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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.

I doubt the president will offer any plan to address the crises facing our federal government and the problems plaguing the private sector.  The notion of Barack Obama changing the tone in Washington and providing real solutions to our nation’s problems has always been fanciful at best.



  1. Obama’s Solyndra of the Union is going to be so far Left to pander to his fractured base; Obama isn’t going to change his tone. He doesn’t know any other tone. He’s a Marxist ideologue out to change America into the Euro-States of America before we become North Korea.

    Comment by Sebastian Shaw — January 24, 2012 @ 3:11 pm - January 24, 2012

  2. Obama and the Democrats operate the United States government as a commercial enterprise for their private profit. They collude with minorities, the unions, and a various special interests to deliver money from the public treasury to private hands and the debts incurred are public responsibility.

    This process devalues the currency and strains the economy of the country. The “working people” are taxed on the money they earn to pay the people who are the beneficiaries of the wealth transfer. As a result, those who “earn” their money are saddled with funding the people who “acquire” their money.

    The legislature is so enmeshed in the money transfer scheme that it functions mostly as window dressing to the theft of the economy.

    Those who can afford to aid and abet the scheme outside of the government circle, do so by cooperating with the money transfer scheme. Those individuals “make” money by churning it in the government scheme and taking a per cent for their participation. That is to say, they pimp the system.

    The Wall Street guys who figured out “derivatives” were only doing what comes naturally. There were huge amounts of money being churned through Freddie and Fannie and lots of “funny money” paper being written, so they got in the game of bundling the “funny money” paper and selling it for a per cent of the action. Ten per cent of a billion is a good pay year. The “funny money” was backed by the full faith and credit of the working stiff who pays taxes on the money he earns from operating a chicken farm. That is how you “make” money.

    So, exactly what is Obama going to say to the slaves in the galley?

    Row harder. Rich Republicans are laughing at you. Tomorrow we are going to get an Evinrude for the end of each oar and you will have two glasses of lemonade every afternoon. Tax the rich and row harder. Free healthcare is on the way. Get out of the way of the limousine, you might slow us down. Michelle says to lay off the ribs. No one said it was going to be easy. We love you, man.

    Comment by Heliotrope — January 24, 2012 @ 5:28 pm - January 24, 2012

  3. My guess is that the speech will be a mash up of every demagogic, divisive and partisan one liner that he’s ever read off his teleprompters. A “greatest hits” album, if you will, of the great class warrior in chief. It will be a stark contrast from his much acclaimed 2004 convention speech and I think tonight will set the tone of his reelection campaign.

    Took a peek at his guest list and found that most of his guests, that are sure to be mentioned in the speech, are from North Carolina, Virginia, Ohio, Colorado and Michigan. Coincidental that those are all very important battleground states that Obama cannot afford to lose.

    Others on the list indicate that he will be doubling down on crony capitalism asking for more money to throw at green energy friends. And of course the big name on the list is Warren Buffett’s secretary, so we can be sure to expect that Obama gem about secretary’s paying less than those darned millionaires. I doubt hers and Buffett’s tax returns will be made public to verify such claims.

    The two words I expect to describe his speech: pandering and demagogic. I don’t think my prediction will be far off the mark.

    Comment by Jimmy — January 24, 2012 @ 5:32 pm - January 24, 2012

  4. Tonights “State of the Union” will be nothing but a campaign speech, more promises, more lies, more vote buying with tax payer money.

    Comment by Richard Bell — January 24, 2012 @ 7:20 pm - January 24, 2012

  5. Expect more divisiveness and lies. Business as usual.

    Comment by The_Livewire — January 24, 2012 @ 7:45 pm - January 24, 2012

  6. When the democrats are in power we have to work together for the good of the country and when republicans are in power we need dissent and obstruction for the good of the country.

    Comment by Richard Bell — January 24, 2012 @ 10:22 pm - January 24, 2012

  7. I must admit I couldn’t stomach more than a few minutes of it. But it certainly began just as I’d expected. All self-congratulations for things other people accomplished and he tried to take credit for, along with more class envy. I’m pretty sure the rest of it was the same old, sad song.

    Comment by Lori Heine — January 24, 2012 @ 10:39 pm - January 24, 2012

  8. Well, even Andrew Sullivan was disappointed with the speech. Perhaps he’s realizing his projection of “long game” strategery isn’t as accurate as he would like to believe. Not only that, he liked Daniels rebuttal more.

    There may be hope for him yet!

    OK. Just kidding on tat last bit.

    Comment by sonicfrog — January 25, 2012 @ 12:18 am - January 25, 2012

  9. Unless Sullivan has *already* fully recovered his sanity of the 1990s, he is completely in the tank for Obama (whose baby Sullivan dreams he might have one day) and his ‘Ron Paul’ posturing to the contrary is just that: posturing… to try to gain some fig leaf of credibility from other lefties.

    “Oh yeah, Sullivan is that useful idiot who pretends to be a ‘true’ conservative, along his path to fully endorsing our candidates every time” – that is how left-wingers view him, at least the smart ones. We should do the same.

    Sullivan endorsed Kerry in 2004 and Obama in 2008; he will do the same (after a great deal of histrionic, but ‘PRETEND’ hand-wringing) in 2012. You just watch.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — January 25, 2012 @ 1:33 am - January 25, 2012

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  11. Some great points, nice to see a bullet list off mishaps and failed promises VS the over posted, over stated lst of “Accomplishments”.

    Comment by Chase Z — January 25, 2012 @ 4:41 am - January 25, 2012

  12. True Sh-t ILC. The praise for Daniels is just a fig leaf so when Milky Loads does finally endorse Obama, he can say, “If only those mouth-breathing yahoos had nominated him (or Jon Huntsman or some other Republican-liberals-pretend-to-like-but-would-never-actually-vote-for) I could have made a different choice.”

    Comment by V the K — January 25, 2012 @ 6:11 am - January 25, 2012

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  14. How dumb was the SOTU speech?

    About this dumb.

    Obama’s SOTU addresses have the lowest average Flesch-Kincaid score of any modern president; Obama owns three of the six lowest-scoring addresses since FDR. And for the third straight Address, the President’s speech was written at an eighth-grade level.

    The brilliant president communicates at the level of an average 13 year old.

    Comment by V the K — January 25, 2012 @ 11:08 am - January 25, 2012

  15. Obama’s message *is* simple, and one that 13 year-olds can understand: “Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain!”

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — January 25, 2012 @ 11:16 am - January 25, 2012

  16. No, it is a simple message all 13 year olds can relate to: “Here, we will give you things for free that other people will pay for and tell you you’re cool for taking them.”

    Comment by V the K — January 25, 2012 @ 11:43 am - January 25, 2012

  17. I went to bed and listened to the SOTU with my eyes closed. I was not particularly sleepy, but I do not like watching The Won deliver his tripe. I can not recall much of anything he said and I was left with the overwhelming sense of feeling remarkably underwhelmed.

    Then I heard the FOX News people chatter about the speech: Krauthammer, Hume, A.B. Whatsherface, etc. But shortly, an acoustically inferior delivery by Mitch Daniels came on as the rebuttal.

    The Daniels speech was beautifully crafted and beautifully delivered. My mind did not wander and I was drawn along by his tempo and logic. It was so far above and beyond the chuck-wagon hash that Obama was serving up that there is no comparison.

    Anyway, glad to learn that the auto unions have saved the American economy and our birthright. And I love the scheme to confiscate 1/3 of the new money that comes into the hands of each and every person in the United States who has a net worth of one million dollars. (Now if that is not the correct interpretation of what The Won said, let him correct it now or spin on it for eternity.)

    Comment by Heliotrope — January 25, 2012 @ 11:53 am - January 25, 2012

  18. So Obama´s challenge to Republicans, ¨Game on.¨ The question is, will he show up to play?

    Comment by Roberto — January 25, 2012 @ 12:02 pm - January 25, 2012

  19. “Why this is so simple a child of four could understand this! Someone fetch me a child of four.”

    Comment by The Livewire — January 25, 2012 @ 12:52 pm - January 25, 2012

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  22. #17: I saw a liberal blogger I’m subscribed to also describe the SOTU as “a string of meaningless, shallow applause lines“, and knew I’d get the same here, but for more partisan reasons. Thinking of how would be best to expose those reasons I thought “Ask them about Mitch Daniels and his equally pointless SOTU rebuttal speech, watch them gush over how great he was, see how they hung off every word of it, and how they’re willing to pay complete attention to a pointless speech as long as it says what they want to hear”.

    I applaud you Heliotrope, you didn’t even need prompting.

    Comment by Serenity — January 25, 2012 @ 4:34 pm - January 25, 2012

  23. Heliotrope #2, great comment!

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — January 25, 2012 @ 7:28 pm - January 25, 2012

  24. P.S. As usual, Pomposity rattles senselessly… pay it no mind 😉

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — January 25, 2012 @ 7:29 pm - January 25, 2012

  25. ILC,

    Tbanks for the response to my comments at # 2 and the fair warning that Simplicity is merely baiting me.

    Actually, this is one of Acidity’s really weak stretches. Maybe Dependency is overcome with fatigue and ideological entropy.

    Comment by Heliotrope — January 25, 2012 @ 7:44 pm - January 25, 2012

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  30. #25,
    Heliotrope, we don’t know which of the voices in Amy’s head is speaking.

    Comment by The Livewire — January 26, 2012 @ 2:06 pm - January 26, 2012

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