How Far To The Middle?

In advance of tomorrow’s State of the Union it is not difficult to anticipate a rhetorical move to the center by the President, he has little choice politically.  The key question is whether the President can convince us that the move is genuine in light of the facts.  CNN/Opinion Dynamics polling illustrates the challenge; in March of 2009 86% expressed hope that the President’s policies would succeed, the current number is 61%.  “Think the President will succeed?” In March of 2009 64%, currently the number is 44%.    

Quinnipiac shows that even folks who like the President but disagree with policy has increased by 59%.  The polling further shows that those who are extremely or quite confident that the President has the right set of policies have fallen in one year’s time, from 54% to 36%, a 33% drop. 

More detailed polling by the NBC/Wall Street Journal poll asked a dozen questions regarding the President from leadership to honesty, to handling a crisis.  In each and every case the President, in a year’s time, has fallen dramatically, in some cases by half.  Uniting the country from 60% favorable to 30%, achieving goals 56% to 33%, a good Commander in Chief, 55% to 41%; represents American values 60% to 43%.

ABC, Pew, CNN, Fox and AP polling all show a majority of Americans in opposition to the Health Care Bill, by an average of 9 points.

AP polling reports that only 12% of Americans think the economy has turned the corner, 27% still think the worse is yet to come with the remainder opining that the economy has stabilized but not improved.

Will the expected move to the center be genuine or a shadow game based on “code” words the average American does not connect to the actual message being delivered.   The contextual question is can the President modify a point of view clearly held for his entire adult life?  Can he modify a philosophical context that he participated in propagating and has attempted to put into effect over the past two years?      

In “Radical in Chief” Stanley Kurtz offers volumes of evidence that clearly positions the President well to the left of center and in the middle of the ongoing Socialist conversation in America.  The President residing in the camp that argued for not exposing the Socialist nature of the belief system that underlies his legislative agenda and his political history.  The President, clearly capable of impressive rhetorical flourishes faces an acid test related to re-election.  Should actions not equate with rhetoric, the Presidents credibility will be damaged beyond repair with an electorate that desires a successful Presidency but remains wary of intent and motivation; skeptical of performance and results.

The Presidents rhetoric must be held accountable to the realities that exist in the moment.     

Cap And Trade, rejected in the last legislative session still lives within the bureaucracy.  CNSN reports that the Agriculture Department is teaching farmers how to take advantage of carbon markets that don’t exist as a result of legislations failure.

The President announced a review of regulation.  Review does not necessarily lead to revise.  The EPA accelerated its strategy of legislation by regulation, revoking existing mining licenses in West Virginia.  The FCC remains intent on control of the internet and a regulation based substitute for the legislative failure of the Fairness Doctrine.  The same manner of regulation and regulatory interpretation continues apace at the NLRB and SEC.   The $600 and above 1099 reporting requirement remains in force.  The IRS says they don’t even know what to do with the paperwork!  In a political career continually focused on more regulation the Presidents intent to “review” regulations is meaningless in the absence of concrete actions based on change and results.  Such “change” is no more difficult than Presidential executive orders.  Estimates put the cost of regulation at an equivalent level to the amount of annual tax receipts; $1.3 Trillion. 

Bill Daily as Chief of Staff does not alter the fact that the White House is replete with well documented, entrenched leftist influences from Cass Sunsteen to Carol Browner.  The changes at the top of the President’s staff will do little more than repackage a more palpable messaging strategy assuming those influences remain in place.   

The First Lady’s effort to create virtual Food Police continues unabated. 

There was no Presidential response to Rep. John Lewis’ contention that the phrase “Pursuit of Happiness” in the Declaration justifies a Federal mandate that Americans buy health care coverage.  This manner of  interpretation is classically leftist and ignores the Founder’s original intents.  One must assume that “Pursuit of Happiness” justifies anything and everything Mr. Lewis may consider as a step toward greater “happiness” as he defines it!  Presidential silence is deafening.

Despite a long history of fraud and mismanagement Fannie and Freddy continue to feed deficits and demonstrate no favorable impact on the housing market.  

For the State of the Union to have impact beyond the quality of the delivery the President must define a new context for his administration, if he is able.  The fact of the matter is that a  journey to the center is a fairly long road for this administration. 

Hillary, famously, declared that candidate Obama had little more than a “speech” in the context of the Iraq war.  He will need much more than that tomorrow evening.