Small-business owner reacts to Obama's speech

January 25, 2012 4:28:17 AM PST
President Barack Obama tried to appeal to a wide range of Americans in Tuesday night's State of the Union address. But the real challenge may be getting people to open their minds about what's possible in light of the state of the United State's political system.

ABC7 started our reporting Tuesday night with a simple question: Do people think the State of the Union message matters? It's a speech meant to set the agenda, but many are skeptical much will get done in the hyper-partisan climate of an election year.

When the president spoke, a Downers Grove business owner chose not to listen. Why? Because she's fed up.

"My statements aren't partisan statements, they're frustration with the way the whole sum of it is going," said Karen Bushy, small business owner. "And quite honestly, it's Washington and Springfield."

Bushy opened her scrapbooking business two years ago after her family owned car dealership closed. There hasn't been much of a profit to take a paycheck from.

Bushy loves politics - she's the former Republican mayor of Oak Brook - but she hates what she's seeing from both parties in Washington and its trickle-down effect on the economy.

"I employ 12 people, and we work hard to make this work," she said. "If it doesn't work that's 12 more people on the unemployment rolls."

At partisan watch parties Tuesday night, where Republicans jeered and Democrats cheered the president's speech, minds were already made up. And, it would seem, the same was true on Capitol Hill.

"Republicans have not be willing to compromise, zero compromise, and we can't let that stop us or stop him," said Rep. Jan Schakowsky.

"There was an eerie silence in the chamber because we kept waiting for an acknowledgement that the country is broken - we've been living beyond our means for years, especially these past three years, but he doesn't acknowledge it," said Rep. Joe Walsh.

On Facebook, posters were skeptical. "Nothing but lies and nonsense. It doesn't matter who is in office," wrote Michael Tracy. Michelle Searer said the speech is "most likely the same old rhetoric.... but I am hopeful... and I do care, to some degree."

"Our congressmen, our state government and our president need to understand it's their job to work together, compromise if you need to but get off your ego trip and get going and doing something meaningful for the American people," said Bushy.

An analysis found last Congress passed fewer bills than in any non-election year in at least a decade. Since 2012 is an election year, the prognosis for progress is even more bleak.