February 12 2013

Girding for SOTU

Charlotte Hays

If Charles Krauthammer is correct, we will hear an “extremely aggressive and partisan” State of the Union address tonight.

Alexis Simendinger has talked about the forthcoming speech with White House insiders:

Here’s what we know about President Obama’s State of the Union address Tuesday night: It will include some news -- as in new challenges aimed at Congress -- and enough rhetoric about economic growth and job creation to sound familiar to most Americans who worry about continued 8 percent unemployment.

The president’s speech, described by White House officials as an expansion of January’s inauguration theme of “opportunity for all,” will kick off a week of campaign-style Obama travel designed to pressure GOP lawmakers to bend to the wishes of a majority of Americans -- or risk their election-year wrath.

Simendinger says the president will "throw down the gauntlet" to Congress.

Okay, I am officially depressed. If I had a different job, I might decide to clean the bathroom or watch paint dry tonight. But I will watch it and as a result will probably go to bed more worried about the state of the union than I am right now. And, believe me, I am already worried.

First of all, the president would do well to deal with Congress instead of throwing down another gauntlet.

Second, we’ve already had plenty “rhetoric” from President Obama on job creation. What we haven’t had is job creation, despite his frequent pivots to the subject. This is because his policies—more government, more regulation—stifle job creation. But four years of an anemic economy have not made the president question any of the premises on which he bases decisions.

Can you bear the idea of a rerun of his partisan and divisive second inaugural address?  I suspect that the speech is designed to pressure GOP lawmakers to bend to the wishes of President Obama more than their constituencies. If I were a groundhog, I’d see four more years of bitter division.

Sometimes when I hear the president talk I get an eerie sense of a powerful man divorced from reality. What would a less ideological and more reality-based president talk about tonight? The American Enterprise Institute asked scholars to address the issue. It’s a great panel. Unfortunately, despite all the problems confronting the nation, the president will skirt the issues outlined by the AEI panel and hurl gauntlets.

Meanwhile, tomorrow President Obama visits an automotive parts manufacturer near Ashville, N.C. Frankly, if I worked there, I’d be a little nervous. Businesses visited by this president have a disturbing habit of going out of business shortly afterwards. It’s the economy, Stupid.

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