State Of The Union Address


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Article II Section III of the United States Constitution states “He shall from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such Measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient;”  Last night, as every President has done before him, dating back to George Washington, President Obama delivered the State of the Union Address.  It is truly one of the great political mandates and just one of the things that has separated this country from all others.  There is accountability.  There are checks and balances assuring no single branch consolidates power.  President Obama, as expected, delivered a great speech.  While it’s the job of the party on the other side of the aisle to critique his message, he delivered it well and made some very cogent points.  For example, when he addressed immigration reform, he received a standing ovation from both sides of the aisle.  The GOP finally recognizes that if it is to have any relevancy or chance of winning future national elections, it will have to win a larger percentage of the Latino vote for whom immigration is a pivotal issue.  Then there was the moment toward the end of his speech where he pointed to all of the shooting victims and declared that they “deserve a vote”.  This too was received well by both parties.  But of course there were a larger number of issues of contention, than agreement. For example, the President challenged the Congress to raise the Federal minimum wage to $9.00/hr.  Clearly that won’t happen as the two sides completely disagree on this issue.  The Democrats believe this would help the economy because poor people would have more disposable income.  The Republicans believe there’s no point because even at $9.00/hr. a family of four would still be living below the poverty line. Issues of economic policy are probably the ones where the two parties are furthest apart.  The Democrats believe in spending to stimulate the economy while the Republicans believe cutting costs and the deficit is the was to grow the economy.  President Obama clearly did not gain any GOP support on this issue, which is unfortunate because it doesn’t bode well for the country.  The Republican and Tea Party responses to the President were both predictable and uneventful.  But the night is not about the parties, the night is about honoring the framers who mandated a report by the President to the people.  Remember, while most people today may never see or meet their representatives in person, in the early days of our great union, the representatives were just that; member of the local communities sent to Congress to represent the people’s interests.  Today our representatives are more like celebrities than members of our community, which is unfortunate.  But again, the State of the Union Address is not about the Congress or the President.  It’s about honoring and obeying the most important political document that has ever been penned.

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