Tax Reform. Deficit Reducing. Medicare and Social Security. Jobs and Manufacturing. Research and investments. Energy. Climate Change. Infrastructure. Early Education. Reducing higher education costs. Strengthening public schools and college readiness. Immigration. Violence Against Women Act. Minimum Wage increases. Rewarding American job makers. Foreign Policy & coalition building. Preventing nuclear proliferation. Combatting Poverty. Voting reform. Gun Control. Whew, I think that covered almost all of the topics President Obama addressed in his Tuesday State of the Union speech.
Common-sense reform was at the core of his appeal to Congress, and to a larger extent, the American people watching at home. President Obama laid out some key ideas that are sure to excite his base (granted that he turns these visions into policy reforms) – including climate change action, more transparency in college costs and values, and more attention towards combatting poverty. In this speech President Obama has appropriately tossed the ball into Congress’ court to create lasting reform while maintaining the notion that he will act on his agenda through executive action and appointment.
Another worthy note in the speech was the one mere mention of the Affordable Care Act in regards to helping curb health care costs. Despite the ACA being a major talking point of the election, it has not garnered very much attention from the podium-stand since. Though, when talking about economic dealings and improvements to infrastructure and poverty levels, there is no doubt that an effective implementation of the ACA can be a major part of his second term. Not to mention that the most essential and meaty parts of the ACA will begin rolling out as early as this year.
On a smaller note, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), the man charged to give the Republican rebbutal to the State of the Union, was just that – small in comparison to the president. Granted the GOP rebuttal is a death trap for politicians (see Bobby Jindal 2009), but with Thirsty Rubio on the interwebs, if people didn’t know about Marco Rubio before, they will surely know now.
Ultimately, President Obama tapped into his strong rhetoric to ask what “real reform” looks like on immigration, and just how much the American people deserve gun control to be put to a vote by Congress. This wasn’t a liberal address, this was an address in line with public opinion that shows a slight majority in line with the president’s ideals. He inferred that he will circumvent congress if need be, and plead for the people to pressure Congress. He called for partisanship but is ready to move without them.
President Obama wished to champion progress, and definitely seemed to be a president who is accepting his re-election as an opportunity to make a difference and prove that government can be an instrument for good.
I’ll let the president have the last word:
“Indeed, no laws, no initiatives, no administrative acts will perfectly solve all the challenges I've outlined tonight. But we were never sent here to be perfect. We were sent here to make what difference we can, to secure this nation, expand opportunity, and uphold our ideals through the hard, often frustrating, but absolutely necessary work of self-government.”