State of the Union

Alex Peterson

Contributing Writer

Last Tuesday, President Barack Obama delivered his yearly address on the State of The Union. With elections on the horizon, it’s no surprise that President Obama painted a picture of America headed in the right direction under his leadership. He pointed to the end of the Iraq War, the weakened state of al Qaeda and new jobs created over the past year as proof that America is still strong and will remain strong.

Obama proposed the blueprint for an America “built to last,” containing four basic tenets: new manufacturing, new skills, American energy and a renewal of values. He wants other industries to follow the recent success of the American auto industry, which is bouncing back after nearly failing and receiving government bailouts in 2008. Obama plans to bring outsourced jobs back home. He wants to equip American workers with new skills by discouraging tuition hikes and partnering community colleges with businesses so that people will have the skills that employers need right now.

As far as American energy is concerned, the President will use an “all of the above strategy.” The focus will be on clean energy investment in an effort to create jobs while staying competitive with foreign competition in the burgeoning wind, solar and battery industries. He wants to start taking full advantage of a domestic abundance of natural gas deposits in shale rock. If you’ve seen ‘Gasland,’ you can take that disgusted look off of your face, because he did promise that the drilling would come with health and safety regulations.

Now that the Iraq War has come to a close, Obama wants to devote half of the money we were spending on Iraq to paying the national debt. The other half will be spent on repairing our infrastructure, which will help a construction industry that has struggled since the recession.

Health care was not the chief concern of his speech and the national debt came up multiple times but was never a major talking point. Obama focused more on job creation and described how the nation is going in the right direction. He decried that anyone who says that the country is in decline “doesn’t know what they’re talking about.”

If Americans believe that the country is on the right track, Obama will be in a great position to win the election in November. A poll by Rasmussen Reports came out Wednesday showing that 29 percent of likely voters think the country is going in the right direction. Although that is not very good, it’s an improvement from 14 percent in August.

To wrap up his speech, Obama extolled the power of teamwork. Soldiers need to work together and focus on the mission at hand in order to succeed. So, if Americans work together, America will remain strong. Certainly, this is the kind of teamwork Obama wanted from Congress in raising the debt-ceiling this past year. Along with the question of who will be president next year, another question looms large: will his party be in Congress?

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