Make no mistake. President Obama’s State of the Union Speech was only about his 2012 re-election campaign. Remember when Mr. Obama told Democrats at their 2004 convention that there was no “black America” or “white America” but only a “United States of America?” That is a moment Democrats were looking to re-capture for the president on Tuesday evening.
His 2008 campaign was full of platitudes and strategies that would confuse many as to where he truly stood on the issues. Is it any surprise that the health care issue of 2010 defined the president as a socialist or at least very liberal in many Americans’ minds? The White House wants control of what defines the president, and they won’t allow the tea party to do it. In his speech last night, Mr. Obama told Congress he would be willing to work with lawmakers to “correct” measures in the healthcare law, giving an illusion to Americans that major reform is being made:
“Now, I’ve heard rumors that a few of you have some concerns about the new health care law. So let me be the first to say that anything can be improved. If you have ideas about how to improve this law by making care better or more affordable, I am eager to work with you. We can start right now by correcting a flaw in the legislation that has placed an unnecessary bookkeeping burden on small businesses.”
However, the president does not want to spend too much time on the health care law either. He knows very well it is indeed a loser for the Democrats, and the more time it is fought out in the Senate, the more frustrated the American people will become over the health care law itself:
“What I’m not willing to do is go back to the days when insurance companies could deny someone coverage because of a pre-existing condition. I’m not willing to tell James Howard, a brain cancer patient from Texas, that his treatment might not be covered. I’m not willing to tell Jim Houser, a small business owner from Oregon, that he has to go back to paying $5,000 more to cover his employees. As we speak, this law is making prescription drugs cheaper for seniors and giving uninsured students a chance to stay on their parents’ coverage. So instead of re-fighting the battles of the last two years, let’s fix what needs fixing and move forward.”
Over two million private sector job losses to date, President Obama is off to Wisconsin today and will discuss job creation. How he plans to sell a viable solution remains a mystery, but it should be remembered that the unemployment rate is now at 9.4 percent and the administration has not kept unemployment under 8.5 percent, as it promised it would. The White House believed the stimulus package would actually keep unemployment lower.
In 2008, Mr. Obama had little of a record and a background that media wanted to look into. Today, President Obama is running away from the legislative disaster known as not just health care reform but also other liberal bills that crossed his desk these past few years.