The State of the Union was upbeat and positive, and that's saying a lot from me, a pessimist. Now I know those on the right will tell you everything that was wrong with the president's speech; heck, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and former Gov. Mitt Romney told America what they thought of the president's speech before he even uttered a word!
Personally, I felt the president hit it out of the park—his best State of the Union speech and hopefully his fourth, not his last.
Starting out with thanking the U.S. military, he pointed out that for the first time in nine years we're no longer in Iraq, and more importantly, that we're safer and we're more respected throughout the world. And of course, there was the huge applause when he mentioned that for the first time in over two decades, we're no longer fearful of the wrath of Osama bin Laden.
I personally loved when the president referred to how our military operates, and how we as a nation and how the government should operate: focus on the mission at hand and do it working together. With the lowest approval rating of Congress ever and polls showing that Americans clearly want both sides of the aisle to work together to get things done, the president, I believe, was speaking to all Americans and to all of our frustrations with our government.
I also liked how the president painted a picture of what could be. He pointed out America's values; except for one remark about the administration that preceded him, he didn't blame former President Bush, which I found refreshing and necessary.
He was bold when he specifically stated that the banks were wrong and irresponsible in lending money to people who couldn't afford to pay it back.
He gave facts about job loss: 4 million jobs lost before he entered office, millions more before his policies were implemented.
I found that the president was being humble when he spoke of the jobs that businesses created–not he, his administration, or Congress.
When the president spoke of American values, it didn't have to do with church or religion; it had to do with our work ethic—from American manufacturing to GM regaining its title as the number one automaker in the world. Even the Republicans had to clap on that one.
And for a president who is constantly accused of wanting to tax America to death, he was talking about a lot of tax credits going around: tax credits for making products here in America, tax breaks for small business owners—rewarding those who keep and develop jobs here, and stopping the rewards going to companies that send their jobs overseas. (Sidenote: Eric Cantor looked angry about that–hmm...)
Then the president went on to other things America values, other things that make our nation great, and what could make us greater: education. He linked education with the ability to increase a person's income in the future. And he made it personal when he spoke of every person in the chamber who has a teacher they liked, remembered, etc. I found myself nodding at that remark.
He reached out to Hispanics with the DREAM act, although never mentioning it by name. He touched the unions in speaking about manufacturing, teachers, and the auto industry. And he even gave a shout out to us ladies with the desire for us to earn equal pay for the jobs we do that men do. (Woo hoo!)
The bottom line is, although this speech is about governing, it is a campaign year. I felt the president reminded Americans of where we are, how far we've come, and where we could be headed with him at the helm. He spoke of the facts rather than the fiction Americans so often hear in the media. And if America were a ship, he showed us with his words that he is more than up to the task of being the ship's captain for the next four years.
- Read the U.S. News debate: Did Obama Lay Out a Winning Agenda for 2012 in His State of the Union Address?
- See pictures of Obama Delivering State of the Union Address
- Learn about the history of the State of the Union address.