President Obama announcement of his plan to make community college free has knocked Republicans back on their heels as the president continues to dominate the political landscape.
The president announced what he called one of his most important State Of The Union proposals which he referred to as helping every American afford a higher education. The president said that in this country we expect everybody to get a fair shot, and in exchange you work hard. The president stressed that our education system is the backbone of a system that allows people to get a fair shot and get ahead.
Obama said that investment in education is a hallmark of America. According to the White House the president’s proposal is based on students maintaining good grades in exchange for having their tuition eliminated for two years, “Enhancing Student Responsibility and Cutting the Cost of College for All Americans: Students who attend at least half-time, maintain a 2.5 GPA while in college, and make steady progress toward completing their program will have their tuition eliminated. These students will be able to earn half of the academic credit they need for a four-year degree or earn a certificate or two-year degree to prepare them for a good job.”
The president said the he wanted to bring the cost of community college down to zero. He said, “I want to make it free. Community colleges should be free to those willing to work for it.” The president said that free tuition would have be earned, because, “There are no free rides in America….This is not a blank check. This is not a free lunch.” Obama wants two years of community college to become as free and universal as high school is today.
President Obama has painted Republicans into a corner. By stressing all-American values like hard work, and economic opportunity for all the president has created a situation where Republican opposition to his proposal makes them look like they are opposing the values that the U.S. was built upon.
Politically, this is another big win for the president. The political conversation isn’t about what the new Republican controlled Congress is doing. The conversation is centered around the president’s bold ideas for education. The reaction to Obama’s proposal from a John Boehner spokesman was telling, “With no details or information on the cost, this seems more like a talking point than a plan.”
Republicans have nothing. They are going to attack the plan based on cost. John Boehner and Mitch McConnell are going to look the American people in the eye and tell them that some Americans deserve a shot at the American dream while others do not.
At a time when the Democratic president is supposed to be reeling, President Obama went to red state Tennessee and proposed a plan that will have immense appeal and popularity in both red and blue states. The president invaded Republican turf and unleashed a policy earthquake that was based on an idea that came from a conservative state.
President Obama is making Republicans march to his agenda as John Boehner and Mitch McConnell can’t compete with the power contained in a forward thinking presidency.
Mr. Easley 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