The State of the Union seems to represent a bit of a box for the President. In almost every poll related to job approval and issue specific performance, the President is underwater. The unfavorable margin runs about 20 points, including health care, until you get to the deficit, which is underwater by nearly 40 points. The public at large has rejected his economic policies, his desire for gun control, his approach to Iran, economic policy and his desires for immigration reform. Can anything he says move the polling based on nearly six years of exposure to his ‘accomplishments”?
What’s a guy to do? It’s fairly clear the President has no intention of changing course in any dramatic way. It becomes increasingly clear that this President is driven by a nearly immovable ideological perspective that either disregards or ignores the will of the governed. He is, however, occasionally brilliant in making his true agenda sound, well …… almost rational. The President must face a point of context that rejects his beliefs and his agenda. Two thirds say, government is too big and yet the President hews to the belief that government is the answer. The most significant single issue where the President is gasping for breath is debt and deficits and yet he will demand another debt ceiling increase in February.
Elevating the minimum wage and ‘income inequality’ as the issues of the day are little more than stalking horses as Democrats look for something, anything to deflect attention from ObamaCare and the large majority of Americans who say we’re still in a recession. Apparently, If you like your recession you can keep your recession! Can a President rumored to be on the cusp of a $20 million book deal maintain credibility as we speaks of income inequality?
No doubt the rhetoric of the speech will satisfy supporters, a dwindling number at best. But where does the President go, what does he say to convince us that the State of the Union is strong. What does he say that argues effectively that we should stay the course for more regulation and the billions that come out of the U.S. economy in regulatory costs? Job losses continue, GDP growth is, at best, weak and confidence in his policies is at an all time low. Increasing numbers of Americans question his basic competence. They must all be racists!
How does the President make the case that he remains the answer to what ails us; perhaps a turn to foreign policy? A typical instinct when things are not going well on the home front. The Iran deal is laughable, he’s still taking incoming over Syria. Egypt, Britain, Russia, Israel and Saudi Arabia have castigated the President publically for ‘feckless’ policy decisions. Iraq, due in large measure to the absence of U.S. resources and a failure to negotiate within the structure of the Status of Forces Agreement is descending into sectarian chaos. Al Qaeda controls more territory now than at any time in their history. He may want to stay away from too rosy of a picture globally.
Underestimating the President’s rhetorical skills is a mistake. It may also be a mistake for him to overestimate his skills. There comes a time when the speeches simply don’t comport with reality and that is the critical jeopardy for a sinking Presidency. Should the President attempt to oversell what bright spots he will, no doubt, conjure up; his credibility will sink further and that further slide will essentially cement him where he is in the public view.
Let’s review: the economy is still in the doldrums, poverty at a modern high, dependency way up, debt and deficits nearly overwhelming. Foreign policy is positioning us as what UBL called the ‘weak horse’. Governance by regulation is costing billions with no complimentary benefits. The Military is being gutted of its warriors, the war on carbon fuels is on, the pipeline can’t get approved, enemies are held to public ridicule and the administration’s answer is to bring in John Podesta who wants more and more of that exact approach.
What’s a guy to do? Guess we’ll find out.