A lot has been said about how President Obama needs to move to the center by adopting a pro- business stance during Tuesday’s State of the Union (SOTU) address because that’s what he needs to do for reelection. The conventional wisdom from many pundits and politicians on the right and left says this shift is necessary is because of the message sent by the voters in November during the shellacking. Well, shockingly I will take a slightly different approach.
For the 1st quarter of his administration, the President enjoyed healthy majorities in the House and Senate that enabled him to pass the tough legislation including healthcare reform, financial regulation reform, DADT repeal, Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization, Stimulus 1, and Credit Card Protection Act to name just a few. Knowing that he was going to lose seats in both chambers and potentially one or both of his majorities, President Obama had to push through his progressive agenda while he could. What he didn’t push at all was the pro-union card check bill to make it easier for employees to unionize. Why? Because he never planned to because he knew that would not help business or the economic recovery. Instead the right made it a big red herring.
Those that say the President’s words during the 1st quarter often demonized businesses, especially Wall Street, were all indications of his anti-business socialistic leftist beliefs fail to grasp the notion that perhaps he was stoking the flames of the populace to help financial regulation pass and put the GOP on the wrong side of the argument. The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act will adversely impact bank earnings in the short term due to higher capital reserves. And regulations may impede some job growth in the financial sectors. But it’s the long term structural enhancements that will make banks healthier in the long term.
So what does President Obama say Tuesday night? For starters, he should avoid jumping on the bash Jay Cutler bandwagon. Seriously, here is a brief list:
1. Remind us that regulations are not job killing. We have witnessed the 8.5million impacts as a result of the lack of regulation.
2. Reinforce the benefits of the Affordable Care Act that are already and will soon be in effect.
3. Celebrate DADT repeal and how this country stands for all of its citizens.
4. Deficit reduction is important and that like all successful enterprises, pruning in one area and feeding another is not only common, but prudent.
5. Reinforce that deficit reduction must be done as a program not as a series unconnected random piecemeal decisions.
6. Highlight success stories in the heartland such as the auto industry recovery and strength of farm exports.
7. Remind us that capitalism is the greatest economic system, but that the capital markets (Wall Street) are to here to drive industrial innovation, not financial innovation.
8. Remind us of what he promised one year ago during the 2010 SOTU and click off what he delivered including many of the things listed above and START Treaty.
9. Call for tax reform to lower rates and eliminate loop holes.
10. Take a stand on an energy policy that includes off shore drilling WITH proper reforms, nuclear energy, SAFE natural gas exploration and drilling, and new technology development.
11. Sound hopeful. Inspire a shared vision where America returns to making things.
12. Share with us your successes with Europe, Russia, and China in dealing with Iran. Talk about how the START Treaty enables us to work with Russia and not against her.
13. Tell us not to fear a growing China. We have heard the threats of our imminent downfall at the hands of the Russians and Japanese before. And like those times rumors or our demise are premature.
14. Don’t talk about Social Security and Medicare. Let Paul Ryan and the GOP fire the first salvo there and you just counterpunch.
It’s a snap.