Tuesday, May 27, 2014

A summer of action for President Obama

There will be no lazy days of summer for this White House. If you want to know what we'll all be talking about soon, take a look at how President Obama is setting the table for action over the next few months.

First of all, tomorrow he will give the commencement address at West Point.
President Barack Obama will use his speech at the West Point commencement Wednesday to lay out a broad vision of American foreign policy that a White House official Saturday called “both interventionist and internationalist, but not isolationist or unilateral.”
Those of us who have been listening to him since his Nobel Peace Prize Acceptance Speech and watching him act on the world stage will likely hear the Obama Doctrine affirmed. But for the isolationists and unilateralists, it will once again confuse them and spark an interesting debate.

Next Monday President Obama will announce the new EPA rules governing carbon emissions from existing power plants. As Jonathan Cohn suggests, this is a BFD.
Along with other steps the administration has taken, like setting higher fuel standards for cars and trucks, the new regulations could make climate change action one of Obama’s signature achievements—something historians will cite alongside Obamacare, rescue of the auto industry, and the Recovery Act. As Jonathan Chait has written in New York magazine, “By the normal standards of progress Obama has amassed an impressive record so far on climate change.”
Coral Davenport reminds us that this announcement will impact the discussion about climate change beyond our own borders.
China and the United States, the world’s two largest economies and greenhouse gas polluters, are locked in a stalemate over global warming. While today China pollutes more than the United States, Chinese officials insist that, as a developing economy, China should not be forced to take carbon-cutting actions. China has demanded that the United States, as the world’s historically largest polluter, go first. Chinese policy experts say that Mr. Obama’s regulation could end that standoff.

“If the standard is really stringent, that will make a difference in the domestic debate in China,” Mr. Qi said.
In mid-June Afghanistan will finalize their presidential election, which should pave the way for a status of forces agreement with the U.S. and a formal end to that war. Then the question becomes: will we finally be ready to end the indefinite war that began 13 years ago following 9/11?
My fellow Americans, we have traveled through more than a decade under the dark cloud of war. Yet here, in the pre-dawn darkness of Afghanistan, we can see the light of a new day on the horizon. The Iraq War is over. The number of our troops in harm’s way has been cut in half, and more will be coming home soon. We have a clear path to fulfill our mission in Afghanistan, while delivering justice to al Qaeda...

This time of war began in Afghanistan, and this is where it will end.
July brings the deadline for negotiations with Iran over their nuclear program. If a deal can be finalized, that will be a HUGE vindication of the Obama Doctrine.

And finally, President Obama and Congressional Democrats have given Speaker Boehner until August to pass comprehensive immigration reform. If he fails to do that, the President will sign an executive order altering the current priorities for deportations and setting off a firestorm of debate on that issue.

So while Republicans continue to ensure that this is the least productive Congress in modern history and want to focus on non-existent scandals related to Obamacare and Benghazi, this President is working on all of the above PLUS his Year of Action agenda. That should provide an interesting contrast for the upcoming midterm elections.

Oh, and about that lame duck President thingy? Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!!!! Don't make me laugh.

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