Tag Archives: President Obama

Sandy’s say: Time for the Responder-In-Chief

Today, on Monday October 29th, most Americans are witnessing an event that could potentially change our nation’s history forever. In fact, it already has. As the East Coast waits with baited breath, Hurricane Sandy storm has already entered world history books as the largest tropical cyclone ever recorded. For the second time in 14 months, New York City has shut down it’s humongous public transportation system. But along with NYC, public transit has also shut down in Washington DC, Philadelphia, Baltimore and across New Jersey, causing tens of millions of Americans to be locked in place. Again, like it or not… that’s historic folks.

But Sandy has also done something else that seemed virtually impossible before November 6th. It has effectively “ended” both Presidential campaigns. As President Obama and Governor Romney both know all too well, this is not the time keep trading barbs in front of the American People. Even after the storm moves through, Americans will most likely be dealing with a lot of challenges in its aftermath. Ask a Gulf Coast resident… Hurricanes never get resolved in just a few weeks. The ramifications, if severe, will last for years to come.

Ironically though, events of this magnitude often change the course of political history. Over the next several days, we’ll probably be seeing just as much (if not more) of Governor Chris Christie as we do either Mitt Romney or Paul Ryan. This will be a time that could truly put the New Jersey Governor, as the most prominent Republican in the wake of this storm, to the test, as well as sow important seeds for his future. And of course, President Obama’s role as “Responder-In-Chief” has never been more crucial.

Which brings me to the point that hasn’t been discussed much in this election season. The most important role of any “executive” public servant… Mayor, city manager, Governor or President, is actually Responder-In-Chief. Being President is much more about the things you cannot control, than the few things that you can. Once the campaign talk is over, the American people get a quick reminder of just how little political campaigns actually predict one’s effectiveness in a job. They then have to see the official in action.

In 2008, President Obama ran a very successful campaign. But when he took office, he became mired in the real world of America’s most pressing issues. He then had to transition from a guy with lots of big ideas, to a guy that could deliver real, tangible results. Some would argue that he hasn’t done that… and they would be WRONG. Against the very long odds of crippling divisiveness in Congress, he was able to accomplish steps that dug our economy out of recession, and put us back on track. Yes, still describe the nation’s jobs record as “lack-luster”. But as Mitt Romney said about his own jobs record in Massacusetts, “It takes a while to get things turned around.” That’s the role of a Responder. You don’t cause the situation you’re in, whatever it is, but you care enough to do something about it. Of course there’s irony that Mr. Romney said this about his record, but doesn’t care enough to extend President Obama the same courtesy. As all of the chatter has consumed the last year, Mr. Obama’s term (hopefully 1st term) in office ends in essentially the same way it began… responding to huge national challenges unseen by this generation. If anything, Sandy is that.

So now in what should have been the final week of an historic campaign, President Obama will get to do what he’s actually best at doing… be President.

My thoughts and prayers go out to all those affected by Huricane Sandy.

Simple Gifts: Bill Clinton’s DNC2012 Speech

Regardless of the actual results on November 6th, former President William Jefferson Clinton made history on September 5th. He gave a speech at the 2012 Democratic National Convention that will be talked about for years to come. The brilliant man that has traversed every corner of the USA and the globe delivered a speech last night that was as down home as an Arkansas watermelon. And yet, he countered the falsehoods of the GOP and Romney/Ryan campaign in one 48-minute swoop. He was able to not only give a speech about policy details (Ezra Klein even referred to him as the “Wonk-In-Chief“), but also that landed on the very pulse of the American people. Simple. Direct. Genius.

But even beyond the budget specifics, perhaps the most effective thing President Clinton’s speech happened in the first 20 minutes. He reminded the American people that bi-partisanship is a two-way street. As many attempts as President Obama made to reach out to the GOP, they would have none of it. He also did something that few Democrats today are willing to do… told us that the GOP of 2012 has been taken over by its extremes. Try as they might, this is not the party of Ronald Reagan, or even Bush 43. They have lost their ability to compromise, and to GOVERN. Time and again this was evidenced through House GOP mutiny from Speaker John Boehner over the debt-ceiling fight, to the incessant repetition of 33 votes to “repeal Obamacare”. The Republican Party in Washington has a real problem.

Of course you don’t need masterful Clintonian rhetoric to figure out that the current iteration of the Republican Party is a mess… just ask a Ron Paul supporter. Ask them why the party went from state to state to change their party rules and ensure that Paul would be flushed out of the primary. Ask them why Mr. Ron Paul got 190 delegates (which even that is up for debate, based on whether the Paul supporters would be willing to sue) but wasn’t even allowed to speak at the Convention. If they can’t unite the inner factions of their party, why should we trust them to be able to unite and govern the country?

Here’s the full video of President Clinton’s speech…

Pioneer-in-Chief: How Obama opened the door for marriage equality

Well looking back on it, we are now safe to assume that May 9th, 2012 will be a historical mile-marker in the history of GLBT Civil Rights. Sure, President Obama is one man, but he’s also the President. His stance in support of same-sex marriage rights didn’t change any laws, but it has had a firestorm of consequences.

Public Opinion on same-sex marriage was already turning rapidly, but with President Obama’s completed “evolution”, it’s now swung the other way. For the first time in history, a majority of our country now supports same-sex marriage rights. The numbers get even crazier on a state basis. Take Maryland, where Gov. Martin O’Malley and the legislature just legalized gay marriage in March. The new law is facing the ususal opposition though, and a referendum is expected to make the November ballot. But after the President revealed his opinion, opposition among blacks is literally falling off of a cliff. Last month, the black community in Maryland opposed gay marrige by 55%. Now it has swung in the other direction with 57% of black Maryland residents in favor. Almost overnight.

Following fast on the heels of Obama’s announcement, the NAACP has now formally marriage equality, stressing that “Civil marriage is a civil right and a matter of civil law.” This doesn’t mean that all black churches agree with the religious institution of homosexual marriage, but they can all agree that all citizens are entitled to civil marriage, and to let churches do as they wish. Thus, opposition to gay marriage has eroded swiftly in the black community. Again it’s not law, but where organizations like the NAACP go, so goes public opinion, and ultimately a change in the law.

And so the tide turns… prominent celebrities like Will Smith and Jay-Z have joined the President’s stance. With each day, support for equality grows, and so grows the confidence within the gay community. Perhaps you see it too.