The Great Debate
President Barack Obama is laying down his marker Tuesday with his State of the Union Address. He told a closed-door meeting of Senate Democrats last week, “I’m not going to spend the next two years on defense. I’m going to play offense.”
President Barack Obama has taken initial steps toward overhauling the broken U.S. immigration system and failed Cuba policy. It is also time to bring Washington’s Cuban immigration policy in line with other foreign-born people. Cubans enjoy unique immigration privileges that are no longer justifiable.
The Federal Communications Commission is in the middle of a high-stakes decision that could raise taxes for close to 90 percent of Americans. The commission is considering whether to reclassify broadband as a telecommunications service and, in doing so, Washington would trigger new taxes and fees at the state and local level.
In 2015, I predict that President Barack Obama will rethink his plan to have all operational U.S. combat forces out of Afghanistan by the end of 2016.
President Barack Obama has inverted U.S. policy on Cuba. His Wednesday speech adopted the proposals of those who have spent a half-century arguing for a rethinking of Cuba policy. The president recognized Washington’s failure to achieve its goal of bringing political and economic openness to Cuba.
Presidents frequently conduct sensitive diplomatic dialogues in secret, because the furor of public attention makes it politically impossible to reach the compromises necessary for agreement. These secret talks are often crucial for diplomatic advances — as we learned Wednesday with the stunning revelations about the impending talks between Washington and Havana that have been underway secretly for the past few months. President Barack Obama’s far-reading initiatives are reminiscent of the secret talks Henry Kissinger held with Beijing to lay the groundwork for President Richard M. Nixon’s historic diplomatic opening to China.
1. The Obama boom will finally arrive. Only it will be more like a boomlet.
Americans have been waiting for the boom since they elected President Barack Obama in the teeth of the 2008 financial meltdown. After all, we elected Ronald Reagan during an economic downturn in 1980, and by his second term, the economy had turned around (“Morning in America”). We elected Bill Clinton in an economic downturn in 1992, and by his second term, the economy had come roaring back (the “dot-com boom,” now known as the “dot-com bubble”). Now we’re deep into Obama’s second term. Where’s da boom?
The timing of Chuck Hagel’s resignation as secretary of defense may have been a surprise, but the fact that he was on his way out has been rumored for weeks. The real issue is why he either stepped down or was forced to leave after such a comparatively short time in office.