In his State of the Union address last night, President Obama attempted to show progress and national solidarity, while taking his agenda for the year to the far left. However, the attempt at unity largely fell flat, leaving politicians and citizens frustrated and disappointed.
Shortly before giving the speech, the president repeated his threats to Congress; namely, cooperate with my agenda or I will veto your bills.
“I think this was a tremendous missed opportunity for this administration,” said Senator Richard Burr. “When you start out with multiple veto threats and you show no willingness to even meet somewhere in the middle on issues that have been percolating for some time, it gives you very little hope that there’s going to be a breakthrough.”
“Finding common ground is what the American people sent us here to do, but you wouldn’t know it from the president’s speech tonight,” said John Boehner, Speaker of the House. “While veto threats and unserious proposals may make for good political theater, they will not distract this new American Congress from our focus on the people’s priorities.”
“True to form, the President in his State of the Union speech is more interested in politics than in leadership,” Mitt Romney, former Republican presidential candidate, said. “He ignores the fact that the country has elected a Congress that favors smaller government and lower taxes. Rather than bridging the gap between the parties, he makes ‘bridge to nowhere’ proposals. Disappointing. A missed opportunity to lead.”
Senator Elizabeth Warren and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton were more optimistic. “Great speech, Mr. President,” Massachusetts senator Warren said. “Looking forward to working with the WhiteHouse to build an economy that works for all our families.”
“[Obama] pointed [the] way to an economy that works for all,” Clinton wrote. “Now we need to step up & deliver for the middle class. #FairShot #FairShare.”
Clinton’s addition of #FairShot #FairShare echoes hints in Obama’s speech of their shared philosophy of wealth redistribution. While Obama does not directly say so in the address, he indicates that he plans to tax wealthier citizens and businesses more, while providing free community college and aid for middle class families to “pay for childcare.”
“It’s unfortunate President Obama wants to use the tax code to divide us — instead of proposing reforms to create economic opportunity for every American,” former Florida governor Jeb Bush said. “We can do better.”
While the president covered such topics as the economy, making community college free, trade deals, infrastructure, research, taxes, climate change, and pulling out of the Middle East, he neglected to discuss his plans for combating terrorism at home or overseas.
“So when Barack Obama, like the rest of us, hear these bad guys, these terrorists, promising that they will raise the flag of Allah over our White House, for the life of me I don’t know why he does not take this serious[ly], the threat,” said Sarah Palin, former Republican vice presidential candidate. “Because yes, it’s more than a vision. They’re telling — just like Hitler did all those years ago, when a war could’ve been avoided, because Hitler, too, did not hide his intentions. Well, ISIS, these guys aren’t hiding their intentions either.”
Palin also felt compelled to apologize that she and her running mate did not win the 2008 election. “As I watched the speech last night…the thought going through my mind is, ‘I owe America a global apology,’” Palin said.
Apparently, the president was more concerned with “reject[ing] offensive stereotypes of Muslims,” “condemn[ing] the persecution of…people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender” (because it “make[s] us safer”), and “agree[ing] on a woman’s right to choose” than defending America, her citizens, and people around the world from extremists who kill anyone who disagrees with them.
“Imagine if we broke out of these tired old patterns,” Obama said towards the end of his address. “Imagine if we did something different.”
“Tonight, America saw a powerful demonstration that it is time to move on beyond President Barack Obama,” said Senator Ted Cruz.
“We need someone in the White House with the experience to navigate our national security challenges and the fortitude to be straight with the American people on how to tackle them,” said former senator Rick Santorum. “Inauguration Day 2017 cannot come soon enough.”
Even if we may not always agree, it’s important to hear different points of view in this great country. We appreciate the President sharing his. Tonight though…I’d like to talk about your priorities. I’d like to have a conversation about the new Republican Congress you just elected, and how we plan to make Washington focus on your concerns again. We heard the message you sent in November — loud and clear. And now we’re getting to work to change the direction Washington has been taking our country. There’s a lot we can achieve if we work together. Let’s tear down trade barriers in places like Europe and the Pacific. Let’s sell more of what we make and grow in America over there so we can boost manufacturing, wages, and jobs right here, at home. Let’s simplify America’s outdated and loophole-ridden tax code. Republicans think tax filing should be easier for you, not just the well-connected. So let’s iron out loopholes to lower rates — and create jobs, not pay for more government spending. The President has already expressed some support for these kinds of ideas. We’re calling on him now to cooperate to pass them. You’ll see a lot of serious work in this new Congress. We know [terrorist] threats…can’t just be wished away. We’ve been reminded of terrorism’s reach both at home and abroad; most recently in France and Nigeria, but also in places like Canada and Australia. The forces of violence and oppression don’t care about the innocent. We need a comprehensive plan to defeat them.
Ernst goes on to advocate honoring America’s veterans, repealing Obamacare, cutting wasteful spending, creating a balanced budget, and defending life, among other priorities.
“Congress is back to work on your behalf, ready to make Washington focus on your concerns again,” Ernst said. “We know America faces big challenges. But history has shown there’s nothing our nation, and our people, can’t accomplish.