In addition to the contentious roll out of the Affordable Care Act, President Obama's recent speech on income inequality sends a clear message to his opponents: he is not and will not back down on advocating and fighting for his core beliefs.
In a recent speech in Osawatomie, Kansas, he passionately spoke about the issue of income and wealth inequality. He noted that this has been an issue that "has sparked protests and political movements -- from the Tea Party to the people who have been occupying the streets of New York and other cities."
Lest someone not fully grasp the importance of this issue to his domestic agenda, he said, "But this isn't just another political debate. This is the defining issue of our time."
He even quoted from a recent speech by Pope Francis ' apostolic exhortation "Evangelii Gaudium," in which the pope asked: "How can it be that it is not a news item when an elderly homeless person dies of exposure, but it is news when the stock market loses two points?"
Obama asked his Kansas audience "Look at the statistics."
"In the last few decades, the average income of the top one percent has gone up by more than 250%, to $1.2 million per year. For the top one hundredth of one percent, the average income is now $27 million per year. The typical CEO who used to earn about 30 times more than his or her workers now earns 110 times more. And yet, over the last decade, the incomes of most Americans have actually fallen by about six percent."
The House has voted over 40 times to repeal the Affordable Care Act. There has even been a reference to possible impeachment proceedings against Obama in the House Judiciary Committee. This is the same House that refuses to pass legislation requiring elementary background checks on firearm and high capacity ammunition sales.
All indications are that the Republicans are planning a major political assault against the president and Democrats in Congress in the 2014 mid-term elections. Significant losses by Democrats in the House or lost of few seats in the Senate would provide congressional Republicans with a major strategic opportunity to resume an even stronger assault against President Obama's health care initiative and his agenda for reducing income inequality and Immigration reform.
His political opponents are stoking the undercurrents of significant political anger, disenchantment and disappointment at him. They seek to create a tsunami of opposition to paralyze or dismantle the core of his domestic second term agenda.
What can now be done, politically, to prevent or minimize the occurrence of such a tsunami?
Trench "warfare" and hand to political hand combat must be waged, precinct by precinct, county by county where laws have been enacted to limit or suppress the opportunity to register and vote. This includes non-violent peaceful protest and concurrent federal court actions to block the implementation of any and all voter suppression laws; no matter what state they now exist.
It also includes redoubling efforts to register unregistered voters and getting registered voters to the polls, to vote.
Most important of all, it requires the courage to recognize that a significant amount of trust and credibility in President Obama and his administration has been eroded. This must be re-earned and restored with independent voters and the activist progressive base of the Democratic Party.
Persons around the president who minimize or deny that this is even an issue they must address are living in a parallel universe. We hope there is someone close enough to the President who can say in effect "there are advisers around you who sometimes tell you what he or she think you would like to hear. But, I'm here to tell you what you need to hear."
Drone strikes in Pakistan, continued operation of Guantanamo Bay, Snowden disclosures of NSA monitoring and spying of cell phone calls and email of Americans, supporting the military overthrow of the democratically elected Morsi government in Egypt, mismanagement of the Internet roll out of the health care website, stalled immigration reform, failure to significantly reduce unemployment within the black community may have substantially eroded the trust of the independent and activists democratic voter.
Additionally, shoring up needed support for Obama nationwide and in Congress is not helped by the early launch, except in name only, of Hillary Clinton's campaign for president. A divided, dispirited, skeptically trusting Democratic Party and independent voter base, will only politically guarantee Republican control of the House and Senate.
We have been critical at different times of Obama's leadership or lack thereof on certain important issues during his presidency. We have agreed that sometimes "the perfect should not become the enemy of the good" in achieving a pragmatic legislative result.
A concurrent effort must also be directed at the Republican controlled house to end the mean spirited act on "the least of these," poor people on food stamps. Their rationale for cutting funds for food stamps is that most recipients are able-bodied persons sitting at home, unwilling to work, preferring to be on the "dole of the federal government".
Obviously, it cannot be statistically guaranteed or assured that there is simply no one on food stamps who fits that category. There may be such persons, But the overwhelming of food stamp recipients legitimately qualify as poor, and needy; most of whom are white. Moreover, congressional opponents to funding food stamps also know this.
Contemplating the political magnitude of a potential tsunami in the mid-term elections, makes reminds us of the injunctive wisdom of Martin Luther King, Jr: "Anyone one can stand with you in the warm sunshine of an August summer. But, only a winter time soldier stands with you at midnight in the alpine chill of winter."
President Obama's challenge is not only how to inspire and keep the devotion of those millions of voters who believed in him and voted for his "Audacity of Hope." But, more importantly, those "wintertime soldiers" who have stayed the course from 2007 until now, and are willing to still standby him.
We're only trying to tell the president what he needs to hear; not what he may want to hear.