Obama shows mixed results in delivering on State of the Union promises

20 Jan 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Just another Obama speech.

Facing Republican majorities in both Houses of Congress for the first time in his presidency, U.S. Two weeks after the Paris terrorism attacks, in the opening days of a new Congress where Republicans control both chambers and are moving to reshape domestic policy, why has the White House used the lead-up to President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address to promote his post-speech interviews with luminaries such as Bethany Mota, a 19-year-old YouTube celebrity who became famous for showing strangers her fashion and beauty buys online? The biggest proposals that he will present to Congress and the country will be non-starters with the newly-minted Republican Congress whose support Obama will need to pass legislation. The President wants to impose more than $320-billion (U.S.) in new taxes on the nation’s richest over the next decade and spend it on cuts and credits for the working middle class whose incomes have declined despite the economic recovery during Mr. Taxes that target the wealthy and a plan to assist students with two years of tuition-free community college will be particularly DOA with both chambers controlled by the GOP. “Proposing a tax hike to a Republican House and Senate is a non-starter,” Mary Kate Cary, who wrote speeches for President George H.W.

Reports of its demise, to paraphrase Mark Twain, have been “greatly exaggerated.” Start with the idea that “only” thirty million people will watch it. Bush, told The Daily Beast. “There are so many other proposals [Obama] could have started with instead—what a wasted opportunity to reach across the aisle and secure a better legacy for himself.” For the president, there aren’t many options left.

Republicans will be polite and clap when necessary, and they will try not to disrupt things by yelling out in the middle of his speech, as infamously occurred when Obama spoke to a joint session of Congress about health care in 2009. He’ll rehash executive actions he’s announced the past two weeks, boast of economic progress and talk about building on it, get as many standing ovations going as he can. It is partly a reflection of the political truism that Americans care a lot more about what a new president has to say than a president deep into his second term, unless war or impeachment is on the table. They say there’s very little chance it will change their agenda, and on Wednesday they’re getting back to business by pushing the bills they want to.

The president has been leaking dribs and drabs of this year’s “information” for days, and some of the dribs and drabs would be enough to frighten ghosts and scare goblins out of their sepulchers if anyone took any of it seriously, but no one does. In fact, GOP lawmakers are already complaining what they won’t hear in the president’s speech — or what they think they won’t hear — and dusting off the “Obama had a real chance to reach out today but didn’t” line. Tripling child-care credits, subsidizing college education and creating retirement schemes for the middle class will play well with the President’s Democratic base but were widely dismissed by Republicans. “The President needs to stop listening to his liberal allies who want to raise taxes at all costs and start working with Congress to fix our broken tax code,” said Senator Orrin Hatch, the Republican who chairs the finance committee and, as such, will head any wide-ranging tax-reform process. Pfeiffer returned a sheepish smile, as if to say he had not come to town on the turnip truck, but the president is indeed real, and so is his tax riot.

Obama and his aides know that the success of his last two years depends on whether he can avoid looking irrelevant even as the political energy moves to 2016. The approach also reflects the shifting media landscape, in which Americans, especially younger ones, get information less in big chunks from centralized sources and more in fragments from social media and non-traditional news sources. “The mainstream media still matters a great deal, but you can’t just do that anymore,” said White House communications director Jennifer Palmieri. “You have to work harder to reach a larger audience. They’re feeling optimistic about that inside the West Wing, confident (and a little surprised) that they’ve kept the momentum going from the president’s strong finish last year.

That he says, ‘I want to work with you’ and try to get this country going forward from a legislative position, that’s what he’s looking for.” McCarthy added: “The president seems like he wants nothing to happen. The speeches are nearly always forgettable, unless there’s someone brave enough in the audience to tell the president “you lie!” as a South Carolina Republican congressman told Mr. I think he should really study history and watch what [former President Bill] Clinton did during the same period of his presidency.” “What I hope to hear, and won’t hear, is an in-depth discussion of ISIS and the threat of radical Islam, and a strategy for countering it,” added Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), referring to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, also known as ISIS. “Apparently, this administration is still in denial that it is a threat,” said McCain, chairman of the Armed Services Committee and a huge critic of Obama’s Mideast policy. “They keep avoiding the word ‘war.’ They keep avoiding ‘the war on terror.’ And he keeps clinging to this mantra that Osama bin Laden is dead and Al Qaeda is decimated.” Indeed, in the run-up to Tuesday’s address, Obama and the GOP Congress have been charting wildly divergent paths that portend a contentious two years ahead. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito, after listening to President Obama insert a long diatribe against the court’s Citizens United decision, predicting it would inundate Kansas in a tidal wave and put Mars and Venus on a collision course, was caught on camera mouthing the words: “Not true.” George W.

He’s one of the most talented political performers around, but he’s consistently susceptible to a crowd, soaring in front of a rally of cheering supporters, often flat when pinned behind a podium. Republicans don’t appear any more likely to embrace Democratic priorities—including paid family leave, minimum-wage increases, or plans to make wealthy Americans and businesses pay more taxes—now than when the GOP only controlled the House of Representatives.

Thune contrasted the current toxic climate with when he was a Capitol Hill staffer in the 1980s, describing President Ronald Reagan’s White House working with key Congressional leaders, sending back and forth different proposals. “The White House and the president have expressed interest, rhetorically… but when push comes to shove, really engaging with the Congress, we haven’t seen that,” Thune said. The president and speechwriter Cody Keenan began work on Obama’s speech in December while en route to Hawaii, where the Obama family takes an annual vacation. Bill Clinton promised in 2000 that “the era of big government is over,” and Richard Nixon pronounced the Watergate scandal over in 1973. “One year of Watergate is enough.” Enough for him, no doubt.

While unemployment has continued to fall – in 2014, the U.S. added the most jobs since 2009 and the year-end jobless rate of 5.6 per cent was the lowest since Mr. Bush, said that Clinton’s second-to-last SOTU focused on big issues where parties could find common ground: the federal budget surplus, welfare reform—even solving the Y2K problem. But it also means, Waldman said, that Obama could keep the speech from getting bogged down in quibbling concessions to Hill Democrats that he’s always wanted to look past anyway. Aides said the speech will hew to tradition in the sense that Obama will address Congress, mix domestic and foreign policy proposals, and mix initiatives that require Congress’ action and those he will pursue through executive power.

Polls show Americans agree with him that there’s been improvement overall, even if they believe that’s due more to lower gas prices than any greater sense of macroeconomic trends. And with a bipartisan group of senators eyeing a new Iran sanctions bill, Obama warned that he would veto the measure, saying it would jeopardize super-sensitive multilateral talks with the Iranian government over its nuclear program. “I expect a laundry list that extends further than he’s ever done in a speech that lasts longer than the last,” said Sen. In the context of the kind of divided government we have today, big proposals requiring Congressional cooperation may ring hollow,” Fitzpatrick said. “But it doesn’t mean the speech itself is devoid of meaning or significance.” Polk set off the great California Gold Rush in 1848 with the word that “an abundance of gold” had been discovered at Sutter’s Mill “that would scarcely command belief.” There went the neighborhood, and eventually San Francisco would be painted a deep shade of lavender.

Obama will use the speech to tout a series of tax measures aimed at helping middle-class families by providing new tax credits for child care benefits, college tuition and retirement savings, paid for by closing tax loopholes used by the wealthy. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who has long slammed Obama for not reaching out enough to Republicans in Congress, said he hopes “Tuesday can be a new day.” “This can be the moment the president pivots to a positive posture,” McConnell said on the Senate floor Friday. “This can be the day he promotes serious, realistic reforms that focus on economic growth and don’t just spend money we don’t have. Except for Jimmy Carter, who sent his written speech to Congress in 1981, presidents have thought that “speaking from the throne” sounded about right. His unilateral moves late last year to halt deportations and force Republicans’ hand on immigration reform, tackle climate change in partnership with China, and move toward normalizing relations with Cuba already have signaled his increased willingness to move on foreign policy without Congress in the final stretch of his presidency.

Obama can get fast-track authority from the Republican majority in Congress, it will boost prospects for far-ranging trade deals with Europe and Asia. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), the chairman and ranking member of the powerful Senate Finance Committee, have created a number of bipartisan “tax reform working groups” they hope can spur movement on the issue.

And I’ll call on this new Congress to join me in putting aside the political games and finding areas where we agree so we can deliver for the American people.” That will be a tough sell, to say the least. Distinctions all, but through the years the speeches have grown from dull to duller, leaving it to the likes of Joe Wilson and Samuel Alito to keep the audience awake. In Afghanistan, the longest war in U.S. history may not be over. “For more than 13 years, ever since nearly 3,000 innocent lives were taken from us on 9/11, our nation has been at war in Afghanistan,” Mr.

Obama’s aiming to depict Republicans as protecting unearned wealth, the top one-tenth of 1 percent, highly leveraged banks and what they’re calling the “trust fund loophole.” In other words: Republicans are still here too, Obama will be trying to say, but Americans should see the GOP as defending the wrong people when they’re standing in his way. However, the Pentagon has already asked for an increase in troops assigned to Afghanistan in 2015 and the summer Taliban offensive may demonstrate that Afghan security forces are not yet capable of defending the nation on their own. Maybe that’s why the president chose to post a video preview of the speech on the site. “You never get completely used to it,” Obama said in a teaser for the speech uploaded to YouTube and WhiteHouse.gov on Monday. “The Sergeant-at-Arms announces you and you are walking down that aisle.

Republicans want to move quickly on a proposal known as Trade Promotion Authority, which allows Congress to quickly vote up or down on trade deals negotiated by the administration. You’re reminded of the incredible privilege you have in being president.” As for the three people who will interview the president: Green and his brother John launched the online video conference VidCon and the Project for Awesome and have more than 7 million subscribers across several sites. Doing so could pave the way for approval of a sweeping deal known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership that the administration is negotiating with 11 other countries. The latest Washington Post-ABC New Poll, published Monday, put the President’s approval rating at 50 per cent, up nine points since last month and the highest since last spring.

GloZell is YouTube’s most-followed black creator and has ties to two key political constituencies: teachers (she is the daughter of one) and veterans (she is married to one). After last year’s jittery succession of crises, from Ebola to Ferguson, the public could use some reminding that things are actually getting better. Ken Vogel in Politico reported the top 100 donors to political committees in the 2014 election gave almost as much as 4.75 million small donors combined.

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