by Bankole Thompson
As the nation prepares for the public swearing in of President Barack Obama Monday, Jan. 21 on the steps of the U.S. Capitol before thousands, Democratic allies are calling for a stronger Obama.
The president they say needs to show political muscle and fight back his detractors given the kind of condescending attitude that greeted his first term presidency from Republican leaders in Congress.
But the question remains as Obama now begins to tackle big ideas such as gun control, immigration reform, the debt ceiling, will he be ready to draw the line in the sand between him and Congressional Republicans?
“I’m really looking for a bolder, more result oriented leadership this time in our president,” said Mayor Brenda Lawrence of Southfield, Mich., and one of the leading mayors in the nation. “The president was cautious and pragmatic in his first term. Now I’m looking for him to make a difference in the lives of people and for his legacy.”
Speaking at the Rayburn House offices in the U.S. Capitol during an interview Lawrence, said she is also hopeful that the Obama administration will reflect the diversity of this nation “showing how individuals and minority group can be part of his administration.”
Mayor Lawrence’s remark on the need for more diversity in the Obama administration is a reference to a White House photo that showed the president with a group of all White male advisors except for senior advisor Valerie Jarrett.
Under fire for a photo that clearly lacked diversity at a time that Obama has been naming mostly White males to cabinet positions, the White House was forced to release another photo showing more women on the president’s team, and urging critics to hold back because Obama still has more appointments to make.
Lawrence said she hopes the president will make good on diversity.
Michigan Democratic Congressman from the 14th District Gary Peters said Obama has no choice in his second term but to be more firm on how he wants to get things done.