Originally published 13/01/2016
President Obama delivered a predictably passionate address in his final State of the Union speech to Congress on Tuesday. In an hour-long speech the President called for increased funding to science, medical research, education and an increased focus on closing cultural gaps within and outside of American borders.
In it he lashed out at claims America was declining economically and militarily under his administration, potentially pointing the finger at Republican Presidential candidate Marco Rubio’s comments in December that “America’s influence has declined while [Obama] has destroyed our military, our allies no longer trust us, and our adversaries no longer respect us.”
In the address President Obama said such talk was “political hot air”.
“Surveys show our standing around the world is higher than when I was elected to this office, and when it comes to every important international issue people of the world do not look to Beijing or Moscow to lead – they call us.”
Obama’s speech, which some thought might have been watered down going into his final year in office, was otherwise expectedly formulaic. His praise of the United States military, his affirmation of the importance of destroying Islamic State and other terrorist networks, ensuring equality in the workforce for genders, races and religions and his urging of a return to bipartisanship between Democrats and Republicans in coming years follow a similar course in Obama’s speeches in recent years.
The President’s call for cooperation within Congress and across America may well fall on deaf ears, but his calls and similar pleas to his successors will remain pertinent. Which side can produce the most rousing answers to America’s various economic, social, political and military imperfections in 2016 will be in the best place come November 8. Obama’s State of the Union speech was written to stir emotions and to awaken tired congressmen and women. Whether it shook the bed or merely ruffled the sheets may become clear in these next election months.