President Obama will outline an agenda for “winning the future” in his State of the Union address on Tuesday night, striking a theme of national unity and renewal as he stresses the need for government spending in key areas and an attack on the budget deficit.Memo to the Times: So-called "progressives" aren't centrists. They're leftwingers. But you already know that.
Mr. Obama previewed the themes in a video e-mailed Saturday evening to supporters who had helped in his election campaign. But the video made plain that his speech would be geared more broadly toward the political center, to independent voters and business owners and executives alienated by the expansion of government and the partisan legislative fights of the past two years.
“My No. 1 focus,” he said, “is going to be making sure that we are competitive, and we are creating jobs not just now but well into the future.”
“These are big challenges that are in front of us,” Mr. Obama also said in the video, sent to members of Organizing for America, his network of supporters from the 2008 campaign. “But we’re up to it, as long as we come together as a people — Republicans, Democrats, independents — as long as we focus on what binds us together as a people, as long as we’re willing to find common ground even as we’re having some very vigorous debates.”
The annual address on Tuesday, with much of the nation watching, will pull together themes suggested by Mr. Obama over the past two months as he has moved rapidly since the midterm elections to retool his presidency.
In his speeches, policy choices and personnel appointments, Mr. Obama has signaled that after two years in which his response to the economic crisis and his push for passage of the health care bill defined him to many voters as a big-government liberal, he is seeking to recast himself as a more business-friendly, pragmatic progressive.
Sane folks aren't buying this claptrap.
How can a president subtly distance himself from the macabre and revolting behavior of his left-wing base while simultaneously editorializing on unhinged invective in general (e.g., without an embarrassing extreme, there is no occasion to call for moderation from others)?
Why did five days of presidential silence follow the shootings (so unlike instant editorializing about the Mutallab and Hasan incidents), when the likes of Paul Krugman, Frank Rich, Andrew Sullivan, Sheriff Dupnik, and the New York Times rushed in to scavenge political capital amid the carnage? All that might have been bridled with a brief word or two from the White House, a brief Sister Souljah moment admonition to the New York Times to cool it for a while. We know that would have worked, because the Times within hours after the successful Obama speech was calling to cool what it had helped arouse, apparently realizing that its demonization and its refutation of demonization hand-in-glove were politically useful.
And why not some therapeutic confessional of past (and in many cases quite recent) presidential culpability (e.g., the president’s own metaphorical use of knives, guns, enemies, punishing, kicking ass, relegation to backseat, get angry, getting in their face, hostage takers, trigger fingers, tearing up)?