On Tuesday night, President Barack Obama delivered his seventh State of the Union Address. This time, he was more confident and enthusiastic than we have seen since the beginning of his term.
“The shadow of crisis has passed,” Obama said in his speech. “And the State of the Union is strong.”
This was how the president introduced his message to the world.
The president went on to outline many economic indicators that have significantly improved over the past few years: unemployment rates, fuel prices, stock exchange rates, etc. Then, with a smile and a wink, President Obama declared: “This is good news people.”
The presidential address has often been used for outlining specific agenda items and detailed proposals the president wants implemented. However, President Obama used this address more so as one to encourage faith in the nation’s economy and future.
In fact, about half of his speech was dedicated to highlighting the hardships Americans have gone through since the Great Recession. By reminding viewers of where the nation was when he took office, the president was able to reflect on how far it has since come.
While President Obama used his time to convince us of a ‘turning of the page,’ he did not completely forfeit the opportunity to spout off a few of his own policy proposals. This package, he announced, is centered on an idea of middle class economics.
What is that? Middle class economics, to the president, means: affordable child care, guaranteed paid sick/maternity leave, gender pay equality, raising the minimum wage, free community college, and the opportunity to lower monthly student loan payments – just to name a few.
Now, just because the president proposed it does not mean it will become reality. Oddly, the president seemed like one whose party had just taken over Congress – not one that lost its majorities just two months ago.
President Obama is entering this seventh year of his presidency with a Congress completely controlled by the opposing party. It’s safe to say that he has an uphill battle with almost all of his agenda proposals.
One only has to glance at the election returns from the 2014 midterm elections. The American people gave a resounding mandate for conservatism and a shift to the right in national policy: specifically concerning domestic policies like those that President Obama discussed in his speech.
As for the President’s proposals? Well, the proverbial proof is in the pudding. We will see how far his poise and confidence will get him with this new Congress.
Whether or not any of his policies are given the light of day is one thing. Whether or not he will veto legislation that goes against his vision is another.
But one thing’s for sure; the American people have always appreciated a confident, strong-standing leader – even if they disagree wholeheartedly with his policy positions.