SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Opinion

May 17, 2013

Benton: Uncomfortable weeks for Obama

President Obama and members of his inner circle must be counting down the hours until Memorial Day when Americans start thinking more about their summer vacations and less about what’s happening in Washington.

In the space of two weeks the administration has aroused the ire of the press corps, conservatives, Congress and the foreign service with its handling of events ranging as far afield as Benghazi, Libya to the IRS office in Cincinnati, Ohio. Whether these actions derived from simple arrogance or gross incompetence, they have given the Republican right a new lease on life and sucked the air out of promising Obama-sponsored initiatives, including immigration reform and gun control.

Given Democratic gains last year, Obama was no doubt hoping for similar results in 2016 and finishing out the last two years of his two terms in office with a flurry of progressive legislation. The chances of that happening has been seriously diminished by recent events.

Obama has traditionally chosen more hospitable climes like Hawaii or Martha’s Vineyard for his own summer vacation. But this year he is likely to find the 110-degree-plus heat of a Phoenix summer more comfortable than the kind he’s been experiencing in the nation’s capital.

---

Having decided this will be his last term, Gov. Deval Patrick may find it easier than most to talk about new taxes. He won’t get anything close to what he wants; but as two of the North Shore’s most respected mayors, Kim Driscoll of Salem and Bill Scanlon of Beverly, made clear this week, money must be found to fix the state’s deteriorating roads and public transportation system.

Fixing bridges, improving our roadways and expanding public transportation can’t be done for nothing, after all. And adding a few more cents to the cigarette tax — a favorite target of legislators — won’t do it.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Opinion

AP Video
'Modern Family' Star on Gay Athletes Coming Out MN Twins Debut Beer Vending Machine DA: Pa. Doctor Fired Back at Hospital Gunman Raw: Iowa Police Dash Cam Shows Wild Chase Obama Seeks Limits on US Company Mergers Abroad Large Family to Share NJ Lottery Winnings U.S. Flights to Israel Resume After Ban Lifted Official: Air Algerie Flight 'probably Crashed' TSA Administrator on Politics and Flight Bans Raw: National Guard Helps Battle WA Wildfires Raw: Ukraine's Donetsk Residents Flee Senators Push to End Hamas Threat in Cease-Fire A Young Victim's Premonition, Hug Before MH17 Raw: Deadly Storm Hits Virginia Campground Death Penalty Expert: 'This is a Turning Point' Raw: MH17 Victim's Bodies Arrive in Netherlands Raw: Families Travel to Taiwan Plane Crash Site Arizona Execution Takes Almost Two Hours Crash Kills Teen Pilot Seeking World Record
Comments Tracker
Roll Call
Helium debate
Helium