As I write this column on January 24, 2012 -- Barack Obama, our “campaigner and chief,” is set to deliver his State of the Union address tonight.
Make no mistake about it, Mr. Obama’s annual report to the nation will be a very partisan political speech designed to frame his re-election campaign.
In effect, it will be the kick- off of Mr. Obama’s presidential campaign.
Borrowing a page from Harry Truman’s playbook -- much of Mr. Obama’s wrath will be directed at what he will label “a do nothing Congress.”
Congress is a ready made target as it has a “Real Clear Politics” approval rating of around 13%, an all time low for those who do the “work of the people.”
It’s a classic miss-direction strategy as Mr. Obama would like to talk about anything but his tenure as president.
According to early reports, Mr. Obama will lower expectations and not propose any new wide-sweeping legislation, realizing that this is an election year and that the chances of getting more big government programs through a divided congress are slim and none.
And, another little obstacle for Mr. Obama, is the matter of record deficits. Last year’s $1.3trillion was the third highest deficit share of the economy since 1945.
Understanding that the cupboard is bare, Mr. Obama will talk about “fairness” in the tax code.
Look for code words in his state of the Union address like "inequality" and "economic justice."
In recent speeches our transformative president has stated, “the basic bargain that made this country great has eroded,” in other words you are not getting your fair share.
Presto! Mr. Obama… the populist!
Mr. Obama will likely be optimistic on the economy pointing to a three year low in the unemployment rate of 8.5 % (the new normal) and expanded payrolls.
Missing in his report will be the housing and foreclosure crisis that still looms large over our nation and where Obama’s tinkering with programs and mortgages have actually prolonged the decline in home values.
Mr. Obama will also be reticent to talk about the “green energy” scandals such as Solyndra -- which cost the taxpayers of this country over a half billion dollars when the company went belly up.
Another little “winner” I doubt Mr. Obama will bring up is the sweet heart loan guarantee the Energy Department made to tune of 1.4 billion dollars to the green energy company Vantage Point whose “venture partners” include Robert F. Kennedy Jr.
It also doesn’t hurt that a Vantage Point official (and Obama fund-raiser) Sanjay Wagle left the firm to become a renewable-energy-grants adviser to you guessed it… to the U.S. Department of Energy.
I guess none of this should be a surprise.
You see Chicago politicians operate by much different standards. In the time tested Chicago way, they reward their friends with government largesse and punish their enemies.
What time does the State of the Union come on TV, again? I think I’ll change channels, I’ve seen this movie before.
Marc Rotterman worked on the national campaign of Reagan for President in 1980, served on the presidential transition team in 1980, worked in the Reagan Administration from 1981-1984, is a senior fellow at the John Locke Foundation in Raleigh, N.C. and a former member of the board of the American Conservative Union.