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Obama Delivers One of the Best Speeches of His Presidency: a Tour de Force SOTU
The Obama vision for America was laid out in sweeping fashion. President Obama delivered what might be the greatest State of the Union address from a president in at least 25 years.
Why was Obama’s address so good? It laid out a real vision for the future.
The president took on broad issues like climate change,”The good news is, we can make meaningful progress on this issue while driving strong economic growth. I urge this Congress to pursue a bipartisan, market-based solution to climate change, like the one John McCain and Joe Lieberman worked on together a few years ago. But if Congress won’t act soon to protect future generations, I will. I will direct my Cabinet to come up with executive actions we can take, now and in the future, to reduce pollution, prepare our communities for the consequences of climate change, and speed the transition to more sustainable sources of energy. Four years ago, other countries dominated the clean energy market and the jobs that came with it. We’ve begun to change that. Last year, wind energy added nearly half of all new power capacity in America. So let’s generate even more. Solar energy gets cheaper by the year – so let’s drive costs down even further. As long as countries like China keep going all-in on clean energy, so must we.”
Obama laid out the goal of slashing our energy waste in homes and business by 50% over the next 20 years, “I’m also issuing a new goal for America: let’s cut in half the energy wasted by our homes and businesses over the next twenty years. The states with the best ideas to create jobs and lower energy bills by constructing more efficient buildings will receive federal support to help make it happen.”
The president proposed a comprehensive infrastructure repair program that uses public and private capital, “I’m also issuing a new goal for America: let’s cut in half the energy wasted by our homes and businesses over the next twenty years. The states with the best ideas to create jobs and lower energy bills by constructing more efficient buildings will receive federal support to help make it happen.”
Obama discussed real immigration reform, “Our economy is stronger when we harness the talents and ingenuity of striving, hopeful immigrants. And right now, leaders from the business, labor, law enforcement, and faith communities all agree that the time has come to pass comprehensive immigration reform. Real reform means strong border security, and we can build on the progress my Administration has already made – putting more boots on the southern border than at any time in our history, and reducing illegal crossings to their lowest levels in 40 years. Real reform means establishing a responsible pathway to earned citizenship – a path that includes passing a background check, paying taxes and a meaningful penalty, learning English, and going to the back of the line behind the folks trying to come here legally. And real reform means fixing the legal immigration system to cut waiting periods, reduce bureaucracy, and attract the highly-skilled entrepreneurs and engineers that will help create jobs and grow our economy.”
The president called for gun reform, “It has been two months since Newtown. I know this is not the first time this country has debated how to reduce gun violence. But this time is different. Overwhelming majorities of Americans – Americans who believe in the 2nd Amendment – have come together around commonsense reform – like background checks that will make it harder for criminals to get their hands on a gun. Senators of both parties are working together on tough new laws to prevent anyone from buying guns for resale to criminals. Police chiefs are asking our help to get weapons of war and massive ammunition magazines off our streets, because they are tired of being outgunned.”
Any of these accomplishments would make for a great second term legacy, but Barack Obama is looking bigger. He wants all four. Judging from the president’s first term legislative success, I wouldn’t bet against him on any of these issues.
This was by far President Obama’s best State of the Union address. Out from under the burden of the collapsed economy, the president is finally free to lay out his vision for the future of this country. Obama not only laid out a vision. He showed the country an achievable vision. Speculation before the address was that it was partisan, but only a partisan could believe that Obama’s vision for America would be bad for the country.
Obama’s SOTU contained the traditional liberal defenses of Social Security and Medicare. It also contained a vision of a liberal America that is tolerant, inclusive, fair, and diverse. All of these adjectives terrify Republicans, which is one reason why they keep losing elections and falling behind a nation that is changing.
Barack Obama showed the nation a vision of a brighter future, and he delivered a road map of future priorities for the Democratic Party.
The vision of America that so many voted for in 2008 is close to becoming a reality in 2012 and beyond.
President Obama delivered a State of the Union that if implemented will change the course of this country for decades.