State of the Union reactions show deep divide

First Posted: 1/20/2015

LIMA — Local thoughts on President Barack Obama’s speech mainly highlighted the deep political divide between Democrats and Republicans on Tuesday.

The Allen County Democratic Party pointed out several items of the president’s speech and thought in delivered a postive impact to the American public.

“There were several things that I was very impressed with,” said Allen County Democratic Party President Bev McCoy.

McCoy said the only down part of the speech was the president’s reflection on the issues with police and young blacks, such as recent incidents in Ferguson, Missouri, and New York.

“He still talked on that issue,” McCoy said. “I just wish he would have touched on it a little more with the way young blacks are feeling about justice. I think it is an important issue with what it is doing to our society. We have to take a serious look at our criminal justice system.”

McCoy said she was impressed with the president’s comments on several issues, and mentioned those that stood out most to her. Those issues included the right to vote, funding for community college education, medical insurance, climate control and support of strong unions.

“I thought it was a strong point he made about people keeping their grades up and being able to get money for school,” McCoy said. “I was glad he emphasized the point of not touching the Affordable Health Care Act. I also thought he hit climate control very strong. The two camps on that are very wide apart.”

However, U.S. Reps. Bob Latta and Jim Jordan offered a different view of the State of the Union address.

“I, like many Americans, listened to tonight’s State of the Union address hoping to hear the president outline a clear plan that would spur job creation,” Latta said. “I had hoped to hear how the president would proactively lead our nation on matters of national security and domestic energy production. Instead, the president focused on the same failed policies that have burdened Americans with more government, more regulations and higher taxes.”

“I think it was a lot of the same old, same old,” Jordan said. “The one thing I liked was how he wanted to help the middle class. However, his proposed solutions are not solutions at all. I am willing to work with anybody if they are discussing policies that will help. I don’t think the hard-working families of Ohio heard anything new from the president tonight. In fact, they heard more of the same type of expensive but ineffective proposals that helped create the $18 trillion national debt we have today. Middle class families across the country understand something that Washington does not: We simply cannot keep spending money we don’t have.”

U.S. Sen. Rob Portman said Obama gave a good speech, as he usually does, but missed an opportunity to talk about specific ways of working together to expand opportunity and strengthen the middle class.

“Unfortunately, based on the proposals he outlined tonight, he seems to be going back to some of the same partisan policies that haven’t worked for the past six years that increase taxes and spending,” Portman said. “Specifically, his $320 billion tax increase on small businesses, savings, and investment in order to pay for more Washington spending is not the way to expand opportunity.

Portman pointed out a few areas of agreement, such as giving American workers a chance to compete on a level playing field by knocking down barriers to our exports, the need for business tax reform and the need to ensure American workers have the skills they need to fill open jobs.

“This is an issue I’ve been focused on and just today I introduced bipartisan legislation to better prepare students for 21st century jobs called the Educating Tomorrow’s Workforce Act,” Portman said. “While I was disappointed that the president’s speech was largely about more of the same big government solutions that haven’t worked over the past six years, I remain committed to working with anyone, Republican or Democrat, toward common-sense solutions that will increase economic opportunity for all Americans, including more jobs, better wages, and lower costs for health care, education, and energy.”

Many people commented that the speech had no appeal to them at all. Facebook comments included, “I had better things to do. Like pick my nose, poop, ram my head into the wall, and most of all sit on the couch and do nothing,” Vince Waldron said.

“Republican or Democrat, the most useless political activity in our countries history, at least in it’s current format,” Marc Gellart wrote.

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