Sunday, January 23, 2011

State of the Union Predictions

President Obama will address the nation on Tuesday for his third State of the Union Address.  This address should be much different than the last.  His first SOTU in 2009 was a cakewalk as he had just assumed office and was still "the one we had been waiting for."  2010 was a little different; the country was in a full economic crisis.  Unemployment was rising, foreclosures were increasing, etc, etc.  The President was able to take more of a hardline stance on stimulus spending and other government handouts supposedly designed to create jobs.  It was easy to point the finger at Republicans and say they were blocking legislation that could "save" or create jobs.  Totally absurd since with his large majorities, in both houses, the only thing preventing anything and everything in his agenda from passing was his own party.

2011 should be totally different.  In President Obama's mind, the State of the Union is not great.  He suffered huge defeats in the 2010 midterms, he was forced to accept extending the Bush tax-cuts (which by the way simply kept the rates unchanged, there was no additional tax-cut as the media likes to imply, it simply prevented a tax increase), and he is having to face the fact that his political agenda is pretty much a nonstarter for the rest of his term in office.

Quite simply, President Obama is angry.  Angry that he has lost the approval of the majority of the American people, angry that most polls show he would not be re-elected, and angry that he has blown the biggest chance in Democrat political history.  Due to the shooting of Representative Giffords President Obama is expected to give the SOTU speech with a "new civility".  He may start civil, but watch his facial expressions and body language when he talks about the importance of Obamacare.  Anger will flash on his face when he hints that the reason Republicans are trying to repeal this law is because they simply do not like poor people, or don't care about our parents and grandparents.

I can guarantee that at some point in the speech Obama will use the opportunity to blame the right and talk radio for the Arizona shootings.  He will not call people out by name but he will use the opportunity to his advantage now that enough time has passed since the shooting.  He was unable to directly make this accusation right after the shooting because the polling showed that Americans didn't buy it.  The media will joyfully expand upon any comments related to the Arizona shooting, filling in the blankets and the unspoken messages for the American public.

Obama will focus on job creation, which is convenient since for over a year his administration has had a "laser-like focus" on jobs without results.  I believe that in order to placate Republicans and the public he will talk about working with businesses and reducing hurdles to job creation.

Obama really only has a few things to be happy about:  Obamacare is still the law of the land, the new Republican majority has not yet had an opportunity to cut any wasteful spending or programs, and he still has another couple years in office to enjoy the perks.  The President will have to walk a fine line because campaign season has begun.  To have any chance at re-election he has to appear like a moderate as he did in 2008 rather than the far left activist "organizer" he became once inaugurated.

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