January 27, 2014

Obama SOTU 2014

What to expect?  President Obama will soon deliver his annual State of the Union address.  After a series of uninspiring SOTU addresses, including one in which he insulted the Supreme Court Justices, the president is in a weird position this time around.  Instead of blaming everyone else for things he hasn't done, for problems he hasn't solved, he is actually going to have to talk about something he did get 'done' - Obamacare.

While that is going to be rich - seeing him trying to say everything is going to be fine is fine - he's also being called upon by the left to start ignoring Congress and doing everything by presidential fiat (aka Executive Order) in order to get his agenda moving again.  And of course there's calls for him to blame everything on Congress, which is the only play in Obama's playbook, "blame ____________".  But the president seems like he's given up caring about the rest of his presidency.  He seems to have accepted his lame duck status.

Personally, I'm happy he's given up if that's the case.  A president who is happy to admonish the Supreme Court (an equal branch of government) and bypass Congress (another equal branch of government), serves the country better by not usurping all the power for himself.  He's Julius Caesar without any policy chops to back him up.

But that doesn't mean that president Obama will not give an impassioned speech that will enthuse his base.  He is good at giving speeches that are not conciliatory, offer little substance, but sound great to his acolytes.  He can do that sort of speech in his sleep.

What happens as a result of the SOTU speech is likely not to be evident for some time.  If he truly has accepted his lame duck status, don't expect him to do much before the midterm elections.  That would create the impression with the president that his actions would do more political harm than good for his agenda.  And even if he does, would Congress try to censure the president?  That's not likely prior to the midterms either.  Looking back, not much came from his previous SOTU speeches either, when he did have that progressive fire in his belly.  So this speech while on the surface perhaps impassioned, will not move mountains, stop the oceans from rising or accomplish much of anything.

I'm good with that.


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