President Obama assumed the office four years ago during a difficult time. The financial system had collapsed, there were wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the housing market went south. The task at hand was a difficult one, yet Obama during his "Hope and Change" campaign promised to reduce unemployment and cut the deficit in half during his first term. His agenda included health care, immigration reform, the end of the war in Iraq, the closing of Guantanamo and a more aggressive effort in Afghanistan.
Four years later unemployment is still just under eight per cent, deficits continue to be around $1.2 trillion and then national debt has reached an unprecedented level of $16.5 trillion. The Affordable Health Act (Obamacare), in its infancy is still being challenged by some states and health care costs have skyrocketed. Immigration reform is yet to be acted upon. While both sides agree it is necessary, Obama's proposal resembles that of George Bush's, which was rejected by both Republicans and Democrats. The war in Iraq is over and Afghanistan is coming to a conclusion and Osama Bin Laden is dead.
Emboldened by his re-election the President will give his State of the Union Address on Tuesday. The speech is widely expected to be a campaign style spanking of Republicans. Putting caution aside Obama will address gun control and more tax hikes
. After all the rich have to pay their fair share.
President Obama is set to make gun control - as well as taxes and spending - a key part of his State of the Union speech after the first lady invited the parents of the slain Chicago teenager who has become the poster child for gun violence in the president's home city.
The president is also expected to press Congress for additional tax hikes, fewer spending cuts, outreach for military families and immigration reform, which is shaping up to be a key part of his second term agenda.
The agenda Obama will outline will include more money for infrastructure, clean energy technologies and manufacturing jobs, as well as expanding access to early childhood education.
To highlight the ideology of Democrats, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, in an interview with FOX's Chris Wallace
said that categorizing Washington's debt and deficit problem as a spending problem is a false argument. She categorized it as a deficit problem, which had to be addressed. It makes one wonder how the deficit is caused.
Pelosi rebuffed GOP calls for the sequester replacement to focus exclusively on targeting more spending cuts and entitlement reforms.
“It is almost a false argument to say we have a spending problem. We have a budget deficit problem that we have to address,” she told Fox News’s Chris Wallace on Sunday.
Pelosi added that the deficit and debt are at “immoral levels” and “must be reduced.”
White House offers enhanced version of the speech
According to the White House blog, Obama will offer enhanced version of the speech that offers charts, facts and other info as the President speaks.
When the President addresses the nation, the White House will provide something you can't find anywhere else: an enhanced version of the speech that offers charts, facts and other info as the President speaks (check out last year's here). You can watch live on WhiteHouse.gov/SOTU, through the White House mobile apps for iPhone, Android and iPad, and also on the official White House presences on YouTube, Google+, Hulu, Facebook, and Ustream. And if you'd like, you can embed the stream on your own site.
The White House will also introduce a new tool called Citizen Response that lets you highlight a passage from the State of the Union Address, tell the President how you're connected to that issue and then share that specific part with your friends.
President Obama can't appear too partisan
During his inauguration speech the president revealed his big picture very liberal agenda, highlighting gun control, immigrations reform, the environment and gay rights. During his State of the Union address he must strike a balance by appearing more bipartisan. He knows that he will require the support of the House of Representatives to forward his agenda, especially immigration reform. While the White House claims that his primary focus has been on creating jobs, tonight the president has to fill in the blanks on the economy and provide some details on how he will create jobs. It will unquestionably be a balancing act.
According to Politico
Americans shouldn't expect a lot of bipartisan peaceful collaboration. While Obama will pay lip service to bipartisanship, the faces the danger of alienating a large number of Americans. He will, however, ride the wave of his election victory and burn some political capital and hopefully keep the GOP on the defensive. Look at the address as a first campaign speech to gain seats for the Democrats in both the House and the Senate. Thus the emphasis to engage Americans with the White House enhanced speech presentation.
When POLITICO asked how Obama is approaching the speech compared with his previous State of the Union addresses, a person close to the process of drafting the speech replied with a 2,500-year-old quote from Chinese military strategist Sun Tzu:
“Build your opponent a golden bridge to retreat across.”
In the end it's the economy stupid
Twist it as you may, Americans and particularly the middle class is feeling the brunt of a low growth economy. With record numbers of Americans on food stamps, entitlements and unemployed, the main issue continues to be the economy. Americans will be looking for solutions that make sense and do not, once again, hit their pocket books.
The president must spend a good portion of his speech on the economy, job creation and taxation. At the same time he has to address national security, health care and immigration reform. Americans will also want to know how environmental issues will affect them. In an ideal world all the blanks would be filled in on these issues, but will they?