On January 20, 2015, President Obama will deliver the annual State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress. The following is a forecast of what you will surely hear, but then what is likely to be missing.
Expect Obama to linger over all the domestic economic good news: (1) the biggest gain in last quarter’s GDP (5%) that we have seen since 2003; (2) steady job growth with the numbers increasing with each month; (3) the Dow and S & P at all-time highs; (4) inflation remaining under reasonable control; (5) interest rates still low; (6) we are now the world’s largest producer of energy; (7) gas prices have left consumers with more disposable income in their pockets; and (8) wages and incomes of middle Americans have finally started to move upwards after decades of relative stagnation.
Where foreign policy is concerned, (1) all combat troops are now out of both Iraq and Afghanistan; (2) ISIS’ momentum has been slowed; (3) our coalition of European allies remains strong against Russia’s adventurism in the Ukraine; (4) we have an opportunity for cooperative work with Communist China on climate change; and (5) we are at the threshold of a new policy towards Cuba after 55 years’ of failed attempts to create regime change there.
The president will strike a conciliatory note promising yet again to work across the aisle (*), but to veto any legislation that strikes at the heart of the social safety net (think Social Security, Medicare) and other progressive initiatives like the Affordable Healthcare Act (+).
With all the foregoing set forth, here’s what is likely to be missing: A diplomatic but direct rebuttal to conservatives’ claims that (1) policies like Obamacare and raising the minimum wage would be “job-killers” and increase the deficit; (2) his economic recovery plan would fail; and (3) he had been out-maneuvered by Putin. Simply put, the President will remain his decent self and not rub conservatives’ noses in their empty fear-mongering, derision and nay-saying.
Very recently, the president’s approval rating has ticked upward; not a big gain, but noticeable. It will be interesting to see how he fares after his speech when viewers get a comprehensive presentation of much better off the nation is compared to when he took office. If Congressional Republicans request equal time to deliver a response to Obama’s remarks, watch for them to try to take credit for all the good things that have happened, but continue with their fear-mongering.
Get the popcorn ready. It should be an “entertaining” evening.
*It is hard to imagine Congressional Republicans being more cooperative now that they hold majorities in both houses.
+To override a presidential veto, Senate Republicans need 60 votes that they will not have unless they can convince 5-6 Democrats to vote with them.