Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Time For Action

While we're delaying our full evaluation of the President's State of The Union address - at least until tomorrow - in the spirit of the President's multiple calls to action Tuesday night, we wanted to act today to get out our initial brief evaluation of his annual address. For most of our staff, that meant staying up a bit later than usual, and staying inside where the heat is cranked up against the latest polar vortex that's blasted virtually every state in the lower 48, that sits east of the Rocky Mountains.

With the bitter cold rattling just outside our own windows, we tended to agree with Michael Tomasky of The Daily Beast - our political hearts weren't exactly warmed by the President's address. There were positive moments during the address, for example when the President was standing up for the working poor and for equal pay for women. We also loved it when he stood up for campaign finance reform, saying, "It should be the power of our votes, not the size of our bank accounts that drives our democracy."

We also thought it was bold and correct of the President to call out the anti-science climate change deniers last night. He solidly knocked them back when he stated clearly, "The debate is settled — Climate change is a FACT." As the President confirmed, and as we've long agreed with, the questions on the issue have long since moved from the existence of climate change to the effects of climate change.

That's been obvious in the Midwest and Eastern half of our nation this winter, where one of those effects of rapid climate change has been a massive increase in the use of fuel to heat our homes and businesses. With multiple arctic blasts hitting repeatedly over the past few weeks, there's been a significantly increased demand for fuel to keep us warm, like propane and natural gas. That high demand has turned into a real monster for the pocketbooks of many.

Thanks to the President taking action a few years ago though, with his "All Of The Above" energy strategy, America has more fuel than we once did - and that likely held prices down further than we realize.

That point - that Americans are tired of pointless actions coming from Washington, DC - came through loud and clear when President Obama slammed the Republicans in Congress for wasting more than 40 sessions voting against Obamacare.

In fact, while there are many more things we would have liked to have heard from President Obama, that he's finally ready to act whenever and wherever he can - even if Congress won't get off their fat collective ass - was probably the single best reminder of how much he's already done without their help.

The President pushing Congress to pass Obamacare was a major action during his tenure so far, one that's proving more successful every day. Efforts like the 'Race to the Top' program have been action. The "All of the Above" energy strategy that President Obama has championed for years now? That's been action too. The President even hammered home the fact that he'll act without Congress by announcing before the State of The Union address, that he'll raise the base minimum wage for all future federal contract employees.

Meanwhile, Republican Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers' official GOP response - one of four responses from the highly divided Republican Party - was filled with vague promises of plans and standard GOP platitudes, with no specific solutions for action.

The message the President delivered last night was clear: If Congress doesn't act, he will. We just hope he goes all the way this time. We know Congress - especially Republicans in Congress - are going to continue to act like monsters and bullies for any American they disagree with, unless we dump most of them from office this fall.

As we've said for many long years, and as the President echoed our mantra last night, "Nothing in life that's worth anything is easy." As the President noted, this is no longer time for debate.

It's time Americans acted, to do the hard thing, and elect a Congress this fall that's actually willing to do their jobs for us, the American people.

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