President Barack Obama’s coming-out party for the 2012 presidential election went off with a bang, as he saved his best for last by nailing the final State of the Union address of his first term. He kicked it off with planting-the-flag moment in front of the Republican opposition, celebrating the end to the Iraq war and the capture and death of Osama bin Laden.
“For the first time in nine years, there are no Americans fighting in Iraq,” he said. “For the first time in two decades, Osama bin Laden is not a threat to this country.”
Pivoting from there, Obama laid out what can be expected as a main theme for his reelection campaign, “An economy built to last.” While many of us have thought that the American manufacturing base is long-gone, the president said it’s his intention to build that back, citing the resurgence of the auto industry and General Motors’ reclaimed place as the world’s largest vehicle manufacturer.
“What’s happening in Detroit can happen in other industries. It can happen in Cleveland and Pittsburgh and Raleigh,” Obama said. “We can’t bring back every job that’s left our shores. But right now, it’s getting more expensive to do business in places like China. Meanwhile, America is more productive. A few weeks ago, the CEO of Master Lock told me that it now makes business sense for him to bring jobs back home. Today, for the first time in fifteen years, Master Lock’s unionized plant in Milwaukee is running at full capacity.”
Moving on to education, Obama requested that each state require students to stay in school until graduation from high school or reaching the age of 18 — a renewed commitment to the basic standard of knowledge for all Americans. He also demanded Congress address the outrageous hike in student loan rates set to occur this summer.
The president’s most significant political statement focused on behavior by Republicans in Congress who were, ironically, acting like donkeys.
“The state of our Union is getting stronger. And we’ve come too far to turn back now,” Obama said. “As long as I’m President, I will work with anyone in this chamber to build on this momentum. But I intend to fight obstruction with action, and I will oppose any effort to return to the very same policies that brought on this economic crisis in the first place.”
Tuesday evening, Chris Cillizza of The Washington Post said it was the president wrapping confrontation with Kumbaya.
“This is Obama version 2.0: Harder, more cynical but perhaps also more effective,” he wrote. “This is the Obama that will run for a second term this November — an Obama ready to give at least as good as he gets in the bare-knuckled brawl that is American politics.”
If that’s true, then the GOP has a second-helping of the world of hurt handed down in 2008.
by J.L. Mann Cromer, Jr., who served as the only true independent member of the South Carolina General Assembly from 1990-1998. Currently, he is a general practice attorney in Columbia, S.C., concentrating in probate and estate planning, criminal defense and personal injury law.