President Obama’s State of the Union Address Jan. 27, 2010
“Starting in 2011, we are prepared to freeze government spending for three years. Spending related to our national security, Medicare, and Social Security will not be affected.” With those words he “takes off the table” much of the cost of our government. For instance, if the retirement age to receive Social Security was slightly raised would that not save money? There must be some defense systems that can be dropped or orders cancelled that the military does not want or need. Can there not be cost-savings related to Medicare implemented that would not hurt deserving people.? Could not an independent bi-partisan commission study Social Security and Medicare and come up with a plan to revise those two systems (within six months)? If that was done public pressure may force Congress and the President to actually bring change.
Perhaps, President Obama mentioned too many items last night. He brought up the “don’t ask, don’t tell policy “in the military. That is a red flag for confrontation with a number of groups and interests. Does the President need another big fight? [President Truman used an “executive order” to integrate the armed forces. Use of an “executive order” may not be possible in this matter because I think the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy was passed by Congress.] He brought up healthcare again. It may be a better idea to work on a NEW program quietly and try to get some bi-partisan support and then go public with an actual plan. He directly attacked the Supreme Court Justices, in the room, last night. That may have been cute but I do not think it was a smart tactic. When he ran for President and won, I actually thought there would be some change in the way Congress and the President work. It has looked like politics as usual. We wish President Obama can change course and accomplish more in his 2nd year. Other Presidents have had a bad first year but were able to carry out a number of things in years 2,3, and 4. We hope that the President will get more specific and push (LBJ style) for what he wants. When I say LBJ style, I mean to fight hard for what you want (I do not mean to be crude, cruel, and abusive like LBJ).
ADDENDUM to this Post (1/30/2010)
On Jan. 29, 2010, President Obama met with Republican House of Representative members in Maryland. He took questions from House members and this was broadcast LIVE. This IS the type of format the President should use. He answered questions without notes or a teleprompter. The give and take format was very good. Face to face questioning is an interesting way to conduct dialogue with Republicans and Democrats. Face to face with the President reduced the level and tone of the conversation. President Obama did very well and some of the questioners were not up to his level. However, the President treated all with respect and met with family members of some of the U. S. Representatives who attended after the Q & A ended. YES, the Republicans were respectful to the President. POSSIBLY this type of meeting will make it easier for both parties to work closer together (to a degree).