President Barack Obama continued the 100-year tradition of delivering the State of the Union speech before Congress on Tuesday, Feb. 12.
From President Thomas Jefferson up until President Woodrow Wilson, the State of the Union had been merely a written statement.
Obama used this year’s State of the Union to outline his agenda for the rest of his term, ending in 2017.
He started his speech by announcing that this year he will begin troop withdrawals from the Middle East, although many troops will remain present in Afghanistan until at least 2024.
Obama remained resolute on his position for curbing air pollution, suggesting that he will resort to executive orders if Congress does not act.
Much of the speech focused on the economy. The President used his positions on education to reaffirm his subscription to Keynesian economics.
“Every dollar we invest in high-quality [preschool] can save more than $7 later on,” said Obama. He also extended his philosophy to government research. Obama said, “Every dollar we invested to map the human genome returned $140 to our economy.”
Obama topped his address off by proposing that the national minimum wage should be increased to $9 per hour.
As expected, he used the Newtown tragedy to call for the reinstatement of the Assault Weapon Ban, a ban on particular semi-automatic rifles.
Obama urged Congress to bring gun-control legislation up for a vote and said, “The families of Newtown deserve a vote.”
The audience included Newtown victims and Ted Nugent, a
musician and gun-rights activist, highlighting the polarization of the public and Congress on gun politics.
The State of the Union drew both laud and criticism.
A large camp of pundits thought it was a solid speech as always.
Eric Golub of the Washington Times called the speech “the State of the Useless,” because he felt the President was avoiding blame for the lackluster economy and hypocritically continuing Bush-era policies.
Stefan Hamaway ‘16 said, “Presidents say what the people want to hear.”
Daniel Waldman ‘16 had a similar sentiment and said, “While I think his speech was good, I’m slightly annoyed with the statements he made…he made many promises that I don’t think he will be able to keep.”
How 2013 and the next four years play out remains to be seen.