From today’s edition of Morning Jolt – coming to your e-mailbox soon, if it’s not there already:
SOTU: Same Old Teleprompter Utterances
Usually, the State of the Union is a big deal, but we’ve got a president who seems to give big prime-time speeches more frequently than CTU offices change their directors. Besides that, the political world had its earthquake last week, with Scott Brown winning Massachusetts and the reverberating impact of that (the return of the filibuster, the end of Obamacare as we know it, the retirements, the rain of frogs falling on DNC headquarters); this is just presidential post-game commentary to a genuine surprise.
The state of the union is obvious today; pretty lousy. A more open question is the state of Obama, and how Obama responds to the fact that he doesn’t have the momentum anymore and that Americans are evenly-split or worse on his ideas. And I have feeling we already know the answer to this question; we heard Obama dismissing Bill Clinton on the campaign trail in 2008, arguing that he was not the “transformative” president that Reagan was. “I think Ronald Reagan changed the trajectory of America in a way that Richard Nixon did not and in a way that Bill Clinton did not.” Obama probably sees the post-1994 Clinton presidency as a sellout, a compromise, a waste of the presidency. Couple this with his recent comment that he would rather be “great one-term president” than a “mediocre two-term president”, we can see the psychological groundwork being laid for a 2012 defeat. Obama won’t tack to the middle to save a second term; he’ll pursue his vision, and hope that the electorate that bought what he was selling in 2008 learns to like it.