huffingtonpost.com — Immigration is one of the great stories of America's history. It is immortalized in the words penned by Emma Lazarus, and engraved on a bronze plaque that hangs on an inner wall of the Statue of Liberty, "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free." The United States is a nation built on the blood and sweat of immigrants; it is a great melting pot of cultures that together have strengthened the country, and have broadened its horizons. America, the land of opportunity, of immense freedom, and of a generous people, has attracted millions of people from all over the world. Nonetheless, immigration has been politicized for decades, and reasonable reforms have eluded Washington. But now is the time to do something meaningful. President Barack Obama will announce an effort to overhaul immigration on Tuesday in Las Vegas, Nevada, a critical state, where he carried the Latino vote this past November.
robertreich.org — Soon after President Obama’s second inaugural address, John Boehner said the White House would try “to annihilate the Republican Party” and “shove us into the dustbin of history.” Actually, the GOP is doing a pretty good job annihilating itself. As Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal put it, Republicans need to “stop being the stupid party.” The GOP crackup was probably inevitable. Inconsistencies and tensions within the GOP have been growing for years – ever since Ronald Reagan put together the coalition that became the modern Republican Party. All President Obama has done is finally find ways to exploit these inconsistencies.
prospect.org — The verdict from pundits is in: Barack Obama’s Inaugural speech signaled his ambition to be the “liberal Reagan,” and the Big Question about his second term is whether he’ll achieve that goal. Here’s the problem. Ronald Reagan wasn't really the Reagan of everyone’s imagination. So aspiring to be a “liberal Reagan” is chasing a fantasy. Worse than that—it’s a fantasy that can easily distract a president from the real things that he should be doing.
washingtonpost.com — To understand how Barack Obama sees himself and his presidency, don’t look to Franklin Roosevelt or Abraham Lincoln. Obama’s role model is Ronald Reagan — just as Obama told us before he was first elected. Like Reagan, Obama hopes to usher in a long-term electoral realignment — in Obama’s case toward the moderate left, thereby reversing the 40th president’s political legacy. The Reagan metaphor helps explain the tone of Obama’s inaugural address, built not on a contrived call to an impossible bipartisanship but on a philosophical argument for a progressive vision of the country rooted in our history. Reagan used his first inaugural to make an unabashed case for conservatism. Conservatives who loved that Reagan speech are now criticizing Obama for emulating their hero and his bold defense of first principles.
washingtonpost.com — “We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change we seek,” candidate Barack Obama said in 2008. At the time, his comments came in for criticism: They were narcissistic; they were tautological; they didn’t make a whole lot of sense. But in the aftermath of Obama’s 2012 reelection and his second inaugural address, his 2008 remarks seem less a statement of self-absorption than one of prophecy. There is an Obama majority in American politics, symbolized by Monday’s throng on the Mall, whose existence is both the consequence of profound changes to our nation’s composition and values and the cause of changes yet to come. That majority, as the president made clear in his remarks, would not exist but for Americans’ struggles to expand our foundational belief in the equality of all men.
inthesetimes.com — Based on his inaugural speech—and a populist re-election campaign—President Barack Obama intends to pursue a more progressive direction in his second term. Pundits from across the political spectrum have already declared the president a bona fide, card-carrying progressive. On Fox News, Charles Krauthammer bemoaned the “end of Reaganism” that Obama’s speech signaled, and on progressive radio, Thom Hartmann said he agreed with Krauthammer. Eugene Robinson of the Washington Post said Obama laid out a “clear progressive philosophy” for the next four years. But for movement progressives, there are two important caveats and takeaways from the president’s newfound confidence in articulating a populist agenda. One brings validation—albeit combined with frustration. The other reinforces a worrisome tendency by the president and the Democratic Party.
alternet.org — With its elegant rendering of the liberal agenda before the eyes of the American people, President Barack Obama's second inaugural address was music to the ears of many a progressive. But to the ears of Tea Partiers and the Republican right, this inauguration speech, as well as the ceremony that surrounded it, was war -- not just a war of words, but a war of prayer, a war of poetry and even, perhaps, a war of song. Driving the message home were the hands of the Fates, who conspired to see the second inauguration of the nation’s first African American president fall on Martin Luther King Day, the national holiday whose very creation was opposed by so many who still today comprise the Republican Party’s right wing. Here we recount a dozen ways in which the president brought his fight to the right, in no uncertain terms, at his second inauguration.
jackandjillpolitics.com — Obama’s 2nd Inauguration speech looked back to those who dreamed of an America that lived up to its promise of equal treatment for all – suffragettes, abolitionists, civil rights leaders, gay activists and more. Yet this speech simultaneously pointed the way forward for those of us who must pick up the mantle of history, who must face down the challenges that meet us in our time as one nation under God – indivisible. The President closed saying: “You and I, as citizens, have the power to set this country’s course. You and I, as citizens, have the obligation to shape the debates of our time...” Obama appears in this historic speech on an historic day to ask if Americans will seize the power of this moment in destiny with him to create the future today that we will all live in tomorrow. Will Americans, including Members of Congress and the nation’s governors and mayor, heed the call? Will you?
motherjones.com — It was your average Monday night at the Stonewall Inn. But there were a few people here on this chilly January night who came to honor the legacy of the bar President Obama named as a touch-stone of the American civil rights movement. Equality, the President said, "is the star that guides us still; just as it guided our forebears through Seneca Falls, and Selma, and Stonewall" — referring to the early hours of Saturday, June 28, 1969, when patrons decided enough was enough, and reacted en masse to a routine police raid to clear out deviants. Resistance attracted crowds in the streets of New York's Greenwich village, escalating into violent protests that lasted for six days. It was a moment that galvanized the gay rights movement. Those that spoke of the significance of President Obama's words were emotional, overjoyed at having this historic place ranked in that lineage of struggles, in such an important speech.
huffingtonpost.com — In his second inaugural address, President Obama offered a stirring vision of the future of America, and the role of the federal government in enabling America to achieve it. He rightly emphasized that "preserving our individual freedoms ultimately requires collective action." An active federal government is needed, he said, to ensure quality education for all, mobilize new technologies, care for the elderly, fight climate change, and address global poverty. The challenge he faces -- that America faces -- is that the vision must be coherent with the budget. This has been the Achilles' heel of Obama's government from the start. And if he's not careful, he could put his powerful vision out of reach by budget blunders in the coming few weeks.