Tag Archives: Barack Obama

Now comes the time for negotiation

President Barack Obama has just given his congressional Republican foes something with which to negotiate in the drive to boost the nation’s economy.

Will they take the deal or will they insist – as they seemingly always do – that the president isn’t dealing in good faith, or some such nonsense.


Obama has proposed a dramatic reduction in corporate tax rates in exchange for spending on infrastructure improvement, the kind of thing that at least one notable Republican president – Dwight Eisenhower – used to favor.

Now, where I come from, Obama has just given the Republicans who control the House of Representatives and who comprise a sizable minority in the Senate, something upon which to negotiate.

The spending program would produce more jobs for those willing to work on infrastructure improvements – roads and bridges, that sort of thing. Politicians of both parties say they want to put more people back to work. Republicans, meanwhile, insist that corporations pay too much in taxes. Thus, the president has gone the extra mile – maybe two or three – in meeting their demands.

Initial reaction to the plan, as reported by The Hill, is lukewarm at best. “The plan, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) insisted, was ‘an unmistakable signal that the president has backed away from his campaign-era promise to corporate America that tax reform would be revenue-neutral to them,’” the Hill reported.

Maybe McConnell is merely using that response as a negotiating ploy. Then again, maybe it’s just the Republicans digging in their heels yet again on another proposal from their Democratic adversary in the White House.

If it’s the latter, we’re heading for a rocky autumn season, courtesy of continuing GOP intransigence.

Obama: We won the Korean War

President Barack Obama made an interesting – some might say startling – assertion the other day in commemorating the 60th anniversary of the truce that stopped the fighting during the Korean War.

He said the good guys actually won the war.


The Korean War long has been thought of as the nation’s “forgotten war,” coming so soon after the end of the World War II and as another war, in Vietnam, was just beginning to get stoked. Roughly 40,000 Americans died during the Korean War in some of the most intense and bloody combat this nation has ever seen.

It’s also been a matter of conventional wisdom that the fighting ended in a stalemate. South and North Korea never have signed a peace treaty. An armistice – plus the presence of U.S. military personnel and the threat of nuclear annihilation – have kept the two sides from shooting at each other.

President Obama put a different spin on the outcome while paying tribute to the U.S. veterans who fought in Korea.

“That war was no tie. Korea was a victory,” he said at a Washington ceremony in remarks to Korean War veterans. “When 50 million South Koreans live in freedom, a vibrant democracy … a stark contrast to the repression and poverty of the North, that is a victory and that is your legacy.”

When you look at it that way, the Korean War surely was a victory for our side.

The president also said this:

“Unlike World War II, Korea did not galvanize our country, these veterans did not return to parades. Unlike Vietnam, Korea did not tear at our country, these veterans did not return to protests.

“Among many Americans tired of war, there was, it seems, a desire to forget, to move on. Here in America, no war should ever be forgotten, no veteran should ever be overlooked.”

This veteran thanks you, Mr. President.

What? Cruz, Cornyn and Obama on same side?

I believe hell has just frozen over.

U.S. Sens. Ted Cruz and John Cornyn, two stalwart Texas Republicans, have locked arms with the Democratic president of the United States, Barack Obama, in support of a student loan bill that rolls back a plan to double interest rates for students who have to pay back their college loans.

I’m pinching myself. I’m still here, yes?


The bill sailed through the Senate with an 81-18 vote. Republican Utah Sen. Mike Lee was the lone GOP vote against it; Democrat Claire McCaskill of Missouri did not vote.

And get a load of this: The Republican-controlled House of Representatives is expected to approve the legislation in about a month, enabling the president to sign quickly into law.

The bill essentially ties student loan interest rates to the market, which effectively kills the plan that would have doubled the interest rates students would be charged. The effect of that would have a serious impact on non-scholarship students’ ability to pay for college.

We all want our young people to get as much education as possible, yes?

As the San Antonio Express-News reported, the bill would have an impact on approximately 650,000 Texas college students.

I’m glad — no, delighted — to see this demonstration of bipartisanship, especially when it involves two fire-breathing Republican senators from Texas.

I do not, though, expect it continue. Politics is politics, you know, and that means the two sides are going to look for reasons to sink their teeth into each other’s throat. 

President needed to say it

I heard President Obama’s remarks today about race relations in the wake of the George Zimmerman acquittal in Florida.

The president was on point.


This is the kind of talk — you can’t call it a “speech” because he delivered it without notes — is what you get when an important person has no more political campaigns to wage. He’s done. Three-plus more years and he’s gone, heading back to Chicago to write his memoir, give a lot of speeches and start working on his presidential library.

The president’s tone was stunning in its personal nature. He made no judgment on the rightness of the verdict that acquitted Zimmerman of second-degree murder in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin. He has left that for the judicial system to sort out. He didn’t weigh in on whether the Justice Department should file civil rights charges against Zimmerman.

No. Instead he spoke of the deep feelings he harbors about how people treat African-Americans. The president spoke of knowing — as an African-American — how it feels to hear car doors lock when a black man walks across the street, or when he enters an elevator and a woman clutches her purse a little more tightly.

Yes, we need to have some serious talk among ourselves about race in this country.

Who better to lead that discussion than the president of the United States of America?