I have to admit, I did not have high expectations to the State of the Union Address on February 12.
I mean, what President Barack Obama was going to say that he has not said over 1 million times over the last five years he has been in Washington. Yes, the Economy is getting its legs back. Yes, Republicans and Democrats still refuse to play in the same play pin. Yes, Obama is still determined to ending the two wars that are no longer needed.
Obama delivered the standard State if the Union type fluff pieces. America is stronger than it was in 2008. America is now safer than it was in 2008. North Korea is more mentally retarded then in 2008. Congress needs to put country before party, the standard stuff that every president has said in their State of the Union Addresses.
But there were a few wrinkles that Obama surprised us with. First was his introduction to raise the federal minimum wage to $9.00 an hour. This is a bill Congress should enact as soon as possible. We live in a consumer based economy. The lifeblood of our nation depends on people buying things. Wages have remained flat for over a decade now, even in the face of record company profits. $7.25 is no longer a decent starting wage for families. It is great for a high school kid working a part time job as a bag boy. But it is not a living wage for a family with two kids to feed.
But the biggest bang of the night was his passionate plea for tighter gun control laws. At the time when he mentioned all of the families whose lives were shattered not just in the wake of Newtown, but mass shootings in Arizona, Colorado, Oregon and Virginia, Congress owes it to the families of the victims a floor vote on gun control. Background checks will more than likely pass through Congress, but the assault weapons ban and limiting magazine sizes will have a much harder time getting through Congress.
In short, Obama's State of the Union speech was one easily the strongest of his career and one of the strongest in American history. It was so strong that it made Florida Republican Rep. Marco Rubio gasp for water during the Republican response. I can't imagine what the Tea Party response was.
My expectations were exceeded. Obama deserved a standing ovation.