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Obama's State Of The Union Address Too Ambitious?

Jordan Gary |
February 12, 2013 | 11:56 p.m. PST


I will preface my opinion of Obama's State of the Union address by saying that I am a registered Republican, but, being a self-respecting woman, I voted for Obama in the election. I am not completely sold on Obama, but I am also not willing to completely dismiss him. That being said, let's get down to the nitty-gritty.

Obama has to be realistic about what a divided Congress can accomplish. (Chuck Kennedy, Wikimedia Commons)
Obama has to be realistic about what a divided Congress can accomplish. (Chuck Kennedy, Wikimedia Commons)

President Obama discussed all the progress that was made this past year. He claimed the war in Afghanistan will be over by the end of next year, which is great, but can someone tell me what war we've been fighting over there? Just wondering. I got a very "mission accomplished" vibe from his statements about the troops coming home, which leaves me feeing a little bit uneasy. He also claimed we created 6 million new jobs, the auto industry is flourishing and we are less dependent on foreign oil, all of which are partially true. This supposed "progress" seemed qualified though, so I wasn't completely impressed.

He then moved on to what he wants for this country. He said "middle class" about 50 times and asked the parties to come together and agree on something for once. If he really wanted to grab everyone's attention, he should have just asked the Republicans to stop being babies and compromise like everyone else. You know there is a serious problem with bipartisanship when the president asks Congress to pass the second half of a bill and the vice president laughs at him. Out loud. On national television. The issue is even more obvious once you realize that the conservative Supreme Court justices refused to attend the address.

Obama also asked the wealthy to pay more in taxes, which I agree with, but only because if you make more money, you should logically pay more taxes. There should be a flat tax rate, because that's only fair, but it should be high and there should be less loopholes for those that make the most money. Wishful thinking. He also said "balanced" in reference to the budget about 30 times—as if we weren't aware he and everyone else want a balanced budget. 

Obama talked about how innovative this country has been with human genome and brain mapping, both of which have created jobs. I actually agree with him on this one. More jobs are always good and I will advocate for anything to advance a cure for Alzheimer's—or any disease for that matter. He also brought up a high speed railway among other pretty fantastic ideas.

I don't think I can emphasize enough how much I agree with the president on these ideas; I just have one question. How are we paying for it? Obama himself said Congress doesn't agree on a lot of things. By "a lot of things," he must have meant anything, really. I just have a hard time understanding how Obama can advance so many lofty goals when he must know they are well out of his reach for both financial and practical reasons. He can't very well ask for bills to be drafted and passed by a Congress that hasn't even approved a budget in over three years. Though I suppose this criticism is not anything new.

Needless to say, I got bored by the second half of the speech, simply because I have heard this all before—many times. I did perk up again about three-quarters of the way through, though, when the president started talking about gun reform. I don't even think the fact that guns are a problem is up for debate anymore. This past year is all the example anyone needs. On some level, I don't even think I care what restrictions or reforms are put into place. Whether it is from the mental health side or the assault weapons side, a change needs to be made and it needs to be made now, and Obama made that very clear. He also made sure to pull at some heartstrings with the people he brought in as examples of everyday heroes. His main point was that Congress needs to at least vote on his proposals on gun control, for the American people, and I can't say I disagree at all. Congress owes the American people quite a bit and the very least they could do is vote on a proposal for a change.

Anyway, I'll let you think about that while I go grab a drink of water.


Reach Contributor Jordan Gary here.



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Watch USC Annenberg Media's live State of the Union recap and analysis here.