In a masterful manner the president delivered a State of the Union speech tonight that covered all the bases. The speech lasted about an hour and twenty minutes and sounded like the Obama that ran for president in 2008. This was his 5th SOTU speech delivered before a joint session of Congress and left little doubt about the direction he intends to lead the country for the next 3 years.
Without belittling the "Do nothing Congress," the president made it clear that we are falling behind other nations by not investing in education and infrastructure. He reiterated his intentions to act unilaterally in areas where he can but welcomed Congress to get on board and do their part as well.
Despite the Republican opposition to raising the nation's minimum wage, the president challenged them to follow his lead in establishing a minimum wage of $10.10. He said this figure would be easy to remember by just remembering 10/10.
What was most notable about the speech was when and where the audience applauded. Vetoing a bill that included additional sanctions against Iran was not well received by those beating the drums of war. Asking the Congress to not waste another vote to repeal Obamacare was a slap in the face of Speaker Boehner who is planning yet another vote in the House to do just that. The president stated that the first forty votes to repeal the law were more than enough.
The Republican response to the president's speech was weak at best. The response was merely another confirmation that the party on the red side of the aisle is just against anything that the president is for. Even emphasizing that "Zero" is the number of people who will be denied health coverage due to a pre-existing conditions was not enough to generate enthusiasm in the chamber.
The president asserted that climate change was a fact and we owe it to our kids and grand kids to do something about it.
Demanding that the Congress not send him another piece of legislation that prohibits the closing of Guantanamo was the most direct and poignant charge of the night. As he put it, our national reputation is at stake. A nation that promotes democracy and American exceptionalism is diminished when we do not follow our own Constitution. Speaking of the Constitution, Republican leaders study the document daily looking for areas where they can charge the president for violating his duties. Tomorrow we'll really know how they felt about the speech.