Realities behind the coming State of the Union address

It’s January, which means it’s nearly time for the State of the Union address. President Obama has delivered two of these speeches, and details are already emerging about the content of his third.

Among other topics, the speech will provide a “blueprint for the economy that’s built to last,” Democratic sources said. It will focus on manufacturing, energy, education and middle-class values, according to a campaign video released by the Obama administration and later reported by CNN.

On paper, this all sounds very warm and fuzzy, does it not?

Now, take a step back.

Former President Bush, whose administration is often chastised for the economic crash of 2008, saw the national debt increase by $4.9 trillion over his eight years in the White House, said Mark Knoller of CBS News.

In Obama’s first three and a half years as president, the national debt has gone up $4 trillion.

This is, of course, because President Obama has famously undergone a Keynesian economic strategy, which demands that governments invest in infrastructure to create demand. Need I mention the passing of his stimulus bill?

However the debt has gone up $4 trillion, and the rate of unemployment continued to increase until it peaked at around 10 percent, only recently showing a decline just below nine percent.

What does this tell us?

The recession was one of the worst in U.S. history, and America’s economic recovery has been moving at an incessantly lethargic pace.

In essence, the very economic recovery plan that President Obama is supporting is the very same program that has kept America’s economy in the proverbial toilet.

The Obama administration continues to march on, preaching “middle-class values” and “energy” at the general public, who continue to list the economy and the deficit as their two primary political concerns, according to a Gallup poll in March 2011.

So how does President Obama nail this State of the Union address?

If I were the president in this situation, I would do several things.

First, I would focus on foreign policy. Osama bin Laden, America’s former No. 1 terrorist enemy, was killed under the Obama administration. This was a victory in our War on Terror.

I’d also highlight Iran and their threat to block the Strait of Hormuz — anything to distract America from the realities of its fiscal circumstances.

Next, I would highlight the recent improvements in the economy, while ignoring its pitfalls. Things are still very bad, despite sluggish economic improvements.

Lastly, I would pick several gooey domestic issues to focus on such as education, clean energy and health care. I’d reaffirm my commitment to each of their struggles and encourage my “do-nothing Congress” to tackle these issues with me.

So, if President Obama wants to land this State of the Union, he must distract Americans from the economy, turn the tables on the GOP by labeling them as counterproductive and highlight several domestic and foreign policy issues that need revision and attention.

Hopefully, Americans will have U.S. economic statistics in front of them as they watch.

 

Reach this columnist at spmccaul@asu.edu