President Obama has been generally hesitant to publicly and forcefully call out Republicans on their intransigence by name and specifically by party. Many wondered when the president would engage personally with Republicans’ continuous effort to suppress the vote; specifically vote of people predisposed to vote Democratic.
Fear no more. A few days ago President Obama gave a speech at the LBJ Library commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act. It was as if it was the preamble to the speech he would give at the National Action Network Convention:
But we are here today because we know we cannot be complacent. For history travels not only forwards; history can travel backwards, history can travel sideways. And securing the gains this country has made requires the vigilance of its citizens. Our rights, our freedoms — they are not given. They must be won. They must be nurtured through struggle and discipline, and persistence and faith.On Friday, President Obama came out swinging at the National Action Network Convention. He excoriated, scolded, and ridiculed Republican voter suppression tactics. He said the following:
Across the country Republicans have led efforts to making harder not easier for people to vote. … The real voter fraud is people who try to deny our rights by making bogus arguments about voter fraud. … America did not standup and did not march and did not sacrifice to gain the right to vote for themselves and for others only to see it denied to their kids and their grandchildren. We’ve got to pay attention to this. … This recent effort to restrict the vote has not been led by both parties. It’s been led by the Republican Party. … If your strategy depends on having fewer people show up to vote, that is not a sign of strength. That is a sign of weakness.No one needs to wonder any longer whether President Obama will be engaging in the 2014 elections. He is in battle mode. And he is having fun with it. He seems ready to do what is necessary to excite the base. Those who view the 2014 elections as a foregone conclusion better re-evaluate.