2011 State of the Union – Real Leadership?


Barack Obama

Barack Obama - White House Stock Photo

State of the Union addresses have been televised since President Truman.  The advent of radio & TV meant the SOTU address no longer gave direction just to congress, but also announced presidential intentions to the wider public.  Any President using this speech to speak only to his party base is not doing his job.  Regardless of who voted for him, a President must represent everyone in the country as well as possible.

I think President Obama did this very well.  He announced or furthered intentions grown from the democratic base, and he co-opted several issues grown from the republican base.  Our government’s job is to provide benefit to the country as a whole, not either party’s base.  Obama is leading this call, and I hope both major parties will come together behind him.

The Republican Response by U.S. Representative from WI Paul Ryan simply returned to rhetoric driven by old talking-points.  He continued with prefixes like the “failed stimulus”.  Did it fail?  The DJIA rebounded over 5k points, and we’re no longer dipping further into recession.

Republicans only offer tax cuts as stimulus.  Tax cuts only benefit people already earning money who, with a bleak economy, will hoard that money out of fear, not create new business and jobs.  Government spending does create jobs by spending it on new research and innovation (green technology) as well as roads, schools, managing our beloved land/property records, and paying doctors and nurses caring for our deserving veterans and first responders.

Ryan also said limited government, individual liberties, and free enterprise is what made America great.  Did he forget the high-taxed Eisenhower (R) years that built our country’s great infrastructure?  Does he include fighting gay marriage, Bush’s subsidies to oil companies, and fighting pro-choice as limited government favoring individual liberties?  This is contradiction pandering to his party’s base, not to the broader country’s citizenship.

Government has always directed money toward industries they want to grow.  Bush signed billions in oil subsidies which democrats tried to reverse in 2007.  Oil companies subsequently set world corporate profit records when the rest of the economy was falling.  Obama will redirect oil subsidies to clean energy innovation.  This will create jobs since the industry is in its infancy.  We will never be the world leader in the aging oil industry, but we could be the world leader in green technology innovation and manufacturing.  When developed, it will reduce our dependence on increasingly expensive oil.

Ribbon for Gabby Giffords

Showing Unity and Ribbon Supporting Gabby Giffords

President Obama announced direction where money will be spent.  As an independent, I don’t follow the extremities of either major party, but I can follow our President who is trying to work with groups across our country.  Following his leadership will help small and large business alike, and new jobs will be created.

We need to get behind our President.  Stand together in his moderate stance or divided we will fall.

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Filed under American Government & Institutions (state & federal), Government Taxes, Spending, and Deficits, International Politics & Economy, Political Parties & Partisan Politics

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