April 24, 2019 | 49° F

President employs aggressive politics


Watching the presidential address Wednesday night, I saw quite a different President Barack Obama than the one that I have been following for the past few years. It seems that the burdens of the executive branch have not only changed the color of his hair but also his personality. I could not spot the pragmatic, soft-spoken Obama; there was only a similar figure that was quite aggressive and bold, one who spoke plainly about the problems he had with this government.

There has been a lot of praise directed at Obama's first State of the Union address. Some comment on how he was assertive, how he focused on the domestic problems more than issues of foreign policy and how he gave olive branches to the Republicans for tax cuts for the middle class. He showed support for nuclear energy, offshore drilling and - starting in 2011 - a decrease in the deficit.

But a few minutes later in the speech, his tone changed from assertive to aggressive. He attacked the Republicans due to their lack of compromise and their complete denial to any legislation adding, 'Just saying no to everything may be good short-term politics, but it's not leadership.' While this seemed justified to many viewers, pundits and analysts, I find it odd to insult the opposition party and then expect bi-partisan legislation to be passed through Congress - even if a few branches were extended.

The tone continued to turn more aggressive when he moved onto the third branch of our government and attacked the Supreme Court for reversing the decision of the ban to allow corporations and unions run ads for and against candidates in a federal election. The comment seemed quite out of place and just felt like a jab to an opponent who could not hit you back.

Obama completed the trifecta of attacks by bellowing that he was going to repeal the 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' policy about gays in the military, while staring at the generals and admirals attending the address. Quite insulting! It seemed as though Obama wanted to embarrass them and guilt them into falling in line with his viewpoints without the decency of a debate.

To many people this Obama seemed assertive and bold, and they liked this change. I hope that this boldness sustains and he accomplishes more this year than last. But I certainly hope that this aggressive behavior is not perceived as arrogance and backfires on Obama in a few weeks.

To me these remarks seemed like cheap political shots (in an otherwise remarkable speech) at people who could not speak back - not even Rep. Joe Wilson, R-S.C., this time. Lets hope that these statements are not misinterpreted or taken to heart and block any progress this country may need in order to improve.

Tabish Talib is a School of Arts and Sciences sophomore.

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Tabish Talib

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