The Way Back Machine and the SOTUPosted: January 23, 2011
So, there’s this NYT article up today called ‘Obama to Press Centrist Agenda in His Address’. Here’s the President’s own words on how the State of the Union address is shaping up.
“My No. 1 focus,” he said, “is going to be making sure that we are competitive, and we are creating jobs not just now but well into the future.”
“These are big challenges that are in front of us,” Mr. Obama also said in the video, sent to members of Organizing for America, his network of supporters from the 2008 campaign. “But we’re up to it, as long as we come together as a people — Republicans, Democrats, independents — as long as we focus on what binds us together as a people, as long as we’re willing to find common ground even as we’re having some very vigorous debates.”
So, we’re hearing themes of jobs, bipartisanship and coming together to focus on the future which probably includes spending cuts to Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security. Here’s another link for you from the Examiner.com with the headline of ‘Obama’s State of the Union: emphasis on job creation, immigration reform on limbo’.
President Barack Obama delivered his first State of the Union speech which ran for seventy-five minutes emphasizing in job creation, offering very few specifics, and listing a number of ‘accomplishments,’ such as cutting of taxes and preventing a ‘second depression’.
Obama talked Wednesday night about spending freezes as part of the solution to revamp the economy and to repay for the $1 trillion that it took to rescue the economy last year.
Starting in 2011, we are prepared to freeze government spending for three years. Spending related to our national security, Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security will not be affected. But all other discretionary government programs will. Like any cash-strapped family, we will work within a budget to invest in what we need and sacrifice what we don’t.”
Correct me if I’m wrong, but is the State of the Union address just going to be a mulligan for last year’s SOTU except this time he’ll be even more Republican friendly and business friendly while he delivers the same message? One of the criticisms of Obama’s vision thang has been that he continually offers up the same things but just tinkers with the buzzwords because he sees that it’s not the message that’s the problem but it’s the selling methodology that’s faulty.
Take for example his first stimulus which was about 40% business friendly tax cuts that really didn’t accomplish much in the way of job creation. His latest tax cuts are still business friendly and probably won’t accomplish much in the way of job creation either. This time around, however, he’s not going around giving speeches about ‘fat cat’ businessmen and Wall Street bankers. Most of the Treasury Department is filled with left over Goldman Sachs folks. Now, we have the West Wing filled less with politicians and more with fat cats. Other than a few more musical chairs or a few less hostile names in the spirit of pre-election financing needs, how is this any different than what we’ve seen before?
Can he just basically recycle last year’s speech–sans the swipe at the Supreme Court–and still be seen as some change agent or some transitional figure? I’m going to have to watch, but this lead up is sounding a lot like “Can you hear me now?” more than anything else.
And, what does it say that two years later, we’re still getting State of the Union addresses that need to focus on jobs? How about that the stuff they’ve been trying really isn’t working? Will using the buzz word “competitiveness” just be the new frame from last year’s talk on “doubling U.S. exports over the next five years”? Is this just a remarketing of the same five year plan with a few words meant to give Republican Congressmen hard-ons for hope?
The NYT is calling this “political rebranding”. They’re hinting that he’s even going to talk on reforming the corporate tax code. So, that means we get less of everything, they get more and it sounds like the same trickle down economics from the same set of tax cuts that continues to destroy the budget and brings on calls for decreases in “entitlements”. I’m not seeing any real change here. So, it took me a bit to get to the part of the article that raised questions with answers I’d personally like to hear.
While most midterm presidents use the State of the Union to take credit for their achievements to date, Mr. Obama is constrained by the facts that unemployment remains above 9 percent, that his signature domestic achievement — the expansion of health insurance coverage — remains unpopular with nearly half the country, and that prospects for withdrawing many troops from Afghanistan later this year remain uncertain at best.
So, I’m making my list of things I’d like addressed on Tuesday when we watch the SOTU and live blog it here. The first is about this miserable surge in Afghanistan and the 6 month time line for the end. The second is why are corporate profits setting records and the financial markets recovering if we’re so damned uncompetitive now and we have such a screwed up corporate tax policy? How the heck are we going to export more stuff when we really don’t make anything to export? How many copies of old Arnold movies can the developing world order? Why do businesses and insurance companies want to keep HCR so much? Finally, why do you think that more tax cuts are going to create jobs when they haven’t done so to date?
So, that’s my list. What’s on yours?
Meanwhile, Republicans continue to prove they live in an alternate universe with no use for science,math or economic theory.
The Senate’s top Republican, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, said on Sunday that his party will vigorously oppose the spending initiatives President Obama plans to include in his State of the Union address on Tuesday because “it’s not a time to be looking at pumping up government spending.”
I’m thinking we might as well change the party names right now. The usual republican suspects are now the leadership of the democratic party. They get to become the Republicrat party. Republicans just may as well change their name to the National Right to Life and John Birch Society Party. Where’s an old style Democratic voter to go?