Figuratively of course, but the challenge to the president’s
second term and his legacy is very real.
As the end of March approaches and with it the need to complete a budget, the negotiation on the debt ceiling increase and most of all the resolution of the sequestration spending cuts, the ability of the President to address his second term priorities are hanging in the balance.
If those issues are resolved with a minimum of fuss and bother, the president will be able to pursue his second term goals in immigration
reform, gay rights, gun control, infrastructure, energy and education.
If there are bumps in the road to compromise with the opposition on the key fiscal issues facing the nation, if too much political capital is
spent or too many strong arm tactics (executive orders) are employed and political feathers are ruffled then the president’s entire agenda for the second term and his legacy is in danger.
President Obama’s SOTU addresses in his first term have been long on rhetoric and political vision and short on practical matters that can
be agreed upon by the factions in Congress and enacted into law. The previous SOTU speeches have spawned catchy phrases “Win the Future”, “We Still Can”, “Pass It Now”, etc but if looked at objectively have produced no meaningful changes for the American people.
The President will provide a litany of priorities gun control, immigration, jobs, gay rights, energy, infrastructure, perhaps even
another stimulus and there will be guests in attendance for key subjects to generate thunderous standing ovations by the Democrats and either polite seated applause or silence from the Republicans. President Obama will deliver a great speech, but if it is merely the
next version of SOTU addresses of the past that is all it will be, a memorable speech.
If we were to listen to the American people, on Main Street, on Elm Street, in rural Kansas or South Chicago, the State of the Union is not
that great and there are millions of people hurting and looking for work.
So tonight, if the report is that the state f the union is anything better than Fair to Poor the majority of Americans will realize that they are being fed a line on bull and that it is going to be politics as usual in Washington D.C.
The importance of this SOTU address is paramount, because when the 2014 SOTU comes around the focus will be on the mid-term elections and when the 2015 SOTU comes around people will be looking at the beginnings of the race for the presidency in 2016.
So tonight is President Obama’s last shot at significant accomplishment in his second term and cementing his legacy.
Figuratively of course.
Thanks to the Washington Note for the graphic