"First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win." -- Mahatma Gandhi

“State Of The Union? More Like State Of The Campaign”

January 25th, 2012 by mopns · No Comments

The Wall Street Journal summed up last night’s speech from the president pretty well in an editorial today: “President Obama delivered a State of the Union address Tuesday night that by the account of his own advisers is more campaign document than a plan for governing. He’s running against Republicans in Congress, Reaganomics, wealthy bankers and inequality. Normally a President at the start of his fourth year would be running on his record, accentuating the legislation he’s passed. Mr. Obama can’t do that with any specificity because the economic recovery has been so weak and the legislation he has passed is so unpopular.”

Certainly Americans look with a skeptical eye on claims from President Obama about a recovery. The president said, “In the last 22 months, businesses have created more than three million jobs.  Last year, they created the most jobs since 2005.  American manufacturers are hiring again, creating jobs for the first time since the late 1990s.” But the fact is that fewer Americans are working today than when President Obama took office in January 2009. Over 13 million Americans are currently unemployed, and the unemployment rate is still over 8%. In addition, long-term unemployment has more than doubled during President Obama’s time in office.

Americans are keenly aware of this reality. According to a new Gallup survey, “Americans’ worries about maintaining their standard of living (51%), or being able to pay medical bills (43%) or losing their job (34%) in the next 12 months are among the highest Gallup has measured in the past 20 years, on par with the levels seen in 1991 and 1992.”

And yet, the overwhelming impression of the State of the Union address was that it was more about President Obama’s job than jobs for Americans. The New York Times headlined a story by John Harwood, “State of the Union? More Like State of the Campaign.” Harwood writes, “Mr. Obama has shifted into full-bore campaigning.” He told MSNBC’s Chuck Todd this morning, “[The president] didn’t just dip into campaign speech; he was swimming in it the whole night. Look, that was a campaign speech.” NBC’s David Gregory agreed last night, saying, “This was his pitch for re-election.” ABC’s Rick Klein tweeted, “Very clearly this was a political blueprint . . . .” The Washington Post pointed out, “Adding to the notion that the State of the Union address was, in effect, a campaign speech, Obama departs Wednesday morning on a three-day swing to five competitive states . . . .” The Hill observed, “The address has been dubbed as the president’s first major stump speech of the year . . . .” And even liberal columnist E.J. Dionne wrote, “Much will be made, and properly so, of President Obama’s State of the Union address as a campaign message . . .”

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