A Fresh Face for the GOP?

President Obama’s final and hopeful State of the Union address instilled in some a sense of confidence and in others a sense of fear. While he received many standing ovations throughout the course of his speech, numerous conservative lawmakers have expressed their deep concerns with President Obama’s outlooks on the economy and national security. This should come as no surprise, as Republican leaders noted that they “weren’t expecting much” from the President’s final SOTU. And, while the GOP typically enlists members of the party to respond to the SOTU with anger and disappointment (consider respondents from previous years– Bobby Jindal, Paul Ryan and Marco Rubio), this year seemed to bring a new sense of optimism to the political horizon.

At the request of Speaker of the House Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Nikki Haley, Governor of South Carolina, delivered the GOP response to the SOTU. If we can conjure any similarities between the speeches last night, one would stand out among the rest: both President Obama and Governor Haley focused on a optimistic view for the future of our nation. Haley noted:

“We have big decisions to make. Our country is being tested. But we’ve been tested in the past, and our people have always risen to the challenge,” she said. “We have all the guidance we need to be safe and successful. Our forefathers paved the way for us.Let’s take their values, and their strengths, and rededicate ourselves to doing whatever it takes to keep America the greatest country in the history of man.”

One of the most surprising aspects of Governor Haley’s address was her softened view on immigration in comparison to so many of her fellow party members. Haley focused on the blessings that living in this country provides– a lesson learned from her immigrant parents.

In addition, she noted the need for respect of the modern-day family and religious liberty. This thought should not go unnoticed and her point is well taken. As mainstream Republicans, we stand up for core values and fight to ensure personal freedoms are rights that Party leaders actually respect and support. These should be extended to all aspects of family and family planning. Medical decisions and preventative women’s health options should be respected as plans that a woman makes with her family, her doctor and her chosen religious values– not by the government’s involvement.

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