Written by Issa Napon
Edited by Caitlin Cruz
Obama: a strong hope speech at audience magnifying glass
Tuesday was one of the most awaited day since the eve of the last government shutdown in the U.S. awaited because President Obama would be giving his state of the Union address after the difficult moments and bad faith he went through those last months as the results of the shutdown.
Awaited by the people who dropped their confidence of the present hurt by the shutdown and the laborious launching of the new health care law. And of course my focus was on what audiences think about the sixth Obama’s State of the Union speech. Would they be wiling to give him back trust and confidence lost these last months?
For his first time in the office the president was indeed more disliked by Americans. According to the Guardian, Obama hit a net -7 rate approval while the president had an approval rate between 8 and 9 before the 2011 debt ceiling debate. With the people distrust following the implementing Affordable Care Act and the government shutdown, it was a matter of “double or crash” story for the president at a few months for the mid-term elections for democrats. Obama showed an iron will to get job numbers improved, get people back to work with the commitment of 300 bigger U.S. companies, improve American workers’ skills and education, equality between men and women in jobs wages and especially to bypass the congress with executive actions on initiatives that does not need congress to accomplish.
Let’s take a look at some leaders’s reactions:
The official response to the president address came from the Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington who instead of finding something to denounce in Obama’s speech preferred to take her own example life to explain to Americans why she as chose to join the Republican Party. She criticized the healthcare law, saying it might not be the government’s right to choose for people but for people themselves to choose their own health care. According to the Washington Post, she also added: “Right now, the president’s policies are making people’s lives harder. Republicans have plans to close the gap.” Other responses to State of the Union, especially Sens. Mike Lee (Utah) and Rand Paul (Ky.) who are seeking presidential nominations, were two tea party favorites who reflected party’s ideological rivalries.
Few republican were furious over much of the speech, reported the Guardian: “You don’t make laws, or pronounce laws, without going through the United States Congress,” said Michelle Bachmann, the conservative congresswoman from Minnesota. “That’s not our system of government and he needs to be held to account for that.” Dean Robert and Paul Lewis quoted one of them. Lawmakers from both parties criticized President Obama’s minimal comments on the violence in Syria in his State of the Union address, while reaction to the president’s praise for the Iran interim nuclear deal fell more along party lines.
According to the BuzzFeed Politics, lawmakers have differently praised the address, speaking out about the president minimal comments on Iran or Syria. “The president really was disconnected from the serious dangers in the Mideast,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham, calling the interim nuclear deal with Iran “terrible.” Graham said he was “shocked” that Obama didn’t devote more of his speech to Syria, which he called a “contagion” that would destabilize the region. Sen. Bob Casey, a Democrat, said, “I’ve been pretty blunt with regard to the administration in the respect that they need to very clearly spell out what our strategy is going to be going forward” in Syria as reported by Rosie Gray.
Critics also pointed out that Obama’s push for executive action showed diminished expectations. But the president stressed key accomplishments achieved through Congress during his five years in office, like education and health care. To republican senator Paul Ryan in an interview for CNN, argued that the Obama “appears to be circumventing the Constitution with an “end run” around Congress”. To him the president can still call for a new law to changes the ones, which prevent him for accomplishing his goals, then going through the congress. Seems not to be enthusiastic after president’s speech; not surprising from a republican.
But union leaders praised the president address to dean and Robert and Paul Lewis who reported that to Damon Silvers policy director of the AFL-CIO: “[It was] a very good speech… Flaws, failures of will and courage, and a few bits of wrongheadedness considered, still a very fine speech.”
To Newt Gingrich host representing the right on CNN’s CROSSFIRE who positively appreciated: “His (Obama) close with the young Ranger was extraordinarily powerful. And most people, if they stayed through the speech, would have been impressed. Doesn’t mean he’s going to move the country dramatically, but for this evening, he gave a very solid speech that I think had real power to it.” Thumb’s up.
To Alex Castellanos a Republican strategist on CNN: “he (Obama) was willing himself to demonstrate strength and confidence, but he did it with optimism. That is the rare gift a president has. The President is the only guy who can say, ‘We’re going to some place better, follow me.’ I think it’s going to help him and the Democrats”
The look from media perspective:
To Cindy Crowley from CNN “what struck me the most was none of these are new issues: job trainings, universal Pre-K, equal pay for equal work, on and on, gun control, more money for research and development. So this is definitely the President’s agenda and has been for some time now.” For the tv anchor. Not impressed by the speech-average feeling.
Gloria Borger chief political analyst were less amazed when she noticed about Obama’s offense when it came to the health care law: “If the website were not up and working, I guarantee you that the President would not be doing that. But he went on offense and said ‘we don’t need 40 more votes, right? We’re done with that. Let’s just move on. “Little bit optimistic we could assume.
Dean Robert and Paul Lewis from the Guardian noticed the only moment when Republican and Democrats stood up together for a round applause:” Members of the US congress, usually divided along party lines in their response to the State of the Union address, rose to their feet for more than a minute to recognize Cory Remsburg (army ranger), a Purple Heart recipient and sole survivor of the 2010 attack, now spends 6 hours of his day in occupational, physical and speech therapy.
President Obama acknowledging Sergeant Cory Remsburg courage during SOTU
For the New York Times, a little bit interrogative is half-half towards Obama’s speech. The magazine noticed about the growth that the 4.1 percent pace of expansion in the last summer months provided the white house “with a rare bit of good news despite dismal public approval ratings” continuing on scrutinizing the president address, the NYT added that “ even if 2014 turns out to be what the president called the breakout year, the country will still have a lot of catching up to do before the gains recorded under Mr. Obama match those of his two predecessors in the white house”. Mostly in a kind of uncertainty when in a recent a recent -Jan.15th to 26th surveys-a CNN pooling about Obama handling his job as president showed 43% of people approval and 51% of people disapproving.
As we can finally assume lines have not moved that much among politicians and they followers, however, president Obama who really showed a great sense of fighting spirit and optimisms will be awaited on the ground, to see if his willing will be followed by concrete actions to reach out the defined goals.