Last night, all three branches of government convened in the House chamber to listen to President Barack Obama’s third State of the Union address. With the election on everybody’s mind, the president outlined a blueprint of his plans for the coming year and previewed the approach he will take to the stump.
Obama opened and closed his speech commending the military, and he noted their success in ending the Iraq War and killing Osama bin Laden. He asked Congress to send him a bill that would lower taxes for companies wishing to bring money back into the country from overseas, and he affirmed the United States’ relationship with Israel as “ironclad.” Likewise, he touched on the Buffett Rule, which would raise taxes on the wealthy, and he promised to expedite construction projects. Talking tough about China, Obama announced the creation of a trade enforcement unit to investigate questionable economic practices around the world.
The speech had its share of patriotic flourishes as well. “Anyone who tells you otherwise, anyone who tells you that America is in decline or that our influence has waned, doesn’t know what they’re talking about,” the president said, eliciting an ovation.
Obama also recognized the country’s frustration with its elected officials in Washington. “But no matter what party they belong to, I bet most Americans are thinking the same thing right now: Nothing will get done this year, or next year, or maybe even the year after that, because Washington is broken. Can you blame them for feeling a little cynical?”
As an election-year State of the Union, the speech will be looked upon by some not as an outline of the president’s agenda but as a sales pitch for November. Did Obama lay out a winning agenda for 2012 in his State of the Union address? Here’s the Debate Club’s take: