Inaugural speeches are known for sweeping rhetoric and big ideas, the president's goal upon taking office to offer a vision for his term rather than two dozen bullet points on the legislation he wants passed (that's what the State of the Union is for ... can't wait).
Sometimes, political leaders succeed not by performing great feats, but by knowing their limitations and working within them.
Economic and job growth. That issue was the centerpiece of last year's presidential campaign and remains the focus of all governments as we stagger from the uppercut of a five-year recession.
With the new session of Congress begun and Georgia legislators preparing to bang their gavel a week from Monday, it's a good time to examine what we expect from our elected employees.
With the new year comes the promise of change, and personal resolutions to do so are a traditional part of the turning of the calendar page.
Barring an unforeseen emergency before year's end or a political comeback at some future time, Tom Oliver has presided over his final Hall County Board of Commissioners meeting as chairman. He leaves behind a legacy of progressive leadership and accomplishment that future chairmen will find difficult to equal.
During election season, Georgia is referred to as a "red" state in reference to its reliable Republican loyalties.
No matter how you feel about the result of the Nov. 6 election, one promising result may be that the federal government finally is moving toward a practical policy on illegal immigration. After years of debate over how best to deal with the nearly 12 million undocumented foreign workers in the United States, a push toward a solution may be sparked by politics.
No matter how it's computed, Georgia's graduation rate is abysmal.
This year's Christmas season began last week with a more recent tradition that goes beyond tree lightings and turkey leftovers.
On Thanksgiving Day, we gather today with family and friends to share the blessings of a big meal, the warmth of our loved ones and a gravy boat full of gratitude.
The most expensive, contentious presidential campaign in U.S. history is behind us now - until the next one begins in about two years. As a second-term president, Barack Obama becomes a lame duck as soon as he palms the Bible and takes the oath anew on the Capitol steps in January. He will face a Congress still divided - Republicans in control of the House, Democrats the Senate.
In an election year with only a few contested state and local races, in addition to president, Georgia's charter school amendment has sparked more passion and interest than any other item on the Nov. 6 ballot.
Few rights in our republic are more cherished than the right to select our governmental leaders at the ballot box.
In the last two weeks, we've seen two different "state of" speeches, from leaders with widely disparate views. Both offered a list of priorities amid a recovering economy, setting goals to better the lives of those they serve. Each was greeted with applause from supporters, grim faces and still hands from foes.
The idea of free speech embedded into the U.S. Constitution 225 years ago remains an elusive goal ever under attack and in need of a diligent defense. Even as we Americans often don't fully grasp its scope and meaning, what we hold as a fundamental right isn't always acknowledged everywhere.
Second terms can be a dicey thing for executive officeholders. Though much desired - when was the last time we recall a president or governor who didn't seek one? - they often slip into the dreaded "lame duck" limbo as heads start turning toward who's next in line.
Now that the holiday leftovers in the fridge are dwindling and many have put away the decorations, we prepare for the first work week of 2015 with high expectations.
Broken families. Neglectful parents racked by poverty, addiction or poor personal decisions. Abused children denied a normal upbringing. Government agencies short on resources and personnel scrambling desperately to keep a bad situation from getting worse.
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