For Obama, Action Is Best Answer to Slights By Fellow Pols
Shrugging off disrespect, Obama gets down to business
As pictures of Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer with her finger pointed in the face of President Barack Obama’s surfaced Thursday, a swell of old memories came back which understandably brought into question the earnestness of some pols’ pronounced respect for the office of the presidency.
Who can forget Rep. Joe Wilson’s outburst during the 2009 State of the Union over the question of whether the health care reform bill Obama was pushing would protect illegal immigrants. Obama said it would not. Wilson replied, “You lie!”
"It was spontaneous,” Wilson said. “It was when he stated, as he did, about not covering illegal aliens, when I knew we had those two amendments, and I say that respectfully," Wilson said.
[Also read "Five People President Obama Needs To Check"]
The president’s cool, graceful demeanor strikes some as a liability when it comes to the dirty game of politics.
“I sometimes think of Obama's dispassion as a weakness. But on days like this I believe dispassion is the only way to deal [with] the nonsense,” New York Times Op-Ed columnist Charles Blow said in a tweet Thursday, largely in response to the president’s altercation with Brewer.
But several developments over the past few months indicate that though Obama may not respond directly to what many deem as blatant acts of disrespect, he has been authoritative and even unilateral decisions for what he says he is the good of the country.
Republicans are still questioning the appointment of Richard Cordray as head of the new Consumer Finance Protection Bureau during a brief recess in the senate. Republicans had repeatedly blocked Obama’s veteran appointment, citing the yet unproven agency had too much power.
Democrats insisted the agency would only exist to enforce already existed consumer financial protections already in place.
"It is not our intention to start going off and acting like we're some sort of mini-Congress, just doing anything we think is good and right," Cordray told the House Oversight and Government Reform subcommittee, which had long sought to block his confirmation.
"Despite the doomsday predictions of some of our Republican colleagues, President Obama's very sensible and timely appointment of Richard Cordray to head the CFPB has not brought about a plague of locusts or embarked the four horsemen of the apocalypse on their journey," said Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.).
The State of the Union address was delivered with Obama’s trademark aplomb. But his most memorable lines were warnings, a sign of a president on the offensive.
"I intend to fight obstruction with action, and I will oppose any effort to return to the very same policies that brought on this economic crisis in the first place, said Obama, indicating that he is fed up with -- and likely cannot afford -- partisan bickering and inaction.
"The greatest blow to confidence in our economy last year didn’t come from events beyond our control. It came from a debate in Washington over whether the United States would pay its bills or not. Who benefited from that fiasco?," he said.
To that end, Obama met with business leaders last year and got commitment from companies to provide 180,000 jobs for young people in a program called Summer Jobs+.
These are commitments he and his administration was able to secure.
“America’s young people face record unemployment, and we need to do everything we can to make sure they’ve got the opportunity to earn the skills and a work ethic that come with a job,” Obama said. “It’s important for their future, and for America’s. That’s why I proposed a summer jobs program for youth in the American Jobs Act – a plan that Congress failed to pass.
“America’s youth can’t wait for Congress to act.”