Initial Impressions on the State of the Union Address

President Obama delivered his 3rd annual State of the Union Address to congress this evening. Here are my initial impressions of the speech. Overall, this speech was my favorite out of the other two State of the Union Address speeches delivered by Obama. I was impressed by the rhetoric used and how Obama was really pushing for a government that worked together.

  • optimistic– Obama was criticized for being pessimistic by Republicans and in this speech, he did just the opposite. He talked about the U.S. before he became President and then stated how the economy and jobs have grown since then. The choice to deliver a more positive speech forced Mitch Daniels, Indiana Governor and speaker for the official Republican response, to be negative and try to highlight how U.S. did not grow as much as Obama claimed.
  • patriotic– Obama was also criticized for being unpatriotic by Republicans. In tonight’s speech, Obama stated that America can get back on top again. If we all work together and Congress puts aside party differences, we can improve the economy, create more jobs, educate the current generation, create affordable healthcare, etc. He also made a comment saying that we need to stop funding wars and start using that money to solve domestic issues. At the end of the speech, he talked about how we need to be more like the Navy SEALS. They do not worry about race, sexual orientation, or political values, they worry about the person next to you. Once you put on that uniform and go to war, “you rise or fall as one unit, serving one nation, leaving no one behind”. Here is the very last part of the speech that shows how Obama had a patriotic tone throughout the night.

    “So it is with America. Each time I look at that flag, I’m reminded that our destiny is stitched together like those fifty stars and those thirteen stripes. No one built this country on their own. This nation is great because we built it together. This nation is great because we worked as a team. This nation is great because we get each other’s backs. And if we hold fast to that truth, in this moment of trial, there is no challenge too great; no mission too hard. As long as we’re joined in common purpose, as long as we maintain our common resolve, our journey moves forward, and our future is hopeful, and the state of our union will always be strong.”

  • Obama was assertive but not attacking– Obama talked about how it is hard to carry out and pass bills through Congress. He encouraged Congress to get more bills on his desk and work together to get things done. Also. Obama said that he is willing to work with Congress if Congress is willing to work with him. He made a comment how even though he is a Democratic President, he will be willing to work with Republicans and fellow members of his party to improve the economy and job creation. “Neither party has been blameless in these tactics. Now both parties should put an end to it.” If Congress are not willing, he will do it himself and push to carry out his goals without Congress.
  • Talked about Filibusters– Obama targeted getting rid of filibustering on all judicial and public service nominations. He wants to create a quicker and more responsive government to fit the ever changing needs of the American people.
  • The speech was longer and more detailed oriented– This type of speech is often accredited to President Clinton and his delivery of the State of the Union. Clinton’s speeches would be detailed including specific facts and well-rounded plans. Obama’s proposals considered the past, present, and future. He introduced his goals for the coming year and a detailed plan to accomplish his goals. Even though the speech was longer, this was essential because the American people are not educated in many of these issues that Obama covered. By including rich detail, Americans can have a better understanding of the issues and try to see eye-to-eye with the President’s plan.
  • Focused on EducationObama, in the majority of the speech besides talking about the economy, addressed our nation’s education. Obama wants states to create a plan in which every student graduates high school. He also wanted to decrease tuition for college students and interests in loans. This will encourage students to continue in higher education. It will also help them after they graduate when they are paying back college loans. I agree with Obama’s passion to encourage students to go on to college. This generation needs to be well-informed and the government now is making it harder for students to accomplish that. Tuition is extremely high and loans have high interest rates making it less affordable for students wishing to attend college. The more educated we are, the more able we are to create jobs and build the economy back to pre-recession states. Obama also spoke about training teachers instead of firing them. Lastly, he also mentioned about how other countries are reforming their education while we are firing teachers and making it harder for students to graduate.
  • Tax issues– Lastly, Obama spoke a lot about taxes and how the rich are not paying as much as they should. He mentioned about Warren Buffet and how his secretary was paying higher taxes them him. Obama wants to create a more equal playing field and have everyone pay their fair shares. The rich should not receive tax cuts nor should the receive a tax refundable and deductible. Then middle class or individuals making less than 250,000 should receive tax cuts.
  • Renewable Energy– Obama promised to find better ways to create renewable energy. He wants to stop relying on foreign oil and fuel our nation with domestic oil and natural energy. He wants to promote green energy as well. he also said that the Department of Defense is helping in this goal. He says,'”The Department of Defense, [is] working with us, the world’s largest consumer of energy, [to] make one of the largest commitments to clean energy in history, with the Navy purchasing enough capacity to power a quarter of a million homes a year.” I found this surprising because aren’t we funding the Navy and so aren’t we then purchasing these clean energy. Also, aren’t we trying to cut the budget for the Navy?
  • Raise the temperature in this city– Obama is pushing for raising the competition and way things get done. Here is a quote from Obama:

    “Finally, none of this can happen unless we also lower the temperature in this town. We need to end the notion that the two parties must be locked in a perpetual campaign of mutual destruction, that politics is about clinging to rigid ideologies instead of building consensus around commonsense ideas.

    I’m a Democrat. But I believe what Republican Abraham Lincoln believed, that government should do for people only what they cannot do better by themselves, and no more.”

  • Lastly, I enjoyed watching Boehner’s   and people of Congress’s expression. I love watching who agrees with what and how different parties, especially Republicans, respond. I did hear some ‘booing’ in the peanut gallery which definitely adds more excitement to this hour-long speech. Also, even with the different parties mixed and not separated like the other State of the Union Addresses, you can still see who belongs to which party. 

To access the full transcript of the State of the Union Address, click here.

(p.s. Besides the State of the Union Address, Mitt Romney released his tax reforms. It shows that he makes 21 million dollars and pays 3 million dollars in taxes. It also mentions that he pays around %13 in taxes. I have also heard that Romney has bank accounts in the Cayman Islands, Switzerland, and other countries. Even though Romney donates a lot of money to charities and the Mormon Church, there is something odd about how much he makes to how much he pays for taxes. This just highlights how there needs to be change in this country on tax issues.)

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  • Ann Watt  On January 26, 2012 at 9:07 am

    Love how you set up this entry, good detailed yet scannable analysis!
    Dr. Watt

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