The president’s annual State of the Union address to Congress is an act of government filled with political symbolism, even more so during a presidential election year like this one.
However, in addition to containing a general vision of an economically fairer society, President Obama’s message has specific proposals to create jobs and help unemployed Americans with job retraining.
Many of the president’s proposals will eventually be decided on by voters in November. Today there is a big difference between Democrats and Republicans when it comes to tackling the big challenges the United States faces in the medium and long term.
Nevertheless, there are concrete short-term actions that can help Americans in these difficult times, with an economy that collapsed under a Republican president and is proving hard to improve for a Democratic president.
The White House and both chambers of Congress must work jointly for the rest of the year for the good of all Americans.
Therefore, it is unfortunate that the House of Representatives’ Republican leadership is so biased against the president’s message. This is the only way to explain the comment of House Speaker John Boehner, who last Sunday labeled the message to be delivered on Tuesday as “pathetic.”
It is hard to imagine, given the precedents of these years, that Obama’s opposition will work with the president, for fear of providing him some measure of success to help his re-election campaign.
Americans deserve so much more in these difficult times than just political, selfish calculations that bet on suffering to earn electoral brownie points. The White House and Congress may be focusing on November, but the country cannot afford to wait 10 months to do what is urgent today, such as creating jobs.