President Obama addressed a Joint Session of Congress last night. As he does every year, he delivered his State of the Union Address, 2014 Version. As he does always, he pointed to a variety of Americans who for some reason have come to his attention. He mentioned the success of specific programs, and the hard work and resourcefulness of a variety of individuals. Mostly, he challenged the Congress to join him in efforts to support an overdue American Revival.
He touched upon many ideas including enhancing educational opportunities, expanding tech resources in high schools and colleges, and tweaking the alliances between high schools and colleges so that student may more readily obtain access, and to afford the opportunities that come with their new education. The list below includes a significant but not exhaustive list of the President’s aims:
- Lowering Corporate taxes
- Immigration Reform
- Executive Orders in lieu of compromise
- Income inequality
- Minimum wage
- Earned Income Tax Credit
- Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act
- Voting Rights Act Reform
- Gun Violence Reduction
- War in Afghanistan wind down
- Syrian Regime
- State of Israel
- Iran’s nuclear program
- American Leadership
The President called upon Congress, Wall Street, and Main Street to join him to help fulfill the American promise that, despite the inaction of an often recalcitrant Congress (my adjective, not his), still shines brightly. President Obama has now stood before the American people and delivered a State of the Union Address five times. He has addressed Joint Sessions of Congress on three other occasions. I have watched most of the President’s major speeches. As his moments in national conversation go, in my view, this may have been his finest hour.
Certainly, he has rendered phraseology that we might deem more impassioned. He has spoken with more soaring rhetoric and he has offered a grander vision. However, for this moment in time, when Republicans expected an angry, pugnacious, confrontational speech, the President was anything but contentious. He was confident, and self-assured, but not smug. He was relaxed and engaging, thoughtful and charming. He was funny, but genuinely sincere, humble, and self-effacing, but clear and unequivocal. Most importantly, while he engaged the audience in the Chamber, he made his case to the American people.
There is no doubt President Obama is aware he is languishing at a 43% approval rating. His response was to make a case for a series of initiatives. He asked for Congressional help, but he explained in granular detail his intentions to employ the use of Executive Orders where applicable, if Congressional Republicans continued their obstructionist ways (again, my language, not his). In his words, he proposed “A Year of Action, with or without Congress.”
President Obama pitched America as the place that others look to as an example for all manner of endeavors. In effect, as for the “State of the Union 2014: President Obama Says Strong!”
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