State of the Union Tonight

Tonight, President Obama will address the American people and the American government, laying out his vision for the next year and beyond.  There are really four areas that threaten our future.  We really aren’t prepared for any of them.  We can’t lay the blame at Obama’s feet for how we’ve arrived here, but we can ask him to change course in a positive direction.

On the issue of education, Americans are hurting.  Our kids aren’t learning.  We aren’t graduating students proficient in science or mathematics.  How does the president plan to change this?  It won’t happen with more spending.  It won’t happen with failed republican policies of across the board testing.  Charter schools and vouchers are really the only serious answer on the table.  Obama won’t embrace either.  So what will the President do to address this?

Energy independence is a national security hazard going down the road.  The more we will need it, the less readily available it will be.  Although Obama’s veto of the XL Pipeline last week isn’t massive enough to signal the end of American energy independence, it signals that he will stand against convenient energy in favor of a “green” economy that doesn’t yet exist, and likely won’t until our natural resources are gone.  Offshore drilling, Alaska drilling, Canada drilling — these are the key.  Release the oil with “green” strings attached, that is a compromise, but we need both a long term vision and a vision for right now.  Unfortunately, both parties are only offering half of the deal.  Maybe the president will ease our minds with an intelligent energy move after his silly move to spurn Canadian energy last week.

How is the president going to get people buying homes again?  Is it the president’s role?  As Obama’s re-election campaign is now in high gear, he is going to have to answer these questions.  Home ownership makes for good citizenship.  It ties people to jobs and communities.  It gives us all a stake in what is happening.  What is his plan?  Why does he deserve re-election?  When will things get better?  People need a plan they can discuss around the water cooler, something tangible that can pass.

The most important subject tonight will be jobs.  How do we get Americans back to work?  What is his plan?  No one wants to hear another spending plan.  We want to know what the president will do to create an environment where people will take risks again.  What can the President and Congress do to convince small businesses to hire that one extra worker?

The President will likely spend the next 10 months campaigning and hoping for the best on the economy.  Are we coming out of the recession or is this the new norm?  People want to know.  This is what I know.

It is politically bad for republicans to work with President Obama during an election year . . . Unless his vision is too good to pass up.  Only he can make the decision to lead the entire nation, rather than half of it.

President Clinton passed welfare reform.

President Bush passed Medicare Part-D, S-CHIP and No Child Left Behind.

What MAJOR policy initiative has Obama passed?

Tomorrow night is really his last chance to try to do something that we can all agree on. I hope he chooses to lead us all.