He was going to bring “change” to Washington, but now he says the problem with health care is the way Washington works. He talked about bringing unity to the country and a new Gallup poll shows he has the most polarizing job approval rating of any first-year president. Remember the promise of an “open, transparent process” for the health care bill with negotiations shown on C-SPAN? Or how about when he chastised then-Sen. Clinton (D-New York) for the individual mandate in her health care proposal, saying, “You can mandate it, but there will still be people who can’t afford it. And if they can’t afford it, what are you going to do? Fine them? Are you going to garnish their wages?” Yes, like all the others, he was against it before he was for it.
We can keep going on and on. Even on the eve of this State of the Union address, he shows his stripes. We are told that he will propose a spending freeze. But he practically made fun of Sen. McCain (R-Arizona) in the presidential debates for suggesting the exact same thing. “Well,” he said, “The problem with a spending freeze is you’re using a hatchet where you need a scalpel.”
So if you want a prediction of what the President’s State of the Union address will be like, I can tell you that it will be beautifully written, inspiring, and challenging. The only problem is what you hear is probably not what he means.
Regardless, I hope we can all agree that we need more than rhetoric. President Obama will need to do more than write great speeches and read them from the teleprompter with a sincere face in order to regain the trust that Americans put in him when they voted for him.
Asymmetrical Politics: Republicans Act Like an Unruly Mob, Democrats Like a Regimented Army | Michael Barone