Coming off of a pretty resounding and motivational State of The Union Address, The Obama Administration couldn’t have planned Tuesday any better, if they had hand-picked the joint sessions attendees themselves (or if they’d had the POTUS to end his speech with an encore rendition of Al’s Let’s Stay Together).
Like the rest of America, I’ve had my fill of talking points, bullet references and recycled stump speeches from both parties. Last night, I was more interested in knowing where the President believed America really stood socially and economically, and what his plans were to resolve what has ailed us for so long. And although he couldn’t have possibly given us an in-depth elucidation in the mere hour and change that he addressed the nation, I can say that I was satisfied with the fact that the President did address my big three.
National Security: Although not necessarily what I’d have opened with, right out of the gate, Barack Obama wanted to make sure that while some of America was pointing fingers and blaming him for any and everything, they were also reminded that Bin Laden had gotten “got” while on his watch…something the previous administration had only dreamed of doing (seeing as how they’d been playing a veritable game of Where’s Waldo with the man for the past ten years). Prez also discussed the unacceptability of Iran constructing or acquiring nuclear weaponry and made clear his ardent stance (with or without peace negotiations or further sanctions) to ensure that Iran knew that although peace was always an option, America was not playing games with them and would respond swiftly and surely to their potential tomfoolery.
J-O-B-S: While the POTUS and his democratic supporters have been singing the same song for the last three years, Obama addressed the fact that like it or not, he had inherited the mess that had ultimately resulted in a not-so-fundamentally-strong economy and the loss of millions of jobs. He also acknowledged that since in office, the economic rebound wasn’t as swift in coming as we all would have liked, but the Bailout out of companies like GM had in fact worked, resulting in more American jobs and the automaker reclaiming its throne as best in the business. The President also expressed his willingness to work across party lines to get infrastructure jobs enacted, but challenged Congress to work to get a Bill on his desk that he could pass. Further, he suggested that incentives and tax relief be granted to American Companies that did not outsource American Jobs overseas.
Economic Equity: Clearly the most divisive of political topics in the past few years (or ever), President Obama re-stressed his position that in order to stimulate the economy and provide opportunities that all Americans could benefit from, the nation’s majority (the 98 percent)who worked hard and did their fair share should be afforded some significant tax relief. Becoming the poster child for this sentiment, Warren Buffet’s secretary (who notably makes substantially less money than her billionaire boss) was panned to many times during the speech, as Mr. Obama declared how senseless it was that those Americans who made significantly less money than their wealthy counterparts (the 2 percent), ultimately had to pay more in taxes.
Now, what I found so crucial about what the President discussed in The State of The Union Address last night was that so much of what he said could not have come at a better time. For instance, yesterday’s release of Republican Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney’s tax returns (in, let’s be honest, more grudging than perfunctory fashion) and the confirmation of SEAL Team 6’s rescue of two hostage aid workers in Somalia had to be a gift horse that the Obama Administration did not even consider looking into the mouth. In the case of Romney, the situation clearly spoke to the distinct ideological contrast that while the President wants to provide tax breaks for the middle class, there is this potential Republican Presidential candidate who, in paying roughly 15% in Capital Gains Tax (because he is fortunate in the wealth department) believes that he should be paying less than that. Where the SEALS are concerned, I wouldn’t go so far as to pat The President on the back for another mission accomplished, because let’s be for real for a sec, facilitating from the safety of a highly secure edifice is nothing like risking life and limb in the trenches; but it sure does look good for his presidential resume to be riding the wave of another military success.
As it were, I am not sure what last night’s address did to change the minds of staunch conservatives, or those who currently find themselves in the middle of the political road. What I do know however is that from the various conversations that I’ve had over the past 24 hours, lots of Democrats seem pleased that the President is showing his aggressiveness; an almost forlorn trait that has now seemed to reenergize the democratic base. I would be very interested to see what the Administration plans to do to maintain this momentum.
In the words of Rick Santorum (did I just do that??), Game On!