President Obama again displayed his oratorical skills in delivering the 93rd State of the Union speech Tuesday evening, but the presentation failed to live up to pre-speech expectations.
News people who cover the White House, as well as many seasoned political pundits, had prepared the public for a much stronger, more challenging, attacking or confrontational address, but it turned out to be more of a review of Obama’s past five years in office and an effort to reignite past pledges, promises and dreams.
One of the most surprising aspects of the speech was the president’s references to situations in the country that have laid dormant or worsened during the time he has been in charge and in the White House. He said, “inequality had deepened” and told of job seekers who have been out of work and individuals dropping out of the work force. He talked about his continuing efforts to elevate or better the middle class, the fact that “average wages have barely budged” and said that “upward mobility has stalled. He also noted that little, if anything has been done to bring about his change in the nation’s immigration policies, etc.
All of these situations have remained relatively unchanged during Obama’s years in the Oval Office and serve as evidence of his inability to achieve many of his past campaign dreams and pledges. It certainly says something about his inability to forge respectful and workable relations with Republican leaders.
In too many instances, it seems the Obama approach is “my way or the highway.” In his Tuesday evening address, he made it clear that if he can’t get what he wants from Congress, he will use executive actions to bypass legislators and perhaps even violate the Constitution to get his way.
Of course, GOP leaders and those in the Senate and House should be open, interested and genuinely motivated for what is in the best interest of the country and its citizens. However, there is little evidence Obama has made much effort to reach across the political aisle to find solutions to contentious political challenges.
Both Republicans and Democrats should be disappointed the president didn’t deliver a more inspiring message that would encourage lawmakers and the public to demand a more positive performance by those who play such a decisive role in our lives and activities as well as the future of this country.
Unfortunately, Tuesday’s State of the Union speech was just more of the same: an hour and five minutes of political posturing.