The state of the union is strong if by that you mean the spirit of the people-especially those ebullient, regular folks who into coalesced into the movement known as the Tea Party and keep going, no matter that they are mocked and misrepresented. Jobs, not so much.

Are you expecting President Obama to pivot to jobs tonight in his State of the Union address? Yeah, me, too. He always does that when he’s in a tight spot. But I think the public will take some convincing, and I am looking to Paul Ryan, the budget committee head, who will deliver the Republican response, to point out why our economy is stalled and what should be done.

President Obama will very likely portray America as having been on the precipice when he assumed office and now, having been rescued by Mr. Obama’s stimulus, ready for a big move forward. But this stimulus is so unpopular, having in reality done very little to help the job situation, that Obama will use what the Weekly Standard dubs “the Obama Code” and instead call it “investment:”

“Investment,” Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell noted, is a code word when uttered by President Obama and Democrats. It means, he said on Fox News Sunday, “we want to spend.” Indeed, that’s what Obama and Democrats most want to do.

When Mr. Obama says “investment” he is not talking about you putting your money in equity-he means the government taking your money to-well-spend. Whenever Mr. Obama says “investment” tonight, grab your wallet. The Weekly Standard also tells you what the president means by “competitiveness” and “winning the future,” two of his new code words that you might be hearing tonight. My guess is that, as he pivots to jobs for about the fifteenth time in his presidency, he will not demonstrate a willingness to pivot to policies that produce them. (Rich Lowry also has a nice piece on the “investment” meme: “Barack Obama hopes to be saved by a euphemism.”)

It will be interesting to see how the president deals with his biggest achievement, the massively unpopular health care reform. The prediction is that he will offer to work with Republicans to tinker with Obamacare but that he won’t accept any drastic overhaul-he can’t it’s his signature piece of legislation.

One of the things I will miss tonight will be the two parties in Congress, each rising or sitting on their hands at different points in the speech to demonstrate where they (literally) stand on the issues. There will be blended seating this year and call me cynical, but I think Democrats embraced this new arrangement with such alacrity because they are afraid to stand up for what they believe. Absent will be Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito, who apparently found the president’s attack on a court ruling in the last year’s pre-civility crusade SOTU unsavory, and perhaps other members of the high court.

I expect the president to make a good impression tonight. The mainstream press is eager to give him high marks for tonight’s speech, and it almost certainly will do so. Just the move to code language signals that he is positioning himself as the moderate we saw in the 2008 election. But the SOTU, like vast majority of speeches, will soon be forgotten. It’s important in a way, but what really will matter will be the economy, which doesn’t speak in code.