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Fries: Reviewing the SOTU

From the Right
By Alex Fries
Over the course of history, State of the Union addresses have proven to be speeches with great rhetoric filled with bold ideas and an overinflated sense of accomplishment. The most recent State of the Union by President Obama was no exception to this rule.
While this State of the Union address was praised by many for its progressive ideas and astonishing proclamations, the reality is actually far from it.
The President, at times, seemed pretentious, preaching to the joint session of Congress as if he and his party had just achieved the greatest electoral victory of all times. The President said during the past election that while he himself wasn’t on the ballot, his policies were. I believe it is fair to say that we are all well aware of the rejection of said policies by the American people in the last set of elections.
Prior to the State of the Union Dan Pfeiffer, senior adviser to the White House, stated that this particular address was going to focus on middle-class economics. The actual address didn’t sound like a stand for the middle class. On the contrary, the extensive tax plan suggested in the speech would make one come to a very different conclusion. One of those taxes burdening the middle class is hidden in the President’s groundbreaking very critically acclaimed Free Community College proposal. After harsh criticism from both sides of the aisle, the administration just recently announced that they no longer will pursue the implementation of taxes, which would effectively be the quasi-end of the 529 college saving plans.
It is with continuous frustration that we see that instead of fixing one problem sufficiently, it seems that the President’s modus operandi is to jump to another one, creating a mess in his wake rather than success.
It is clear that the President, with his continuous pursuit of domestic issues, is trying to define his legacy. It is quite clear that when it comes to foreign policy, not only is this administration’s performance substandard, but quite frankly, it is quite poor. There are several examples of such, however, one can start with the very questionable decision to resume diplomatic relations with Cuba. In addition, the current situation in Yemen and Iran give little cause for optimism. Another great concern is the continuous dispute between Russia and the Ukraine, with little to no end in sight.
NBC News Chief Foreign Correspondent Richard Engel, in a-post State of the Union interview, criticized the President’s assessment of Islamic State and global terrorism. He stated that not only did military sources report that the U.S. is in fact not stopping Islamic State’s advance, but rather the Islamic State is taking new territory. While the US is killing some Islamic State fighters, they are being replaced by even more.
To him, it seemed, and I would certainly agree with this, that the President was making an attempt to move into a new a time beyond 9/11. Engel said that it doesn’t necessarily feel or seem that are we able to move past what he calls “the 9/11 generation.” I certainly agree, we’re living in a world where terrorist attacks happen across Europe, and in the past year 2,000 US military forces were sent back to Iraq.
I, therefore, would like to implore you to think critically when it comes to bold statements and dazzling accomplishments; to always read between the lines, listen to what is unsaid for that will give you a good sense of the entire picture.

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