White House photo: Pete Souza — President Obama delivers the State of the Union Address 01/27/10
More jobs and pumping up the weak economy were major themes in President Obama’s first State of the Union speech delivered before a joint session of Congress last night. And that’s the way it should be. The country, and especially the backbone of the our society — middle class folks — are still struggling under the weight of this recession. ” For these Americans and so many others, change has not come fast enough. Some are frustrated; some are angry. They don’t understand why it seems like bad behavior on Wall Street is rewarded, but hard work on Main Street isn’t; or why Washington has been unable or unwilling to solve any of our problems. They’re tired of the partisanship and the shouting and the pettiness. They know we can’t afford it. Not now. ” President Obama said.
Interestingly a New York Times’ piece today, points out that even when the president rightly boasted of tax cuts generated by his administration, Republicans in the audience, who almost always cheer anything or anyone that produces tax cuts, well, last night, they refused to applaud. This demonstrated to the country why gridlock in congress is hampering a national health plan and other legislation that would benefit average Americans. That kind of attitude and partisanship by Republicans are responsible for much of the mess our country is in now. I don’t vote along a party line. I vote issues and candidates and therefore, I find the partisanship battles extremely frustrating.
During eight years of a Republican President, you didn’t hear Republicans screaming loudly about the rapidly growing deficit, the ill-conceived and expensive war in Iraq, or even the major financial melt-down and the much hated Bush Adminstration plan to bailout the rich cats at the banks and on Wall Street. Republicians were in charge of Congress during those eight years and it’s ridiculous to expect a Democratic President to clean-up that mess in one year. Republicans and Democrats need to work together to get the country and the economy back on track.
I must say, I thought new Republican Governor Robert. F. McDonnell, who gave the rebuttal to the State of the Union, showed more class than many of his more senior Republican leaders. Virginia Governor McDonnell complimented the president on some points and criticized him on others. Overall, McDonnell faulted the federal government for “trying to do too much.”
I gotta point out, President Obama was left with a full plate of problems to deal with and many demand urgent attention. The President realizes this and made it clear in his speech he plans to push forward on a health care plan, a bipartisan commission to work on reducing the federal debt, a jobs creation bill, $30 billion of the repaid bailout money to go to small businesses and so on.
I agree with the president when he wrapped up the spirit and goals of his speech by saying, “… a new year has come. A new decade stretches before us. We don’t quit. I don’t quit. Let’s seize this moment — to start anew, to carry the dream forward, and to strengthen our union once more. ”
For the full text of President Obama’s State of the Union speech click here.