State Of The Union Address Essay Essay

, Research Paper

State of the Union Address Essay

President Clinton has declared that “the enemy of our time is inaction,”

pledging to forge bipartisan agreements on a balanced budget and campaign

finance reform within months, and to lead a “national crusade” to improve

education by the turn of the century. Education, Clinton vowed, would be his

“number-one priority for the next four years,” and he devoted the longest

portion of his address to this. He appealed for “national standards” to improve

student performance and pledged to promote such standards with voluntary tests

prepared by the federal government.

Most of the ideas Clinton presented last night first appeared as poll-

tested proposals in his reelection campaign last fall: expanding the 1993

“Family and Medical Leave Act” to include time off from work for parent-teacher

conferences; school curfews; and tax credits and deductions to subsidize college

education. But he presented these ideas using more encompassing and urgent

language than before.

“We face no imminent threat, but we do have an enemy: The enemy of our

time is inaction,” Clinton declared at the start of his speech. He finished, as

he did in last month’s address, by invoking the symbolism that the nation is

about to pass into a new millennium. “We don’t have a moment to waste,” he said.

“Tomorrow, there will be just over 1,000 days until the year 2000. . . . One

thousand days to work together.”

The speech proved shorter than predicted and far more organized and

disciplined than some of his previous appearances before Congress. The annual

speeches to Congress have served as markers of Clinton’s ideological migration.

In 1993, he announced that government must do more and unveiled a raft of big-

government proposals, including a $30 billion “stimulus package” that was vastly

more expensive than any single proposal he offered last night.

Also as part of his pitch for more low-tax empowerment zones in urban

areas, Clinton made reference to his newfound commitment to rescue the troubled

District of Columbia. He said, “Together, we must pledge tonight that we will

use this empowerment approach, including private-sector tax incentives to renew

our capital city, so that Washington is a great place to work and live, and is

once again the proud face America shows to the world”


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