Many people swear we learn everything we need to know in kindergarten.  There is much truth to that. When we were children, our parents taught us helpful life lessons.  Many lessons were learned as a consequence of bad decisions and were accompanied with a punishment, but their truth is undeniable.  

Listening to President Obama deliver his State of the Union Speech last night, I could not help to remember some of the life lessons my mom taught me.  I found myself thinking about how different the President’s rhetoric, approach to government, and policies would be if he relied on some of the lessons he learned as a child.

If only the President would have heeded my mom’s advice, his speech would have had a much more profound impact on the Republican-controlled Congress and the millions of Americans listening at home.

Lesson One: There is no such thing as a free lunch.

The President’s “free college” plan may sound great, but we have all learned there is no such thing as a free lunch.  Taxpayers and the students lured into the President’s free college scheme will be responsible for footing the tuition bill.  Furthermore, this “free college” program would only nationalize our education system, making it bureaucratic and costly.  Every student should have an equal opportunity to receive a great education, which is why we should work together to make college more affordable for families and students.

Lesson Two: Never insult an alligator until you’ve crossed the creek.

Last night, the President was boastful throughout his speech.  At one point, he even insulted Congress saying, “I have no more campaigns to run.  I know because I won both of them.”  This is true. The President does not have any more campaigns to run, but he has a country to run and quite a few creeks to cross.  Comments like this, only muddy the waters. 

Lesson Three:  It takes two to tango.

Republicans control Congress now and if the President wants to reform broken laws, fix our tax code, and get things done for our country, he must work with Congress and Congress must work with him.  The President cannot act unilaterally and rewrite our laws as he has done in the past.  Our Constitution clearly states that changes like these, require Congress.  In order to help American families and grow middle class paychecks, we’re going to have to work together.  It’s going to take two to tango.

As we review the state of our country, I believe in a bold vision for a 21st century America that increases opportunity for everyone —more jobs, better wages, viable energy options , affordable health care, and access to education.  In order to carry out this vision, I refuse to burden our children and grandchildren with mounds of debt.  My colleagues and I cannot accomplish this alone.  Republicans are ready to work with the President.  We are ready to get our country back on the right tracks. We are ready to tango.