Obama calls on Americans to transcend party politics


Photo: Yue Wu/Iowa State Daily

Joey Norris, junior in aerospace engineering, and Kristen Morrow, sophomore in global resource systems, talk before President Obama delivers his State of the Union address on Tuesday, Jan. 25, 2011, in the Gold Room of the Memorial Union.

Kaleb Warnock

President Obama delivered his annual State of the Union address with optimism for America’s future.

He called on American taxpayers to work alongside the federal government, to transcend party politics and take the initiative to innovate in order to compete in the global economy.

“With their votes, the American people determined that governing will now be a shared responsibility between parties,” Obama said. “New laws will only pass with support from Democrats and Republicans. We will move forward together, or not at all — for the challenges we face are bigger than party, and bigger than politics.”

Obama said America still needs to compete in the global economy and will do so by continuing to be the best place to do business, take responsibility for the deficit, and reform the government and renewable energy.

“Our success in this new and changing world will require reform, responsibility and innovation,” Obama said. “It will also require us to approach that world with a new level of engagement in our foreign affairs.”

He has ambitious plans to reform and revitalize current policies regarding the use of green energy, education, immigration, infrastructure and the tax code, to name a few. He hopes to freeze annual domestic spending for the next five years in order to fight the federal deficit.

“At stake is whether new jobs and industries take root in this country, or somewhere else. It’s whether the hard work and industry of our people is rewarded,” Obama said. “Two years after the worst recession most of us have ever known, the stock market has come roaring back. Corporate profits are up. The economy is growing again.”

Obama specifically announced plans to give $4 billion to fund clean energy, rather than oil companies, and to increase the nation’s green energy consumption to 80 percent by 2035. He also plans to replace No Child Left Behind in an effort to push America to number one in education by the end of the decade.

“The idea of America endures. Our destiny remains our choice. And tonight, more than two centuries later, it is because of our people that our future is hopeful, our journey goes forward, and the state of our union is strong,” Obama said.

The address was precluded by a heated debate between ISU students.

The debate included the recent Citizens United decision and the issue of under-representation in modern American politics.

The Citizens United decision was a Supreme Court ruling, which doesn’t limit corporate funding of political broadcasts, upholding the First Amendment.

The debate addressed the conflict between campaign funding and how it represents candidates for the legislature. They also discussed the conflicts brought about by special interest funding through corporations and the recent reorganization of the House of Representatives.

“There is a way that we can do this and right now each representative in the House is representing around 700,000 people, which is dramatically higher than anything the founders were dealing with,” said Christopher Schubert, Student Union Board awareness director and senior in political science.