President Obama delivered his first state of the union address last night. Traditionally the president uses this speech to highlight the previous year’s accomplishment and lay the groundwork for the job that is ahead. President Obama’s first state of the union may be the toughest of his career.
The president had to describe his accomplishments of the previous year where he saw approval ratings dwindle from the some of the highest in history down to historical first year lows. In his first year as president he held court over three key elections in which his party lost power. The states of New Jersey and Virginia went to republican governors, and the people’s senate seat in Massachusetts when to a republican state senator named Scott Brown. This senate seat was in the hands of the democrats since 1953. This is almost as long as the Cleveland Indians last World Series championship in 1948.
In this speech we saw the president transform from the man currently in charge back into candidate Obama. You know…the one Americans grew to love in 2008. Obama began discussing tax cuts for the middle class, affordable health care, lower deficit spending, and a government spending freeze much to Nancy Pelosi’s chagrin. He stated he would use the power of the veto for wild earmarks. Although it makes you wonder…with a super majority in the Senate and large majorities in the House his own party barely delivered him any bills he could make a decision on. President Obama did not mention much about transparency like he did on the campaign trail in ’08.
President Obama prematurely criticized the GOP for saying “no” to everything. In 2009, the GOP was never asked any questions. With a super majority for the dems the GOP was dead…remember? For 2010 if the president does not want to hear any “no” answers from the GOP he should reign in Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid and tell them to actually work with the GOP this time.
President Obama stuck with his vastly unpopular health care plans and his extremely unpopular “cap & trade” plans. He showed no signs of shifting to the center on these items. He did however show some signs of moving to the center on key items such as nuclear energy and off shore drilling. For that this conservative writer commends him. Hopefully he will not let Pelosi and Reid get their hands on those plans to screw it up for him.
The president worked in plans this year to reach back out to the left members of the democratic party (you know…those members that catapulted him past Hillary Clinton for the presidential nomination) by stressing his plans to end the wars in the Middle East and allowing gays to serve openly in the military. I am very interested to see how quickly he acts on gays in the military and I am sure he is cursing Bill Clinton for using the “Don’t ask don’t tell” policy already. There really is nothing between “Don’t ask, don’t tell” and allowing full open service in the military.
The president worked to create a rally behind the health care plan. He is intelligent and he knows that Scott Brown won the Senate seat in MA by claiming to be 41st senator to block health care. His aids and cheerleaders are still trying to tell us that Scott Brown won because everyone still hates George Bush. Come on…we aren’t that dumb!
This conservative writer is encouraged by the president’s realization that it is imperative to create jobs in America. Again President Obama must not let Pelosi and Reid run with this one either. (Mr. President…are you starting to see a pattern from me yet?) This conservative writer also realizes that the president tried to continue to present himself as a Washington outsider. Well Mr. President as the man in the White House with super majorities in the Senate and House…you ARE Washington. Quit denying it.
One last criticism I promise. Of course as a supporter of President Bush I am tired of hearing about the blame blame blame. It is getting old. I did however find it extremely inappropriate for the President of the United States to criticize the Supreme Court of the United States. This is America, not Cuba. In order for President Obama to be successful he needs to reign in Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid or thank them for their service and tell them they are “retiring”.
In closing, President Obama overall gave a very inspiring speech. There were moments when his words made me feel proud to be an American and made me feel like we really could work together to get these things done. I just wish he was this inspiring when given an international stage he would have portrayed Americans in an equally positive manner.