In this election year… each side of the political aisle had different takes on President Obama’s final State of the Union Address, and what it could mean for his legacy.
U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin calls President Obama’s address the kind given by a man tested by conflict, and served as a rebuttal to much of the rhetoric in the GOP race to succeed him. Like the president, the Illinois Democratic Senator is downplaying the threat ISIS poses to this country’s future.
“And what the president has talked about is not giving ISIS the bragging rights many of the Republican candidates give them about how important they are in the world today," Durbin said. "We’re going to obliterate and eliminate ISIS; the president made that very clear. But arguing that this is World War III gives them much more credence than they deserve.”
But U.S. Rep. John Shimkus says Obama begins his last year in office with a more divided nation than when he started seven years ago.
“Leadership is really the hard work of getting people to do what you want them to do -- not because you force them to do it, not because you call them names, but you empower them, you inspire them to move in a direction," the 15th District Republican said. "And, as lofty as the president’s rhetoric is, he has shown an inability to lead this nation.”
However, Shimkus says he’ll support criminal-justice reform, something he says the president barely mentioned last night. He says it’s time to end mandatory minimum prison sentences and restore that power to the courts.