If Republicans Can Follow President Obama’s Instructions from #SOTU…There Would Be More Policy And Less Politics

Mo-Ivory-WhiteHouse-SOTU-ReviewYes, he had a lot of swagger last night.

Yes, there was an amazing moment when President Obama put the Republicans in their place…in a monumental way.

Yes, the speech was well written, concise and delivered flawlessly.

But more than anything else, President Obama sent a very clear message, several times throughout the SOTU speech that he wants policy rather than politics and instructed the GOP to hear him loud and clear…don’t send me any bills that don’t line up with my policies OR I will veto it.

Policy…not politics!

We all know the power of the presidential veto. Article I, section 7 of the Constitution grants the President the authority to veto legislation passed by Congress. Translation, President Obama doesn’t have to sign any legislation sent to him by the majority Republican Congress if he doesn’t like it because in America when you are voted into office by a majority of American voters, that’s the power you get.

But why, oh why, can’t the Republicans accept this, work with the President, and present legislation that is balanced, incorporates their ideas without dismissing, chastising and ignoring the ideas of the majority and the leader they chose?

Policy…not politics!

Despite President Obama issuing Statements of Administrative Policy that make clear his agenda, the last one dated January 2015, the Republicans still seem unclear as to what issues they need to compromise on in order to pass legislation that benefits the lives of the citizens they represent. Why is this all so difficult?

On the Economy, President Obama was very clear…pass a balanced budget that benefits working class Americans with tax overhauls that raise tax rates for the wealthy to help fund bare necessities for the working class like affordable child care and free community college.

On Healthcare, President Obama reminded the majority Congress that more people are insured than ever before and that health care inflation is at its lowest rate in 50 years. So, if that’s not clear for the GOP, it means efforts to overturn Obamacare, which is law in this land, will be vetoed. Promptly.

Policy…not politics.

On immigration, President Obama spoke of his executive action to shield millions of undocumented immigrants from deportation and again made it clear that he will veto any act by Congress to send him legislation that attempts to overturn that. Already, even before the SOTU address, Republicans in the House passed a bill to do just that. It won’t likely get past in the Senate vote but sends a clear message from the Republican establishment…politics as usual. At least for the next two years.

On Cuba, President Obama was clear that he wants to end the economic embargo, open the doors to Cuba.

On ISIS, President Obama was clear he wants the authority to use force against ISIL.

On Free Trade, President Obama want deals that are not just free but fair and allow him to fast track these deals through Congress without prolonged debate and negotiation.

On and on…read the speech.

Policy…not politics.

But is that really possible for the Republicans?

That would mean putting aside personal feelings of ill-will toward this President.

Swallowing their pride and ego’s for the next 2 years and working in the spirit of cooperation.

Appearing to accept the authority of a Democratic African-American President.

Not likely.

Almost seems un-American, not the way our two party system works, not the way the 1% does business, not the way money and power remains the top priority. Not the way the wealthy ensure they control the world economy.

So, let me be honest. As I watched the SOTU speech from inside the White House, as flashes of pictures of President Obama in his youth were in a split screen while he delivered his speech, as I participated in the post conversation with White House Senior Level Advisor Dan Pfieffer, I became hopeful, thinking free community college for my 16 year-old would be a great option for a single mother like me, thinking one day, I will lay on beach in Havana.

I quickly came out of my Obama-daze and remembered…politics always come before policy.


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