President Obama can do something memorable in his January 28, 2014 State of the Union speech: issue an Executive Order ending the deportation of law-abiding undocumented immigrants. The time for action is now.
Here we are in the sixth year of President Obama's tenure, and as he prepares to deliver yet another State of the Union address, people are paying attention to the White House's recent messaging shifts.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti joins me tonight on PBS to preview tomorrow's State of the Union address, during which it is anticipated that President Obama will lay out plans to address poverty and income inequality as part of the 2014 legislative agenda.
This may all be starry-eyed optimism, I fully admit (this whole column is going to be pretty rosy-tinted, just to warn everyone). But it does have some basis in reality.
President Obama's State of the Union address will be considered a success if it prompts a national conversation about income inequality. So let's get started.
The question is whether President Obama is prepared to talk about inequality in a way that gets to the core of the problem as opposed to just clipping away at the edges. It's a safe bet that we will see the latter.
Despite demonstrable success in job creation and business growth, there are indications the president may sidestep the importance of trade in this year's State of the Union address. That would be a mistake.
Clearly, if democracy means anything it must mean that every voter has the right to meaningful participation in the voting process.
In previous years, President Obama has used his platform to promote his "all of the above" energy plan, which includes significantly expanding domestic oil and gas production -- i.e. fracking -- thus betraying the promises he articulated in his nomination speech at the 2008 DNC.
It's the most unenviable job in politics: delivering the response to the president's State of the Union address. A high-wire act performed over circling sharks, the number one goal is simply to avoid coming out of it as chum. To emerge merely a chump can be considered success.
The 2014 speech emphasizes three primary themes -- opportunity, action, and optimism. Opportunity initially appears the most relevant to African Americans. Both action and optimism, however, are perhaps even more important, because they prompt African Americans to proactively define both short-term and long-term policy priorities.
This week's State of the Union speech is the beginning of President Obama's final push for immigration reform. It may be his biggest fight yet, and the way it ends will say a lot about who we are as Americans.
Education researchers like me have been hoping policymakers will understand that poverty is the biggest impediment to children's academic success. Yet I worry that the President will slip from an accurate diagnosis to unproven and ineffectual treatments.
Beyond material power, the president has even greater power -- cognitive power -- and he hasn't used it much. Cognitive power is the power to put important ideas in people's minds by shaping public discourse.
2013 was a particularly trying year for Head Start, a pillar of America's War on Poverty, as programs nationwide faced overwhelming budget reductions that hindered the ability to provide the high quality early learning the President spoke of during last year's address.