President Obama’s 2015 State of the Union: Not Your Average Lame Duck


President Barack Obama delivers the State of the Union address in the House Chamber at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., Jan. 20, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

“Do not go gentle into that good night.” – Dylan Thomas

This very well could have been what President Obama had going into his 2015 State of the Union address because he sure didn’t deliver a speech like a lame duck. Obama spoke like someone who is not only still on the job but with purpose and resolve.  It doesn’t sound like he intends to roll over to an opposition controlled Congress regardless if he has no more campaigns to win. He won both of them.

This is a president who spoke of hope in America and of change in moving forward. Wait, that sounds familiar. This Obama sounded like old Obama. This Obama sounds like the candidate that inspired a nation and the world. This is the guy I want running the country. I have no shame in admitting that I was tingly while listening to him speak.

Obama was a leader tonight that painted a possible picture of America that he believes in and is one that led immigrants from around the world to flock to Ellis Island in the previous century. He spoke of an America that could be better than it is and better than it has been. The America Obama described is one that strives to form a more perfect Union. To me these were the words of someone who believes in the idea of America or at least the one that we represent in our marketing.

Obama reaffirmed the commitment to shut down the internationally condemned GTMO prison that he made at the outset of his presidency noting.

“It’s not who we are.” – Barack Obama

In post 9/11 America we have been a lot of not who we are or more accurately no who we claim to strive to be. We have let fear, greed, and power corrupt the idealistic vision was supposed to set America apart. Of course I’m not naive enough to think every act that violates “who we are” will stop with those words, things in motion take time, but it’s good to hear that ideology recognized. It’s encouraging to hear Obama try to appeal to common sense, for whatever it’s worth. It’s good to hear the president address climate change, a move towards less dependency on foreign oil, a shift towards renewables, a need for education for the nation’s future, the responsibility to use military action as a last resort, and a commitment to a free and open Internet. I’m still nervous about that last one. Check out this minute by minute engagement distribution of the SOTU on Twitter and the topics being discussed at the time.

“I believe in a smarter kind of American leadership. We lead best when we combine military power with strong diplomacy; when we leverage our power with coalition building; when we don’t let our fears blind us to the opportunities that this new century presents. That’s exactly what we’re doing right now — and around the globe, it is making a difference.” – Barack Obama

All in all it sounded like an intelligently speaking and thinking adult was in charge of the show even if Obama’s State of the Union clocked in at a 10th grade reading level.


I watched not only to hear what the president had to say but also to see the reactions to what he said; as they speak volumes. Who applauds for what says a lot. When Obama was citing all the positive things happening in the country the majority of Republicans offered no applause. Surely an America doing better is something to praise no matter who or what party is at the helm when it happens. As with any politician’s speech, fact checking Obama’s SOTU is recommended. If who is ushering in the progress is more important to you than the progress itself you have said something very clear to me. When the president spoke of the need for voting rights to not be hindered, noticeably Republicans again didn’t join the cheers. That screams something to me. However several of them were overcome with childish and petty energy when President Obama mentioned he had no more campaigns to run. That too is telling and once again shows a small bit of the type of disrespect he has had to put up with during his tie in office. On the flip side, Obama’s off the cuff reply, that of course set the media on fire and immediately trended #IWonBothOfThem on social media, shows his ability to deal with that disrespect without letting it shake him.

One of the better moments to me in the SOTU, and one that speaks to the above, was Obama describing “a better politics”.

“And I know they expect those of us who serve here to set a better example.

So the question for those of us here tonight is how we, all of us, can better reflect America’s hopes. I’ve served in Congress with many of you. I know many of you well. There are a lot of good people here, on both sides of the aisle. And many of you have told me that this isn’t what you signed up for — arguing past each other on cable shows, the constant fundraising, always looking over your shoulder at how the base will react to every decision.

Imagine if we broke out of these tired old patterns. Imagine if we did something different.

Understand — a better politics isn’t one where Democrats abandon their agenda or Republicans simply embrace mine.

A better politics is one where we appeal to each other’s basic decency instead of our basest fears.

A better politics is one where we debate without demonizing each other; where we talk issues, and values, and principles, and facts, rather than “gotcha” moments, or trivial gaffes, or fake controversies that have nothing to do with people’s daily lives.” – Barack Obama

These representatives of a nation are absolutely there to set a better example. Their position calls for tougher scrutiny, more maturity, greater responsibility, and demand to be above the nonsense. It’s further become a game they are too eager to play and one the people who put their hopes and trust in these servants of the nation don’t deserve. Hopefully Obama’s “better politics” is a message that increases beyond hushed tones between just the President and an individual congress member. If these politicians are tired of it, they should do better.

“That’s a better politics. That’s how we start rebuilding trust. That’s how we move this country forward. That’s what the American people want. That’s what they deserve.” – Barack Obama

That is indeed how you start rebuilding trust Mr. President. The goals and plans Obama spoke on are very ambitious and if his past 6 years in office fighting obstructionism at every turn to get anything done is any indication, it’s going to be a UFC style knocked down drag out octagon brawl going forward with this new congress. Glad to see you haven’t given up.




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Jaylon Carter

Jaylon Carter is a blogger, social media marketing consultant, former Congressional Campaign Media & Communications Director, and a Hip Hop artist who performs under the stage name Timid (@timidmc). He also runs, a subscription newsletter informing parents of current happenings on the Internet.

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