It looks like Charlotte might very well get her SOTU wish: The White House is saying that Bush’s speech will be 50/50 between domestic and international concerns, with the international section focusing on Iraq and “international compassion initiatives.”
The Wall Street Journal reports that the three main focal points of the speech are energy, immigration, and Iran. That’s a good starting point, but you should also be on the lookout for the following domestic topics: Health Care and Education.
Check out Carrie’s post below to see some ideas about health care reform. In regards to education, we are bound to hear about the importance of reauthorizing No Child Left Behind (NCLB). We’ve been critical of the policy here at IWF, so let’s hope that Bush can lay out some meaningful reform options — otherwise, the status-quo doesn’t look so pretty. If you’d like a refresher on the options Congress has for dealing with NCLB this year, Dan Lips provides a nice summary over at Human Events today.
The big question for me is more about Bush’s attitude than his specific policy agenda. How will he react to the new Democratic Congress? I, for one, hope he challenges them to step up to the plate, now that they are the majority. That’s not to say he should be combative, but he should stand his ground. The days of “we disagree with Bush” as a policy position should be over — let’s see their ideas. Carrie mentions Social Security as one area where Dems need to do more than simply critique Republican plans. They must offer a plan of their own and then debate and negotiations can start. There is a lot of talk about “bi-partisanship” following the recent elections — Social Security reform would be a good place to start. Let politicians from all sides come together and fix a clearly failing system. Iraq would be another area for Bush to challenge the Democrats: what would they do differently that wouldn’t leave Iraq in total chaos? Bush should challenge the Senate to get an up and down vote on judicial nominations.
For more of a preview of tonight’s speech, check out this USA Today interview with Bush. And, of course, we’ll have plenty of post-speech coverage here on Inkwell.