OpEd: State of the Union Is Mixed

Clearly, this is a critical time for President Obama. He is the only person elected by all the nation's voters, and can use his "bully pulpit' to appeal directly to the American people. Tonight he must start a conversation with the public about needed fiscal reforms. He must fully embrace his role as CEO of our nation and do what is best for our collective future. It is time for him to acknowledge the seriousness of our situation and to offer a vision and framework for a way forward that bridges the partisan and ideological divides in Washington.

Hopefully, President Obama will take the first step this evening toward providing a basis for achieving a fiscal "Grand Bargain" in 2013. He should follow-up tonight's message with a budget proposal that is designed to recognize reality, reduce debt/GDP to a reasonable and sustainable level by 2024, and build a bridge to the future that can achieve meaningful bipartisan agreement. After all, major transformational reforms only tend to occur in odd numbered, non-election years.

In the final analysis, "We the People" must hold our elected officials accountable for what they do and what they fail to do. We must make the political price associated with kicking the can down the road higher than the price of making tough choices to create a better future. Ultimately, it's up to us!

David M. Walker is former U.S. Comptroller General and CEO of the Comeback America Initiative. This work is the opinion of the writer and in no way represents the opinion or stance of ABC News or the Walt Disney Company.

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