Wednesday, February 25, 2009

453. Obama

Last night, the 44th President of the United States of America addressed the Congress and the people of America in prime time. His report on the state of the union was grim but hopeful. By now everyone has written all the highlights as well as the afterthoughts and responses of those in lesser positions of leadership, including Governor Bobby Jindal of Louisiana. In his speech, the president asked for much and for the sake of the country, the Congress should give him what he has asked for.

But for a minute, let's revisit Election Night 2008. Several people asked last night and in this morning's papers, and no doubt on all the talking-head shows I never watch, "What gives him the idea he can ask for so much?" The answer is simple. He has a mandate from the people of America. Back on November 4th, in an historic election with the greatest turnout in 40 years, 52% of the voters cast a ballot for Barack Obama - I was one of them. 9,522,083 more people thought a Democrat should lead the nation than a Republican. Of the 50 states, Obama won 28 of them. He also picked up the electoral vote of Nebraska's Second Congressional District, which is made up of the city of Omaha and its suburbs in Douglas and Sarpy counties, an area represented in the Congress since 1999 by Republican Lee Terry. The point is President Obama has a right to ask for these things because we the people gave him that right in no uncertain terms.

Watching the President's Address to the Congress, I was mostly struck by those occassions, several, where the Republicans sat on their hands, denying the decision of the November 4th voters, and defying the current 64% approval rating of the president and by extension, his policies, programs, and proposals. I did see Senators McCain and McConnell occassionally offer applause, but not much. When the entire Republican House and all but three members of the Republican Senate decided with their No votes that partisanship is more important that patriotism, I then decided we don't need them.

Although the Democrats don't have the magic 60th Senate vote to keep the Republican Obstructionist-In-Chief Mitch McConnell from obstructing progress for the next two years, it is very obvious the Democratic Party is in ascendancy, an ascendancy begun in 2006 along the Left Bank of the Ohio River near Milepost 606 here in the 3rd Congressional District of Kentucky by the election of Congressman John Yarmuth. That determination, to set right the politics and policies of Republicans leading back from Dick Cheney to George Bush to Newt Gingrich to Ronald Reagan and to the Barry Goldwater of 1964, is spreading from that 2006 beginning - spreading into places like North Carolina and Indiana and Virginia and Colorado and Nevada and the Second Congressional District of Nebraska.

Back in January, I posted an entry which, inter alia, speaks of the 2010 congressional midterms, a time when the Party in control of the White House historically loses seats. And while the current times are historic, they are demonstrably different than most midterms given the state of the economy. Many have said or are saying we are in the worst economic times since the Republican-created Great Depression of the 1920s. Others have said we are, in fact, in a second Depression. In 1932, the voters elected a Democrat, Franklin Roosevelt, who proceded to try and fix what was wrong with America - and then like now, much was wrong. The history books write the fixing didn't happen right away. In fact, it took a very long time. But the voters, the people who make our Democracy a Republic, were fed up with the Republican excesses of the 1920s and they gave FDR something different in his first set of midterms - even more Democrats, and thus even more time.

So, with the support of the American people, the Democratic Congress led by the Democratic President are taking steps to reform and rebuild America while the Republicans are, as they were last night, doing nothing but sitting down on the job.

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The Archives at Milepost 606


Louisville, Kentucky, United States
Never married, liberal Democrat, born in 1960, opinionated but generally pleasant, member of the Episcopal Church. Graduate of Prestonia Elementary, Durrett High, and Spalding University; the first two now-closed Jefferson County Public Schools, the latter a very small liberal arts college in downtown Louisville affiliated with the Roman Catholic Sisters of Charity of Nazareth. My vocation and avocation is politics. My favorite pastime is driving the backroads of Kentucky and southern Indiana, visiting small towns, political hangouts, courthouses, churches, and cemeteries. You are welcome to ride with me sometime.