A Tale Of Two SOTUsObama fits the definition of insanity: doing the same thing over-and-over and expecting a different result. This idiotic impulse of Obama's to "find middle ground" means that he paints himself into his opponent's corner while they laugh all the way to the bank. Insane!
In 1982 Ronald Reagan gave his first State of the Union address. His approval rating was about the same as Barack Obama’s now. His economic track record was considerably worse: instead of presiding over the end of a recession, he had presided over the beginning of one, and the economy was in free fall. Nonetheless, Reagan mounted an unapologetic defense of his economic ideology, combined with a harsh critique of his precedecessors.
We haven’t heard Obama’s SOTU yet. But the big news seems to be the spending freeze. What I hear from bat-squeaks is that it’s not a big deal on economic substance, and that admin officials hope it will clear the way for some modest job-creation efforts. We’ll see about that. Rhetorically, however, Obama is clearly, conspicuously endorsing his opponents’ world-view — which will buy him precisely nothing in return.
I don’t think I’m going to watch the SOTU; all indications are that it will be deeply, deeply depressing.
Instead of just surmising the Obama will be a one term president, I'm now ardently hoping that he will be unseated by the Democrats in 2012 and a real progressive put in his place. Obama is destructive to the hopes & dreams of ordinary Americans (but a pleasant reassurance for the rich & powerful, not quite the wet dream that George Bush was, but a dream that the rich & powerful find very comforting).
Here's a bit more by Krugman in a posting on his NY Times blog that looks at the bad economics of Obama's SOTU:
A spending freeze? That’s the brilliant response of the Obama team to their first serious political setback?Yep... Obama wants to step back to the 1930s with the same screw-the-ordinary-people approach of Andrew Mellon, Hoover's Secretary of the Treasury. Obama seems only concerned with feathering the nests of Wall Street and the elites. There has been nothing substantive for the little guy beyond the idiocy of "pep rally speeches".
It’s appalling on every level.
It’s bad economics, depressing demand when the economy is still suffering from mass unemployment. Jonathan Zasloff writes that Obama seems to have decided to fire Tim Geithner and replace him with “the rotting corpse of Andrew Mellon” (Mellon was Herbert Hoover’s Treasury Secretary, who according to Hoover told him to “liquidate the workers, liquidate the farmers, purge the rottenness”.)
It’s bad long-run fiscal policy, shifting attention away from the essential need to reform health care and focusing on small change instead.
And it’s a betrayal of everything Obama’s supporters thought they were working for. Just like that, Obama has embraced and validated the Republican world-view — and more specifically, he has embraced the policy ideas of the man he defeated in 2008. A correspondent writes, “I feel like an idiot for supporting this guy.”
Now, I still cling to a fantasy: maybe, just possibly, Obama is going to tie his spending freeze to something that would actually help the economy, like an employment tax credit. (No, trivial tax breaks don’t count). There has, however, been no hint of anything like that in the reports so far. Right now, this looks like pure disaster.