The content of President Barack Obama’s State of the Union speech Tuesday night will determine whether he hopes to accomplish anything the rest of his term in the White House or just be a seat-warmer-in-chief.
His job approval rating is low, which is fairly common for a second-term president. Obama is expected to try to energize people by talking about the worsening income disparity in the United States. Obama could call for meaningful training and a jobs program for low- and no-income urban workers.
He could propose immediate climate change reduction measures. Obama could call for a hefty tax increase on the wealthy.
He also could talk about increasing the minimum wage to $15 an hour, instituting an all-day, universal preschool and extending jobless benefits for the long-term unemployed.
Any of that stuff would be good. However, it would amount to worthless chatter in a State of the Union message unless Obama is able to get Congress behind him.
That’s unlikely with mid-term elections in the fall and Republicans hoping to take back the Senate and increase their margin in the House. Their plan is to do it by making Obama look bad.
GOP lawmakers are intent on dead-ending Obama’s efforts at meaningful legislation. Obama’s last three years could seem like an eternity — for him and the country.