Kevin Price
If Obama wants a successful State of the Union Address
By Kevin Price
January 25, 2011

Barack Obama is giving his State of the Union address after one of the most humiliating off year elections for a president in modern history. The number of seats the Democratic Party lost in November is the most any party had seen since the 1930s. The President should be aware that it is no longer "business as usual." However, Obama should have received that lesson during the special election in Massachusetts, which had a Republican take a seat that was held by the Democrats for half of a century. Furthermore, Scott Brown beat a Democrat in a state where there was a 3 to 1 disadvantage in the party affiliation. However, there was no such lesson learned and I have every reason to believe that will be the case going in to the 112th Congress. Barack Obama believes he is above the will of the people and of the Congress that was elected by the people to keep him in check.

Obama could learn a lesson from the last Democrat to hold the Oval Office — Bill Clinton. In the elections of 1994 the Democrats held a majority in the House of Representatives. That November the political world was shocked to see the GOP win and take back the House for the first time in decades. Newt Gingrich became the GOP leader and Bill Clinton knew things were going to be different. He knew that if he was going to get things accomplished with this Congress, he would have to recognize that the people were not happy with the direction the nation was heading.

Clinton began his State of the Union address following the Republican victory by rightly stating that "If we agree on nothing else tonight, we must agree that the American people certainly voted for change in 1992 and in 1994. And as I look out at you, I know how some of you must have felt in 1992...I must say that in both years we didn't hear America singing, we heard America shouting. And now all of us, Republicans and Democrats alike, must say: We hear you. We will work together to earn the jobs you have given us. For we are the keepers of the sacred trust, and we must be faithful to it in this new and very demanding era."

Clinton understood that the American people thought that his agenda of socialized medicine went too far and they were expecting an adjustment towards less government and not more of it. About this time he made it clear that he thought that the "era of big government was over." That may be a bit too optimistic, but he was right about one thing, if he was going to leave a lasting legacy with the Congress he had to work with, it would be pursuing less government and not more. The policy area he decided to focus on was welfare reform:

"I worked on this problem for a long time, nearly 15 years now. As a governor I had the honor of working with the Reagan administration to write the last welfare reform bill back in 1988. In the last two years we made a good start in continuing the work of welfare reform. Our administration gave two dozen states the right to slash through federal rules and regulations to reform their own welfare systems, and to try to promote work and responsibility over welfare and dependency. "

He goes on to state that "Last year I introduced the most sweeping welfare reform plan ever presented by an administration. We have to make welfare what it was meant to be — a second chance, not a way of life. We have to help those on welfare move to work as quickly as possible, to provide child care and teach them skills if that's what they need for up to two years. And after that, there ought to be a simple hard rule: anyone who can work must go to work. If a parent isn't paying child support, they should be forced to pay. We should suspend drivers' licenses, track them across state lines, make them work off what they owe. That is what we should do. Governments do not raise children, people do. And the parents must take responsibility for the children they bring into this world. "

Clinton, with the help of a Republican Congress achieved just that and the results of his reforms was a drop in the number of people below poverty level and a weakening of multi-generational welfare dependence. This was the crowning achievement of Clinton and one of the most significant ones of any President over the last 50 years. With 63 Democrats defeated in the 2010 elections it is clear that millions of Americans are hoping that Obama chooses to pursue lasting change that includes less government.

© Kevin Price


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Kevin Price

Kevin Price is Publisher and Editor in Chief of

His background is eclectic and includes years of experience in both business and public policy, as well as two decades of experience in broadcast journalism. He was an aide to U.S. Senator Gordon Humphrey (R-NH) and later went on to work in policy areas with some of the nation's leading think tanks including the National Center for Public Policy Research and was part of the Heritage Foundation's Annual Guide to Public Policy Experts... (more)


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