Monday, January 21, 2013

The Next Four

Today, you may be seeing some familiar faces on TV. A few Nevadans are fortunate enough to see President Obama's Second Inauguration in person. And here's what they have to say about Obama's second term.

“We’re no longer at ‘our goal is to make him a one-term president.’ We’re done with that,” [OFA Super-volunteer Linda] Cavazos said. “I see a different look on his face. ... I don’t think he looks at it as a mandate. I think he sees this (term) as, this is what you elected me to do.” [...]

“Something very near and dear to my heart is the Dream Act,” she said. “But I’m hoping it’s even broader than the Dream Act. I want to see them work on the entire issue of immigration. I’m in favor of reform.” [...]

“I’m hoping for comprehensive changes in clean energy, especially coming from Nevada,” said Caty Roske, 22, a Henderson resident attending the inauguration for the first time thanks to tickets her mother won through a lottery conducted by Sen. Harry Reid’s office.

“I anticipate some real stuff on environmental issues,” said her boyfriend, Joe Foley, 24, of Summerlin, also making his first inauguration trip. “Maybe requiring recycling in all the states. Hopefully he can help influence China and India (on emissions). That’s what I’m really hoping for.” [...]

“He made a good start with gun control. We grew up with guns; we were hunters,” said [Iraq War veteran David] Douglas, who is from Tennessee and came to Nevada to work at Nellis Air Force Base in 2001. “We hunted deer, rabbit — but we had no assault rifles.”

Clearly, there's a new opportunity for finally tackling comprehensive immigration reform. And after many years of being neglected to the point of danger, gun safety reform has made it onto the agenda. And as much as the fossil fuel industry doesn't want climate change and environmental health to be on the agenda, reality will make Washington address this. And as President Obama is about to be inaugurated for his second term, he has a chance at tackling all these issues and more.

“One, it reminds everybody that he won (the election),” said Fred Lokken, a political science professor at Truckee Meadows Community College. “That is important because there has been some difficulty in Washington, of not wanting to accept the results of the election by some of those in Congress.

“It (inauguration) certainly doesn’t hurt him,” Lokken said of Obama. “He will take advantage of that high ground that he has arrived with a mandate. He is one of a handful of second-term presidents who actually won with a majority of the votes. Yes, it was close, but many of our presidents have seemingly exercised more authority with a plurality. And the fact that he was elected by a national majority of those who participated in the election is consequential.”

Now it won't be easy going forward. The continuing debt ceiling melee proves that. However, even there Obama has found a way forward. And once the President and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid can finally resolve this protracted budget battle with the G-O-TEA, that clears the way for the President's second term agenda.

And going forward, the President has to pursue his agenda. And he must reach a budget deal that doesn't harm the fragile economic recovery that's finally begun. And he must do all of this with a continuing divided Congress.

But do this he must. America depends on it. And many Nevadans are hoping for it.

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