(LIN) — On Tuesday night, President Barack Obama will give Americans a report on how our country stands and lay out his plans for the next four years. Although he’s done this speech four times before, this is the first in his new term, and it’s likely we’ll hear what he deems strong successes in the past four years.
Has Obama really brought change to America? And does he have what it takes to truly move the country forward?
A look at the numbers shows mixed results on his track record in the past four years.
Depending on what metrics you take into account, the economy is stronger (or weaker) than it was when he took office. While the Dow Jones Industrial Average is higher, the number of people below the poverty level is too.
One thing that is certain is there have been four years of trillion dollar deficits. Whether the spending problem belongs to Obama, his predecessors or Congress, it still stands in the way of progress.
That, combined with a lack of bipartisan congruence has also slowed Obama’s momentum in bringing change. One of the first major items on Obama’s agenda when he first entered office was to bring Congress together across party lines, but his long-fought, drawn-out negotiations with GOP leaders over the fiscal cliff was a reminder that hasn’t happened as he enters his second term.
Then again, there are some areas where Obama has used his executive power, not waiting for Congressional approval. His most recent example: Putting forward gun control proposals following the school shooting in Newtown, Conn.
On Tuesday night, with gun control very much in the forefront of national conversation, many will look to Obama for his plans to continue to bring about more structured gun legislation.
Regardless of what topic dominates his address Tuesday, it’s a safe bet that Obama will be forced to address the two things that have kept him from moving forward: bipartisanship and the deficit.
What America needs to hear is how Obama will lead the country through these hardships and work together with Congress.
Will Republicans come across as the bad guys? Or will Obama map out a way to change the gridlock that he’s struggled to break recently?
Either way, a new term has begun and Obama is entering his second term with a lot of work ahead of him.
Jessica O. Swink is a contributing editor to
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