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SOTU: Obama’s last chance to change tone

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 1:18 pm - January 24, 2012.
Filed under: National Politics

Four years ago, Barack Obama ran for the presidency promising a new era of hope and change.   He would bring us together with a new kind of politics that transcended partisan differences.

Since starting working in the Oval Office, however, he has adopted a much different tone.  When a Republican Senator challenged the Democratic president “over the contents” of the stimulus, the Democratic President, instead of acknowledging the point, snapped, “I won” as if his electoral victory obviated the need for argument.

Last year, after failing to find much support for the budget he had released, he claimed he was going to offer a different approach and instead of gave a speech excoriating the Republican plan without offering an alternative of his own.  The headline of the Washington Post report on the address read that it had a “partisan tone.”  The Annenberg Center reported that the Democrat “misrepresented the House Republicans’ budget plan at times and exaggerated its impact on U.S. residents“.  Hardly the way to begin a serious dialogue on federal fiscal priorities.

Will his State of the Union address tonight be less partisan?  Will he honestly address his opponents’ proposals?  Will he offer plan to cut deficit?  “The current fiscal year,”  as John Hinderaker reminds us, “will be the fourth in a row in which the Obama administration racks up a $1 trillion-plus deficit.”

Will he propose sweeping tax reform as some Republican presidential candidates have done — and his own deficit reduction committee recommended?  Will he put forward tonight a plan to reform entitlements and rein in federal spending or will he return to the same old song and dance and repeat the tired refrain about increasing taxes on millionaires and billionaires?

Most signs, however, indicate that instead of attempting to bridge partisan differences, the speech will accent them.  Over at Politico, Carrie Budoff Brown and Glenn Thrush report that Obama “gave the first detailed look at Tuesday’s address in a video message Saturday dispatched through his campaign, not the White House, which is usually the origin for previews.

No wonder, Ed Morrissey asks a more cynical question than the ones I posed, “What empty promises will Obama offer tonight?”  He reports that Obama failed to deliver on over 70% of the promises he made in last year’s SOTU.


The Do-Nothing Democratic Senate: 1,000 Days Without a Budget

President Obama, reports Dwvin Dwyer this morning on ABCNews, “has spent the past three months railing against a ‘do-nothing Congress,” and tonight he has the opportunity to deliver his message face to face.”   As the Democrat demagogues a legislature that won’t rubberstamp his priorities, he will certainly obscure one fact:  Congress is not a completely Republican, but a divided, institution.  The House, to be sure, is Republican, but the Senate remains Democratic.

And it’s that Senate that hasn’t been doing much of anything.  Speaker John Boehner reports, for example, that “Thirty jobs bills passed over the last year in a Republican House of Representatives that are sitting in the United States Senate“.   And “today marks the 1,000th day since the Senate Democratic majority . . .  approved a federal budget.”  One thousand days.  That’s about as long as Anne Boleyn, Henry VIII’s second wife, reigned as Queen of England.

The federal government“, observe the editors of the Washington Examiner

. . . still managed to pile nearly $4 trillion onto the national debt as the Senate dithered during those 1,000 days. The Senate forced the federal government to function piecemeal for three years through a series of haphazardly stitched-together omnibus bills and continuing resolutions. These bring together in one massive document trillions in spending and borrowing that can then be jammed through Congress with one convenient up-or-down vote, with only token debate and few if any amendments allowed. It’s Washington’s nice and tidy way of handing voters a take-it-or-leave-it approach to federal spending.

Wonder if Obama will fault his fellow partisan Harry Reid for leading a do-nothing legislative chamber?  Wonder if our friends in the legacy media will even note the thousand days.*

As usual, Democrats will try to blame Republicans for their mistakes as John Hinderaker reports:

Democrats like Dick Durbin and Nancy Pelosi have tried to blame their dereliction of duty on the Republicans, claiming that it would be futile to propose a budget since the Republicans would filibuster it. As usual, the Democrats rely on ignorance: under the Congressional Budget Act of 1974, budgets pass the Senate by a simple majority and cannot be filibustered.

In contrast to the Democratic Senate, the current Republican House passed a budget just over 100 days after being sworn in.  This year, the president will again miss the statutory deadline for submitting a budget.  Last year, his budget couldn’t even garner a single Democratic vote in the Senate. (more…)