LET’S DO BETTER
Terry McMillan’s best seller, which became a movie in 1998, “How Stella Got Her Groove Back,” made 21st century women think differently of romantic relationships. Journalist Katie Couric and actress Gabrielle Union portray such sentiments in their selections of younger men. While we are not comparing President Barack Obama’s marriage to McMillan’s fiction, we are making such comparison with his “State of the Union” message. Obama’s legacy is in trouble. Will his message make a difference? Will Obama get his groove back?
Since 1930, at this time (sixth year of presidency), the only president who had a lower approval rating than President Obama is George W. Bush. A CNN poll taken days before the State of Union message revealed Obama’s approval rating stood at 44 percent. Six in 10 of respondents said they were pessimistic or uncertain about the future. Even though 61 percent reported they were satisfied with their own financial situation, 71 percent were dissatisfied with the overall economy. And, although 48 percent of Americans favor the Affordable Care Act, the majority of Americans contended it was a bad idea. In addition, there are Democrats contending for Congressional seats that view the president as a risk, and are not soliciting his help for their elections and re-elections.
The president could expect the usual political hassles to which all elected officials, especially the president, fall victim. Whether Democrat or Republican, polarization and undercutting are common occurrences. However, President Obama’s race contributed to his ability to succeed. The racial factor was not only apparent to African Americans. Journalist Chris Matthews and President Jimmy Carter contended some white Republicans and Tea Party members systematically attempted to cause the president failure. Race overrode politics in some instances.
Yet, the president was charged to lead the country, despite the racial obstacles. Now that he is in his second term, and his political allegiances are not as important as in the first term, he can take some risk. The president has another favorable reality, being some of his proposed policies meet the approval of the majority of Americans. Consequently, he rightfully said, in reference to policy changes, “When I can take steps with out congressional approval, that’s what I’m going to do.”
The president said Vice President Joe Biden will head a training program, which will prepare people for unfilled skilled jobs. He said he will restore unemployment benefits for 1.6 million people. The majority of Americans support job creation and will likely stand by the president in efforts to prepare community colleges to retrain Americans for technical jobs. President Obama said he will require all recipients of federal contracting dollars to pay their employees $10.10 hourly. He said programs will be put in place to help African American males meet their fullest potential. These aforementioned policies do not require congressional approval.
The president spoke of changes he desires and challenged Congress to join him. He said the minimum wage must be increased, women deserve equal pay for equal work (women earn 77 cents for every one dollar earned by a man) and a new way (in addition to social security) for retirement savings is a necessity. However, this “new way” must not have the risks as normal investments.
The majority of Americans support the president’s policies. He is not eligible for reelection and thus exempt from making decisions to please certain groups. Michelle’s got his back and America’s heart. Unemployment is down and the stock market is up. Finally, with all of the barriers the president faced, he never lost his “swag.” Therefore, he is a prime candidate to “get his groove back.”