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.