Obama’s State of the Union (SOTU) is going to focus on jobs and competitiveness tonight. But like most of his speeches, I’m expecting cadence and style to trump substance. In a video preview of his State of the Union speech, Obama explains “My No. 1 focus is going to be making sure that we are competitive, and we are creating jobs not just now but well into the future.” Obama will spend a lot of words talking about recovering the 6 million jobs lost since the economic downturn began. Where the hell was this speech two years ago? Did anyone in the Obama administration look at this chart:
Unemployment and foreclosures have pretty much married as trends over the last half decade. And only now, pundits are saying, “he must pivot to jobs and the economy.” That’s so rich – pivoting. The only job of the president, no matter political leaning, is to articulate the next best good for America. As much faith as we had in Obama the messiah/problem solver, that next best good in 2008 wasn’t healthcare. Solving healthcare didn’t do anything about foreclosures. A cold hard look at economic trends, nothing to do with any partisan ideology, would tell the administration what to do.
So now that he’s squandered most of his political capital, and the foreclosure crisis has metastasized, Obama has decided to focus more on jobs. Well better late than never, I guess. Meanwhile, the Republicans are still trying to make the fight about healthcare. It is so easy to hang them out to dry by just concentrating on our biggest problems.
Tonight is probably the largest audience Obama gets, especially after the Giffords shooting, and the pundits are saying this should be the most important speech of his presidency. He does have some things going for him, and that’s that the rest of the world is on the verge of a shake up too. China might be buckling under its own growth due to inflation. And Europe is plagued by debt, leadership that only believes in fighting those debt woes with a war of attrition, and a currency that is two steps away from instability. I wonder if somehow we can manage to stand still while things crumble around us, so we at least look victorious.