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Massachusetts Liberal

Observations on politics, the media and life in Massachusetts and beyond from the left side of the road.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Game On

If George Bush's budget director is the best person Republicans have to counter Barack Obama than the State of the GOP is awful.

I admit opting for sleep over the verbal showdown and by all accounts watching the DC extravaganza would simply have sped up the process. But after a less-than-exhaustive review of online resources, it's obvious to conclude Obama has stepped back into the ring to rebut the months-long assault on his record by Republicans -- and who have offered him ample targets of opportunity.

The timing of Obama's call for a minimum 30 percent tax on Americans earning more than $1 million annually is clearly not coincidental. Nor is his rhetoric:
“You can call this class warfare all you want. Most Americans would call that common sense.”
The whole SOTU process has become political theater where opponents issue prebuttals as well as rebuttals, neither of which can respond to real time proposals. It is long on theatrics and campaign lines, short on specifics.

But for incumbents, the speech offers a clear shot at stating their best case -- and for Obama that means picking up the income equality banner raised by the Occupy movement.
"We need to change our tax code so that people like me, and an awful lot of members of Congress, pay our fair share of taxes. Washington should stop subsidizing millionaires. In fact, if you’re earning a million dollars a year, you shouldn’t get special tax subsidies or deductions.’’
It also calls for yet another lip-service acknowledgment that Americans are tired of the bickering and posturing that flows from Washington.
“What’s at stake are not Democratic values or Republican values, but American values. And we have to reclaim them.’’
And it also requires a call to action for progressives who have complained Obama hasn't gone far enough to carry the fight:
“As long as I’m president, I will work with anyone in this chamber to build on this momentum. But I intend to fight obstruction with action, and I will oppose any effort to return to the very same policies that brought on this economic crisis in the first place.’’
Obama was helped immeasurably -- even if it wasn't obvious to the average viewer -- by the squabbling GOP opting for Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels to deliver the formal rebuttal: the man who served as director of the Office of Management and Budget as George W. Bush squandered the surplus left by Bill Clinton and acceded to the mad policy of financing two wars on a credit card while cutting taxes on the 1 percent.

Ultimately, the speech was about Obama getting onto the field against the GOP assaults that have dragged down his favorability ratings. Whether it is salvaging the auto industry or starting the process of rationalizing our health care system -- not to mention the challenging prove the negative of preventing an even worse financial situation -- Obama has a solid record that he has failed miserably at trumpeting.

For a man who seems to be a better communicator as a candidate than as a leader, the stage is set for a two-sided battle. How Obama seizes this moment will go a long way to determine who takes the oath of office next January.

The bumbling GOP field has been heaven-sent, but it's time for Obama to state his own record clearly.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sadly most of the people would fail miserably if quizzed about the way our govt. works. The House creates the budget/spending gets approved by Pres. Clinton gets more credit for economic conditions beyond his control, just as Carter gets more blame than he should. Here's the scenario. Israel gets fed up with waiting, attacks Iran. Iran closes straits of Hormuz (mid August). Economy plunges again, worldwide deep recession, Mitt elected in a Reagan like landslide. Won't be Baracks fault but he'll be considered worse than Carter.

January 25, 2012 9:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


That's assuming Obama's administration doesn't use the chaos and concern to their advantage at all, which I have a hard time believing.

If that scenario goes through, who's your man to stick up to the Iranians that are screwing with our economic recovery? BO, who shot bin laden in the face and sent Seal Team 6 in to rescue American hostages minuets before his horrible, but self depeciating SOTU joke about milk?

Or Bain Capitals' Mitt Romney with zero foreign policy cred, and little economic policy cred?

I don't think we'd see GWB levels of pandering and fearmongering, but I'm pretty sure which candidate the American people would side with if Iran gets testy. Obama would make a strong case that then wasn't the time to switch ships, especially after looking at the GOP in congress. It would be a landslide.

The GOP might not be realizing it, but they've been slowly losing all credibility on forigh policy.

January 25, 2012 12:49 PM  

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