Archive for December 21st, 2010

21
Dec
10

london calling

President Barack Obama talks with British Prime Minister David Cameron during a phone call in the Oval Office, Dec. 21, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

21
Dec
10

‘the lame duck wins are adding up for Obama’

Salon / Steve Kornacki: Despite their leaders’ bluster, Senate Republicans do not have the votes to block ratification of the New START treaty. When a vote to end the GOP’s filibuster was called on Wednesday afternoon, 11 Republican senators broke with their party. With a total of 67 senators voting to kill the filibuster, the path now seems clear for the chamber to formally ratify the treaty, which calls for the U.S. and Russia to pare back their nuclear arsenals over the next seven years, on Wednesday.

Needless to say, this represents a significant political victory for Barack Obama — and not his first one this lame duck session. The White House worked intently to win over Republican support, which was more crucial than usual on START because of the two-thirds requirement for treaty ratification, and overcame a series of increasingly creative objections from some GOP senators who were intent on denying Obama a key item on his December wish list.

…. START still needs to be officially ratified, and the fate of the 9/11 bill is still up in the air; there are signs that Democrats have the votes to pass it, but Republican Sen. Tom Coburn is threatening to kill it with procedural delays. If the bill ends up clearing Congress, it will serve as another clear victory for Obama.

…Think of it this way: If you had said in the immediate wake of the November election …. that by the end of the year, the START treaty would be ratified, DADT would be history, and $300 billion of new stimulus would be authorized by Congress (with Republican support), you probably would have been laughed at. But it will all soon be a reality — and there’s a real chance that passage of the 9/11 healthcare bill will be too.

21
Dec
10

it gets better

21
Dec
10

‘obama is suffering because of his achievements, not despite them’

Vanity Fair / Todd Purdum – Extracts: With this weekend’s decisive Senate repeal of the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy …. can anyone seriously doubt Barack Obama’s patient willingness to play the long game? Or his remarkable success in doing so?

In less than two years in office — often against the odds and the smart money’s predictions at any given moment — Obama has managed to achieve a landmark overhaul of the nation’s health insurance system; the most sweeping change in the financial regulatory system since the Great Depression; the stabilization of the domestic auto industry; and the repeal of a once well-intended policy that even the military itself had come to see as unnecessary and unfair.

So why isn’t his political standing higher?

Precisely because of the raft of legislative victories he’s achieved. Obama has pushed through large and complicated new government initiatives at a time of record-low public trust in government ….

… Obama knows better than most people that politics is the art of the possible, and an endless cycle of two steps forward, one step back. So he just keeps putting one foot in front of the other, confident that he can get where he wants to go, eventually.

… The Obama White House is reportedly considering whether the president should hold one last pre-Christmas news conference before heading off to Hawaii for vacation. There wouldn’t seem to be any real downside to doing so. But I’ll wager that the part-time law professor in Obama is remembering the maxim Res ipsa loquitur. “The thing speaks for itself.” Ah, if just once it could.

Read the full article here

21
Dec
10

doing the right thing

Huffington Post – Billie Jean King: Years from now we may look back on Saturday’s repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell” and wonder why it was such as big deal in the first place. But today, as we analyze the impact of the 17 year struggle for recognition and acceptance forced upon gays and lesbians in our military, it is a big deal.

This would not have happened without the leadership of President Obama and it’s a victory for all of us and a celebration of doing the right thing.

……I am proud to be an American and I am honored to have the men and women who serve in our armed forces put their lives on the line to protect our nation. Their race, gender or sexual orientation does not matter to me. What matters most is their commitment to our country.

And that is a big deal.

21
Dec
10

“i intend to fulfill my commitment”

Last year, Sandy Tsao, an army officer based in St. Louis, Mo, told her superiors she was gay — a violation of the Don’t ask, Don’t Tell law. Tsao then wrote to President Obama, urging him to change the policy: “I do hope, Mr. President, that you will help us to win the war against prejudice.” In May, Tsao received a handwritten letter from the President with a pledge to repeal DADT:

Promise kept.

21
Dec
10

“how ya like me now?”

Eugene Robinson: President Obama must be tempted to respond to his progressive critics with a quote from the old-school rapper Kool Moe Dee: “How ya like me now?”

Repeal of the military’s bigoted and anachronistic “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy on gays in the military—a campaign promise that seemed to be slipping out of reach—doesn’t fully mend the relationship between Obama and the Democratic Party’s liberal wing. But it’s a pretty terrific start.

…. Obama won vindication for the slow, patient, step-by-step approach that drove gay and lesbian activists crazy but ultimately produced a stunning result.

…for President Obama and the left, this is an important milestone—a reminder that even in dysfunctional Washington, what Sarah Palin derided as “that hopey-changey stuff” can still produce real hope and change.

Read full article here




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