Obama’s State of the Union: Big Dreams, Little Hope, But Great Legacy

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I for one hope President Barack Obama will see fruition to everything he asks for in his first State of the Union address of his second term. Many of the things he wants done in his second term by his speech, are big things but reasonable things in my opinion, at least to most Americans by polls when it comes to reasonable gun control and a comprehensive immigration reform policy that addresses the 11 million already here.  What stands in his way is possibly an unwilling Congress on at least most issues. Fortunately, there has been some positive movement in the U.S. Senate but all that is still not to a vote yet.

I think anyone; even those who oppose the President must concede that the man had a successful first term: He passed a huge health care law that will provide health care to tens of millions of people who cannot afford it and those denied because of preexisting conditions. He oversaw and ordered the killing of the world’s most hated terrorist and mastermind of 9/11, Osama bin Laden and he saved the auto industry.

He also passed a credit card bill that tightened the rules of disclosure and unfair fees on card members, and financial reform to keep us from going back into the same financial crisis we had when he first took office. He also signed into law a repeal of DODT (Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell) so that gay men and women could serve openly in the military.  In addition, most importantly, he oversaw the recovery of a badly damaged economy, left over from the previous Republican administration.

So say what you will, disagree with the man if you must, hate him if that makes you happy but you must admit the man got things done in his first term.  Also, do not forget that he got a part of it accomplished during the last half of his term, when Republicans had control of the House of Representatives and in Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY)was saying the words, “The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president”.

What stands before us now is an Obama second term and a progressive, strong agenda. There is already much hope that a bipartisan immigration bill will be passed and some hope on legislation for gun control. What is beyond that is unclear.

President Obama wants to raise the minimum wage to $9.00 per hour as one of his proposals, which I think is still too low — perhaps $10.00 per hour would be a better figure for a living wage at this point and time. Millions of workers struggle to pay their bills on a measly $7.25 per hour.  Rent is sky high and the cost of food keeps going up.

Do I think President Obama will succeed in getting a minimum wage increase through Congress and on his desk? I doubt it. Republicans will complain that it will “hurts small businesses” which is a favorite talking point of Republicans. The only way I see that happening is if President Obama has something big to trade. This is not an immigration issue, or a women’s issue, or any of the sensitive issues that might upset the GOP applecart. Thus, Republicans really may not see any reward in going along with an increase.

Serious bargaining will be going on in the future with this Congress, and this might be the opportunity to offer up at least some cuts in Medicare and Social Security, but make the cuts not affect anyone under a certain level of income, so that those who depend upon those benefits the most will not be affected. The age of retirement should not be raised; many workers who work the hardest are affected mostly by this but the poor working class also suffers, as they generally live shorter lives because of lack of regular health care and they work harder physically.

Obama also warned Democrats of some changes to entitlement programs as a way to compromise with Republicans. It is unclear just how far the White House is willing to go on compromise when it comes to age requirements to Social Security and Medicare. Still, we must be willing to bend some or we will end up no better than those who populate the Tea Party groups, who seem to insist our government, should come to a standstill and accomplish nothing at all, save some tax cuts and perhaps a little anti-abortion legislation.

The thing is about many Republican lawmakers, for one reason or the other, do not seem to realize that Barack Obama is simply a very intelligent, charismatic, energetic man, but he is also a decent man. This whole mess concerning Obama’s birth from the same party that not too many years before, were urging change to the Constitution to allow Austrian born actor and former governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger to run for president. We can now see how wonderful idea that was.

There is so much untruth floating around about Barack Obama but in my opinion, I believe in the end, he will leave office with a high approval rating and what he accomplished will change America forever, for the better. Taking in consideration what could possibly happen in the next four years, I do believe it is all possible that President Barack Obama will go down as a legend and his legacy will be great. Some will disagree but only time will tell.

When his presidency is done, I hope he will live a long enriched life as a former president whose legacy has just begun, throughout the books of history.

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