Bookmark and Share
Printer Friendly
January 27, 2010

State of the Union: How Did He Do?

Listed in: Other Domestic Policy, Other Foreign Policy, NJDC News, Opinions

Originally published in Politico’s Arena

By David A. Harris, President of the National Jewish Democratic Council

This was a powerful and non-traditional State of the Union address in terms of structure, focusing so heavily on jobs and the economy. It was essential for the President to begin with and center upon this focus, to be sure. Yet from confronting Iran’s nuclear ambitions and encouraging real energy reform to the elephant in the room—the need to not walk away from health care reform—there was something for everyone. But where the President really hit a home run was confronting voter aggravation with Washington. Polling continues to show that President Obama’s own numbers remain strong, yet distrust towards Washington (and the associated “wrong track” numbers) runs high; here the President delivered an eloquent and lengthy appeal to conscience to both parties, which was genuinely and pointedly aimed at both parties.

This address, with many elements designed to appeal to Republicans in the chamber and around the country, demonstrates that he’s willing to start with himself when it comes to addressing America’s frustration with “politics for the sake of politics” and reaching a hand across the aisle to get things done. Those who follow his example and take his words to heart, in both parties, will get things done and be rewarded at the polls; those who don’t, and those who continue to emulate the worst rhetoric coming from some of the “Tea Party” fringe, will be penalized heavily by voters around the country.

Kudos to this President for striving to raise the public discourse and lift up the country’s faith in government—helping all elected leaders, Democrats and Republicans alike, in the process.