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President Obama left little doubt about where he stands, but that’s not the last word

Published: Wed, January 23, 2013 @ 12:00 a.m.

President Barack Obama could have used his second inaugural address Monday as an opportunity to offer an olive branch to his political opponents, but he chose what some will see as a more confrontational tone. Others will see it simply as more honest.

Obama’s theme was transparently liberal. He defended Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security as programs that “do not make us a nation of takers; they free is to take the risks that made this country great” and talked about helping the poor and shoring up the middle class. His warning about global warming practically fell out of the sky and his call for marriage equality for gay couples went beyond prior declarations on the subject.

But spare us the feigned shock of U.S. Sen John McCain, who told The New York Times, “I would have liked to see a little more on outreach and working together” in the speech.

Republican House leaders have made it clear that they believe they were elected to represent a conservative constituency. It should come as no surprise that President Obama decided to accentuate his liberal side Monday.

The last two years have been dominated by partisan political themes. Republicans made it clear that their priority was to make Obama a one-term president. Obama dug in his heels and waged an ultimately successful battle for re-election.

But while the drama produced political winners and losers, ultimately the big decisions didn’t get made until the nation teetered on the brink of disaster. And in the case of the debt limit stand-off, billions were lost on the stock market in reaction to the mindless intransigence in Congress. The House will vote today on yet another debt bill that does little more than, once again, kick the can down the road.

No cause for confusion

Obama’s inaugural address essentially set the record straight. He has an agenda. The Republicans in Congress have an agenda. Now that there can be no confusion about their philosophies, goals and aspirations, they can begin looking at how they are going to go about working together.

There is no time to be wasted, and the nation’s budget challenges remain a top priority. The blue print for addressing that challenge remains that drawn by the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform formed in 2010. It was headed by former Sen. Alan Simpson, R-Wyo., and Democrat Erskine Bowles, a former White House chief of staff for President Clinton. The administration and Congress have flinched each time they have had the opportunity to take the serious medicine prescribed by Simpson-Bowles. Meanwhile, the fiscal health of the nation only gets worse.

In matters of the budget and other pressing issues, neither side can afford to take anything off the table. Neither can pretend that compromise consists of one side saying “here’s what I need” and the other side giving in.

It is up to House Republicans, Senate Democrats and the White House to use the three months afforded it by the debt limit extension negotiating the kind of difficult taxing and spending compromises that were part of the Simpson-Bowles plan.

And it is up to them to use the next year — before everyone’s partisan gaze becomes fixed on the 2014 off-year elections — to get some work done on other priorities.

Obama has declared his liberal inclinations. The Republicans in the House and Senate have declared their conservative bent. But here’s the problem. The nation is arguably not as liberal as Blue State Obama or as conservative as Red State Republicans.

The majority of Americans tend toward purple, and it is incumbent on Congress and the president to govern accordingly.


1papa1(711 comments)posted 3 years, 5 months ago

wrong. the national priority should be jobs, jobs, and jobs. picking up the middle class because that's where it all starts. consumers create jobs.

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2ulistenup(95 comments)posted 3 years, 5 months ago

I am appalled that Obama mentioned "gay marriage" in this speech.

He is just pandering to people who have no right to consider their unions "marriages." It's not only asinine, it's just plain sick. I don't care what the "law says" in these crazy states.

Our society was founded on families - with one mother, one father and children.

Obama should be promoting that.

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3redeye1(5612 comments)posted 3 years, 5 months ago

Obammy is as two faced as one can get .He's plain and simple an egotist unto himself.

papa the budget deficit should be the number one issue. Reason being if we don't lower it starting now , more jobs won't matter because our taxes will be so high that those that are working won't have enough bring home pay to survive.

Yes jobs are important , but Obammy doesn't really care about the middle class. If you really listened to his speech the only thing he trully cares about is himself and only himself. Because if he did care about the people and this country . He would have said things like let's work together to fix our problems, but, No he said we do it my way and only my way, Witth no compromising from him.

All I say is God Bless America, because I don't think allah will

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476Ytown(1340 comments)posted 3 years, 5 months ago

Obama isn't willing to cut the budget or tackle the debt. His idea of job creation is bigger government.

So he vowed not to make changes in Medicare and Social security which are, and will continue to be in trouble unless we make changes to protect it for future generations.

He has an arrogant and stubborn non bipartisan stance when it comes to any idea the republicans present, he says republicans won't compromise?.

A leader sets the example and tone, offers solutions, rather than divide and conquer.

Yep, transparently liberal.

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5GoPens(397 comments)posted 3 years, 5 months ago

Do you believe that "All men are created equal"..one of the foundations that this country is built on? If not, then move.

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6papa1(711 comments)posted 3 years, 5 months ago

president obama is a liberal progressive, which means he is all about helping to pick up those who have been run over by reagonomics. the trickle down theory has been tried for decades and has failed miserably. the country will grow and prosper from the middle out. i am straight but guess what, there are millions of gay and lesbians living in our country and they're not going away. are they hurting you? are they a threat to your way of life? we are all human beings created by God. would you deny them happiness? i try to live by the golden rule, " do unto others as you would have them do unto you." if the whole world would adopt this message, the world would be a much better place. that's what liberals try to do, make the country a place where fairness and equality rule. where people can live and prosper in any way they choose, as long as they don't infringe on the rights of others. where nobody is hungry, or lacking the basics of life, liberty, and the pursuits of happiness. and this isn't socialism, it's americanism!!

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7GoPens(397 comments)posted 3 years, 5 months ago

It is amazing papa that the most "religious" among us are the biggest ignorers of the Golden Rule.

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8redeye1(5612 comments)posted 3 years, 5 months ago

GoPens we are all created equal but that dosen't mean that others have to give up things , so that the lazy can have the same quality of life. If you want what others have then you should get out like the rest of us and bust your ass to get ahead

Papa once again if want what I have get off your lazy ass and work to get it. Since you like to quote God words "How about God helps those that help thmselves"

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9papa1(711 comments)posted 3 years, 5 months ago

gopens, you might have had contact with persons like you describe but i assure you i am not one of them. if you treat me well, i will return the gesture. if you act like an @$$hole, i will treat you like an @$$hole.

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10jojuggie(1701 comments)posted 3 years, 5 months ago

Barack Obama: 'marriage is between a man and a woman' - Telegraph

As Obama stated in 2008

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