On "Fox News Sunday" last weekend, White House senior aide Dan Pfieffer fell back on his boss's old reliable explanation for why the nation's economy is still in such bad shape after five years and multiple billions of dollars worth of Obamanomics: “It's important to remember this president inherited the worst economic situation since the Great Depression.” Host Chris Wallace shot back: “But you talk about restoring opportunity. Median household income is down. Labor force participation is down. Food stamps are up. Poverty rate is up. If things are so great, how come they are so lousy?”
With that question, Wallace captured the nub of the president's challenge when he delivers his State of the Union address tonight: He's had five years to fix the economy -- but for most Americans, it's still not fixed, and the excuse from the guy in the Oval Office just doesn't wash anymore. It doesn't help, either, that Obama is being linked on other national issues with failure and scandal. Obamacare is a political nightmare for the president and his party that promises to worsen as the November elections draw near. It's also become obvious to anybody willing to face the facts that the Obama national security team manufactured a lie in an attempt to avoid accountability for failing to protect the four Americans who died in the Benghazi attack in 2012. Obamacare and Benghazi are only the most prominent items on a steadily lengthening list of negatives.
|Obama could just as well talk about the price of Alpaca meat in Peru.|
So how does the president plan to respond to his plight tonight? He's going to double down on tactics that put him there in the first place. Expect the chief executive, for example, to hector Congressional Republicans as obstructionists and to vow to use his “pen and a phone” to go around Congress. Expect him also to repeat his recent summons to the nation to follow him down an Obamacare-esque ideological rabbit hole called “income inequality.” In other words, Obama is going keep talking mainly to the same people with whom he's spent most of his political life conversing, the radical-Left wing of the Democratic Party.
Most Americans, however, think the economy and job creation should be the top priority of the president -- and of Congress. As was noted in this space on Jan. 24, only 13 percent of the public view income inequality as the most important problem facing America, according to the latest Fox News public opinion survey. But for Obama, measures to combat income inequality are the “defining issue” of his second term. He could just as well talk about the price of Alpaca meat in Peru.
The president would be better advised to use his pen to reverse the flood of costly new bureaucratic regulations with which his administration is suffocating the economy. Just since Jan. 1, federal bureaucrats have added 4,264 new pages of regulations to the 80,000-plus they created in 2013. Announce that tonight, and Americans might again pay attention to presidents giving State of the Union speeches.