Michiganders Call for "Togetherness" in Second Obama Term

By: Lindsay Veremis Email
By: Lindsay Veremis Email

President Obama called for more unity in Washington as he publicly took the Oath of Office for a second term. It's something people in mid-Michigan are also calling for, regardless of their political leanings.

Many are hoping the new oath is a new beginning.

"Every inaguuration is an opportunity for folks to come together and I think everyone in Michigan's ears kind of perked up when he stated that we need to address our changing climate," Nic Clark, with environmental group Clean Water Action said.

Clark listened to Obama's Monday address at a watching party in East Lansing. It was the only publicized inaugural event in the area, a marked change from four years ago.

Clark says the speech inspired hope.

"Michigan's the great lakes state and changing climate affects our water and our way of life almost each and every day," he said.

For Republicans, who didn't want to see another Obama inauguration the speech brought apprehension.

"Our country's headed for bankruptcy and do we see it changing going forward? We hope and pray we do," Norm Shinkle, co-chair of the Ingham County Republican Party said.

Local Republicans hope spending cuts will be a top priority and partisan grid lock, a thing of the past.

"He is our president," Ingham County Republican Party Co-Chair Yavonne Whitbeck said. "I believe in the process and he was elected and we need to support that."

Political science professor Matt Grossmann says the legislative landscape has changed dramatically from 2008. Democrats lost the House and are now sharing power, Obama's approval rating has plunged and the parties appear more divided than ever.

Historically, Grossmann says second terms are not times of great achievement.

"Certainly compared to the record that Obama racked up in terms of legislative victories in his first two years, we won't expect anywhere near that rate of success," he added.

But that doesn't mean progress is impossible. According to Grossmann, though messy, the fiscal cliff deal proves lawmakers can get things done.


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