Obama's State of Union Address Light on Specifics
By Steffen Schmidt
As I watched Pres. Obama’s State of the Union speech and as I blogged at the Des Moines Register, it seemed like more of a Mission Impossible. His mission was to redo his faltering Presidency and salvage the Democratic Party from a possible severe electoral trouncing in November of 2010. That’s what was on all our minds.
He did not accomplish that mission.
Instead he gave a polished but unfocused speech at a time when two or three urgent priorities are begging for answers. I was also impressed and depressed that many of the live bloggers who joined me at the Des Moines register were rude, uninformed, Tea Partyish, Glenn Becky, and had no respect for what is, after all OUR President.
His desperate move to slash the Federal budget across the board seemed nonsensical since he had just finished arguing for a large dose of spending to prime the pump. And the Major exemptions for military and security made the cuts less credible and targeted at sectors and functions of American life that are hurting.
His “middle class spending” items contradicted fiscal responsibility and detracted from the theme of the evening, which, I gather, was to be “I Barak Obama will cut spending more than the GOP.” It wasn’t.
I thought before the speech that the theme would be to address the near panic in the country over health care reform? I doubt very much that this speech has reassured anyone or clarified that issue. I still cannot tell you what ObamaCare is and I’ll bet neither can 80 percent of the nation.
Several of my Democratic friends felt that the theme of the night was “I am a strong leader and will get things done across the board on all issues.” There was some of that in the tone and he did a good job putting on a smiley face. However, as I said in the Register, in January of 2010 everybody is from Missouri and is saying to Pres Obama, “Show Me.”
The November 2010 elections will reveal whether the President, as Larry the Cable Guy would put it, “Got ‘Er Done.” I’m not optimistic. Progressives in his own party are mad as hell and it’s clear from the rude and uncooperative stance of the GOP that they hope Obama will fail to quote Rush.
In his speech he proved that he is smart and upbeat.
In parts of the speech he showed that he can still get feisty.
If he can return to Obama 1.0 (which was the OSX Snow Leopard operating system Obama) instead of the Beta version of Obama 2.0 (which looked a lot like Microsoft Vista) he can get the nation fired up again. But he has to set aside bipartisanship and doing Cumbaya.
If he just lets Congress fight and he stays “above it all” he may fail.
On the other hand, if he does fail they will get a chance to be the majority in Congress and the many Monkeys running around the U.S. and the world will be doing a number on THEIR heads.
Then the Democrats can be the “Party of NO” and we are all royally screwed.
Steffen Schmidt is a University Professor of political science at Iowa State University and lead author of the country's most widely adopted introductory college textbook, "American Government and Politics Today." He provides weekly political analysis for Iowa Public Radio, and periodically in Spanish for CNN en Español. He is chief political and foreign correspondent for InsiderIowa.com.