Wednesday, January 27, 2010

What I'd Like To Hear In The State Of The Union Address

President Obama will be giving the State of the Union Adress tonight in an atmosphere of confusion and fear for Democrats and one of anger and anxiety for the citizenry. This is a touchstone moment for the President. A chance for him to right the ship for his party, to restore the faith of the electorate and to determine the course of the remainder of his presidency. With so much riding on one speech, what should he say? Speaking for myself, I’d like to hear the following:
  • Recognition that the American people have rejected healthcare reform and further efforts will be shelved until such a time as the people are confident in the economic recovery. I would also like to hear a pledge that future efforts, whenever they come, will be conducted with the air of transparency promised during the campaign. Which leads me to…

  • An acknowledgement that campaign promises to the contrary, transparency has been a failing of the administration to this point. A pledge to uphold that promise for the remainder of the term (if followed with concrete action, of course) would go a long way towards regaining the faith of the people.

  • A pledge to focus on the economy. I expect this will actually be the main point the President makes tonight. But I’d also like to hear an acknowledgement that the stimulus is not having the promised or desired effect on the economy. That public sector job growth is not the means by which the economy will rebound.

  • An annoucement that there will be no further stimulus packages. That the time for bailouts has passed.

  • That in light of recent revlations involving the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, U.S. policy on climate change, including Cap and Trade and EPA mandates to regulate CO2 will be re-evaluated.

  • A pledge to extricate government from ownership of private industries by divesting itself of all shares to private investors.

  • The “Blame Bush” quotient kept to a minimum.

If the president hits most of these points, his poll numbers would skyrocket. If he followed it with concrete action, he might just earn himself a second term. What I expect is a heavy dose of “it’s the economy stupid”, a fair amount of touting his discretionary spending freeze as a cure to the deficit, followed by a brief acknowledgement of voter anger about heatlhcare concluded with a tone deaf pledge to soldier on in the fight for healthcare reform. In other words, I think his speech will be judged mainly on his remarks about the economy and what he plans to do to fix it. The more he talks about Bush and spending ourselves out of debt with stimulus packages, the worse it will be received.

What are you hoping to hear tonight?

(Crossposted from Say Anything)

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