President Obama has come up with a novel way to get around Republican obstruction. He is bypassing Congress and reaching out to the nation’s governors.
THE PRESIDENT: I look forward to working with each of you not just in our meetings tomorrow, but throughout this year, what I hope to be a year of action. Our partnership on behalf of the American people, on issues ranging from education to health care to climate change runs deep, deeper than what usually hits the front page.
Being here tonight, I’m thinking about moments that I’ve spent with so many of you during the course of the year — with Governor Patrick in a hospital in Boston, seeing the survivors of the Boston bombing, seeing them fight through their wounds, determined to return to their families, but also realizing that a lot of lives were saved because of the preparations that federal and state and local officials had carried out beforehand; with Governor Fallin at a firehouse in Moore, thanking first responders who risked their lives to save others after a devastating tornado, but once again seeing the kind of state-federal cooperation that’s so vital in these kinds of circumstances; spending time with Governor O’Malley at the Naval Academy graduation last spring and looking out over some of our newest sailors and Marines as they join the greatest military in the world, and reminding ourselves that on national security issues, the contributions of the National Guard obviously are extraordinary and all of you work so closely with them.
So if there’s one thing in common in the moments like these, it’s that our cooperation is vital to make sure that we’re doing right by the American people. And what’s common also is the incredible resilience and the goodness and the strength of the American people that we’re so privileged to serve. And that resilience has carried us from the depths of the worst economic crisis in our lifetimes to what I am convinced can be a breakthrough year for America and the American people.
That of course will require that we collectively take action on what matters to them — jobs and opportunity. And when we’ve got a Congress that sometimes seems to have a difficult time acting, I want to make sure that I have the opportunity to partner with each of you in any way that I can to help more Americans work and study and strive, and make sure that they see their efforts and their faith in this country rewarded.
The odds of the Republican governors in the room working with President Obama are pretty slim, except where there is a natural disaster or an emergency. When things go wrong, President Obama goes from being the devil to a Republican governor’s best friend. The fact that this president doesn’t hold grudges speaks volumes about his character.
The idea of the president working around Congress with the governors in order to get things done is an interesting one. All the governors are frustrated at some level with the paralysis of Congress, but the governors who either are beholden to the tea party, or have their eyes on 2016 (Jindal, Walker, Christie, Perry) will never publicly work with this president.
Interestingly, the president is looking for allies anywhere he can find them. His remarks tonight are another signal that he is thinking outside the box, and will work with anyone in order to get things done for the American people. His outreach may fail, but his efforts are why Democrats are viewed as the party that is more willing to work together in order to get things done.
The gesture means a lot to the American people, and it is one of the reasons why Democrats remain well positioned to win presidential elections for years to come.
Jason is the managing editor. He is also a White House Press Pool and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association