I believe will open the floodgates for special interests –- including foreign corporations –- to spend without limit in our elections. I don't think American elections should be bankrolled by America's most powerful interests, or worse, by foreign entities.

The Supreme Court's conservative judicial activism resulted in a rejection of corporate campaign spending limits. Obama pointed out the dangers to our democracy, including the influence of foreign corporate ownership.

I thought I'd get some applause on that one.

Obama was referring to the Republicans' lack of applause when he mentioned a series of tax cuts made during his first year. The GOP is always touting tax cuts, yet these were made by a Democratic president. In addition, the Republicans would not applaud when Obama proposed a fee on the biggest banks to pay back taxpayers who rescued them.

To Democrats, I would remind you that we still have the largest majority in decades, and the people expect us to solve problems, not run for the hills. And if the Republican leadership is going to insist that 60 votes in the Senate are required to do any business at all in this town -- a supermajority -- then the responsibility to govern is now yours as well. Just saying no to everything may be good short-term politics, but it's not leadership.

Excellent, on-target advice for both parties.


Joshua Levi said...

I am in agreement with your article in toto. I would only
note in particular my agreement with your oppositon to Obama's spending freeze. I am an old-fashioned liberal, for whom workers -- and here I mean professionals and small store owners, as well -- come first.
People aren't complaining that they must earn their bread "by
the sweat of their brow," but they must at least be given a chance to earn it.

Jeff Tone said...

Joshua: You make the distinction quite well.