President Barack Obama will deliver his third State of the Union address Tuesday night. He’s had a rough couple of years, having inherited wars and a recession with its accompanying high unemployment numbers. Yet, as Salon’s Sasha Abramsky points out, his approval rating remains head and shoulders above other political figures. Faintest of praise, sure.
With so much to deal with, what will he focus on in this year’s State of the Union? Will he keep it wonky or use the spotlight to return to his roots and what launched him into the national spotlight less than a decade ago? That is, focusing on the big picture, on moral issues, on the future — all of it delivered with a flourish.
The New York Times predicts he’ll deliver a centrist political message (that shouldn’t be a surprise). The focus will be on unifying the nation, government spending on certain important programs while also attacking the deficit.
Denis A. Henigan writes over at Huffington Post that Obama should use the speech and the recent shooting in Tucson, to talk about stricter gun laws.
Salon‘s Abramsky thinks the President should focus on moral issues.
But what’s crucial is that the president doesn’t neglect the more abstract, philosophical questions. The questions about what sort of a society we are and what sort of a community we want to be. In fact, more so than at any time since the presidential election, the moral tone of his speech – and of speeches to come – will be more important than many of the policy particulars.
What do you think Obama should focus on in the SOTU address? Balancing the budget? Spanking the Republicans for not giving healthcare reform a chance? Guns and safety in the U.S.? Ongoing terrorist attacks around the world? Education reform? Are you hoping for a moving speech that will bring the country together? Or have you had enough of that?
I’d like to see his speech celebrate progress like health care reform, while also pointing out the limits of politics (like what partisanship did and is doing to healthcare reform). I’m interested in issues pertaining to American families, especially the middle class. I want to know where his administration is at in terms of education reform and what role the federal government intends to play, if any, in the looming state budget disasters around the countyr.
Naturally,the First Lady deserves a shout-out for pushing her Healthy Kids agenda.
I’m not opposed to the standing-clapping-sitting thing that Republicans and Democrats do. But I’d like to see him deliver a couple of lines that bring everyone to their feet — lines about where the country is headed, the future, some irresistible bits about handing the keys over to the kids.
I know there will be plenty of references to Gabrielle Giffords and Tucson and, of course, that’s fresh in the people’s minds. But sometimes a focus on recent tragedies can feel staged and pandering and not terribly genuine. I’m more interested in knowing what lies ahead for the country.