|State of the Union 2011|
|Written by Katherine Kussmann & Andrew Steckling Daily Vidette News Editors|
|Wednesday, 26 January 2011 01:30|
President Barack Obama hopes to win the future in his address Tuesday; ISU weighs in on his speech
President Barack Obama gave his State of the Union address Tuesday night, promising drastic changes for the future and the American people.
Obama addressed key issues in his speech, including encouraging American innovation, a hope of creating 100,000 new teaching jobs, freezing domestic spending for the next five years, reducing health care costs and simplifying the individual tax code.
“We know what it takes to compete for the jobs and industries of our time. We need to out-innovate, out-educate and out-build the rest of the world,” Obama said.
Democrats and Republicans set partisanship aside prior to the event by interacting and sitting with one another while wearing ribbons honoring Rep. Gabby Giffords and the victims of the Tucson, Ariz. shooting.
Obama began his speech commenting on the interaction and the tragedy in Tucson.
“There’s a reason the tragedy in Tucson gave us pause. Amid all the noise and passions and rancor of our public debate, Tucson reminded us that no matter who we are or where we come from, each of us is a part of something greater – something more consequential than party or political preference,” he said.
Hannah Tomlin, president of the ISU College Democrats, believed the interactions Democrats and Republicans shared had a lot to do with the tragedy in Tucson, stating it made people think about how they treat one another.
“I think that might be more now, but I think that we’ll still have some party to divide, but tonight was a step in the right direction working more across party lines,” Tomlin said.
Shamira Gelbman, assistant professor of politics and government, thought it was a solid speech.
“[He] pretty clearly aimed at the political center, which won’t particularly thrill his liberal ‘base’ or his conservative opponents, but will probably shoe up support among the large numbers of voters who are closer to the middle,” she said.
Andrew Larson, president of the ISU College Republicans, agreed.
“I think there was a commitment to try and play himself towards the middle, but [to] do it in a matter of which that pleased on the surface of both sides,” he said.
Gelbman added she believes the speech was very forward-looking, which could perhaps “revive the sense of hope and possibility that prevailed when Obama first became president.”
“They are not going to remember specific numbers or dates, but they are going to remember that what we need to do is those things that made this nation great. Those are the types of things that resonate with the general public more than remembering numbers and policies,” Robert Bradley, professor of politics and government, said.
Although Obama did not go into specifics of how he plans to enact certain measures to cut the deficit or reduce troop involvement in both Afghanistan and Iraq, Bradley believes the generalities were needed.
“You need to focus on broad themes because what we need to hear is a renewed hope and a renewed energy for this country,” he said.
Early in his speech, Obama called upon Congress to pass a budget that helps the country reach its “Sputnik moment,” an action to reach a level of research and development the country has not seen since the Space Race.
“We’ll invest in biomedical research, information technology and especially clean energy technology – an investment that will strengthen our security, protect our planet and create countless jobs for our people,” he said.
Obama added maintaining the leadership in research and technology is crucial to America’s success.
“But if we want to win the future – if we want innovation to produce jobs in America and not overseas – then we also have to win the race to educate our kids,” he said.
Obama addressed the need for children to be educated in the classroom and that responsibility lies with the parents and communities to help further that education.
To help build that future, Obama said “we want to prepare 100,000 new teachers in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math.”
“I appreciate his call for people to become teachers, especially his framing of the profession in terms of ‘nation-building’ and educators’ essential role in cultivating the human resources that can make that possible,” Gelbman said.
The “education race” he calls for also addresses making college affordable for students.
“I ask Congress to go further, and make permanent our tuition tax credit – worth $10,000 for four years of college,” Obama said.
Following the speech, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) presented the GOP response, stating Obama was right to focus a lot of attention on the economy and the deficit.
“Some of his words were reassuring. As chairman of the House Budget Committee, I assure you that we want to work with the President to restrain federal spending...a few years ago, reducing spending was important. Today, it’s imperative,” he said.
While the Republican Party and the Tea Party movement sought their own agenda, all parties agree on one of the major themes of the night–unity.
“In particular, we need to come together as Americans. That has been a theme for Obama for quite a while–that we need to restore civility, that we need to come together as one nation, that partisanship should not be dictating everything that goes on in D.C.,” Bradley said.