Tommy Mann Jr.
The Orange Leader
President Barack Obama recited his oath of office on Monday officially beginning his second term as President of the United States of America.
While hundreds of thousands turned out in person to watch this historic event, millions more watched on television. This included elected officials in Orange County, such as Zach Johnson, chair person of the Orange County Republican Party.
“Basically, from what I was able to gather out of it, I think the next four years will look just like the last four years for the United States and for us in Orange County,” Johnson said in a telephone interview. “It seems like to me he is making the same promises now that he made then.”
Johnson said he would have liked to have heard more from Obama on the economy, which is always an important topic in Orange County.
“He talked about the economic growth that has occurred over the last four years,” Johnson said skeptically. “If there is economic growth in Texas, then it is because the state of Texas did it and not the federal government.”
Johnson said Republicans across the state have been less than pleased, as a group, with Monday’s remarks during Obama’s inaugural speech and only time will tell if there are to be any sweeping changes or not.
“It looks like a lot of the same policies,” Johnson explained. “And that’s not very promising.”
President Barack Obama pledged in his inaugural address Monday to respond to what he called the threat of climate change, saying the “failure to do so would betray our children and future generations.”
“Some may still deny the overwhelming judgment of science” that global warming exists and has human causes, Obama said, “but none can avoid the devastating impact of raging fires and crippling drought and more powerful storms.”
The president has pledged to boost renewable energy sources such as wind and solar power, along with more traditional energy sources such as coal, oil and natural gas.
He said developing new energy technologies will lead to jobs and new industries. “That is how we will preserve our planet,” he said.
Environmental groups hailed Obama’s new focus on climate change but said the president’s words will soon be tested as he decides whether to approve the Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada.
His speech hinted only barely at issues likely to spark opposition from Republicans who hold power in the House.
He referred briefly to making “the hard choices to reduce the cost of health care and the size of our deficit,” a rhetorical bow to a looming debate in which Republicans are seeking spending cuts in health care programs to slow the rise in a $16.4 trillion national debt.
He also cited a need for legislation to ease access to voting, an issue of particular concern to minority groups, and to immigration reform and gun-control legislation that he is expected to go into at length in his State of the Union speech on Feb. 12.
“I think President Obama’s big focus is going to be on gun control, and he hinted on that a little during his address,” Johnson said.
U.S. Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Texas), released the following statement late Monday on President Barack Obama’s Second Inauguration.
“On this inauguration day it’s important to congratulate America on yet another peaceful transition that concludes a hard-fought presidential election,” Brady stated. “I did not hear the President commit to working with Republicans to solve America’s most pressing challenges: the urgent deficit crisis and the need to move quickly to save Social Security and Medicare.
“I heard more of the same rhetoric dividing Americans based on their success and pursuing an extreme agenda of global warming, gun control and more spending that’s not paid for.
“For those of us who predict another downgrade of America’s credit rating because the President refuses to help get the country’s financial house in order, it was disappointing.”