President Obama’s State of the Union address tonight was short and reflective. Although I didn’t agree with most of the content, this was Mr. Obama at his inspirational best.
He started out by noting this is his last State of the Union Address, and spent time talking about the future beyond his presidency. He noted his administration would likely not get much done this year. It was mildly flavored as a victory speech, but he didn’t gloat as much as usual in my opinion.
Here are the main points, as I heard them:
– Obama wants to alleviate the high cost of college education. The substance of his solution is to provide two years of community college for free for every college student. Hmmm. The average cost of two years of community college is just under $7000 range. Average for a four-year degree is over $36,000. Not much help there. If we want prices to fall, we have to stop encouraging prices to rise (which is exactly what we do).
– Joe Biden is being put in charge of curing cancer. This seems a bit opportunist since for the past 10 years the buzz in the pharmaceutical industry has been that all forms of cancer would be treatable and curable by 2020 or so. But I’m not opposed to giving Joe credit if he actually helps.
– Obama touted clean energy progress in America. But the only substance I heard was an allusion to massively taxing coal and oil in the U.S. to “reflect the true cost.” Look out folks, those low gas prices are on the chopping block.
– President Obama said priority one is to keep Americans safe. I certainly agree with this, but his rhetoric about events in the Middle East, Russia, and in rest of the world sure seemed to me to be a man of inaction calling for action. In my opinion his blunders in foreign policy (with Hillary’s help) have indeed created the instabilities he said we would have to deal with for the next generation.
– Obama wants to lift the embargo with Cuba, saying 50 years of isolation has not worked. It may be nearly time to do this, since the Castros are on their last leg. But I’m not sure I would trash the policies of all of the Presidents before him.
– Obama wants to end the scourge of HIV and malaria, says they are within reach. OK fine, but again opportunistic since he had almost nothing to do with getting to this point (hello George Bush!).
– Obama said he is still working to shut down Guantanamo. Its been seven years, and its all under his control, he can do this with an executive order. Why is it still open?
– Obama stated clearly we should have no policy targeting people because of their race or religion. As he was speaking I was thinking about affirmative action programs that still exist. I guess targeting race or religion is OK if it benefits certain of your constituents… Additionally he talked about charity and helping your fellow man, yet his policies continue to attack the core beliefs of Christian groups, whose works are the bulk of charity in America.
– Obama also touted the agreement with Iran and stated that all of the nuclear materials have been shipped out. Huh? No way this is possible or likely in the near future. Not sure what he was thinking, but he certainly declared victory.
Nikki Haley’s response probably summed this up. It was all about promises made but never kept.