Obama will appear on Capitol Hill as a president who is virtually wiping out the space, never wide to begin with, between politicking and governing in the West Wing as Election Day nears. It is a strategy of necessity, Obama believes. He ran for president in 2008 decrying Washington’s climate of hyperpartisanship. Yet months of halting and mostly failed efforts in 2011 to craft bargains with Republicans on the budget leave the president, as his aides see it, with little choice but to make 2012 a year of drawing sharp contrasts with his rivals.
If there are deals to be cut, by this logic, they will come only if Obama wins a second term and greets a chastened opposition in 2013. In the meantime, nearly every aspect of daily life in his West Wing is influenced by a campaign mentality — never mind press secretary Jay Carney’s regular scolding of White House reporters to stop viewing everything the president does “through the prism of politics.”
Key watch words for your SOTU drinking game: "Millionaires and billionaires," and "fair share." For a pre-buttal of Obama's soak the rich rhetoric on the "Buffett Rule" (soon to be called the "Romney Rule"), I'll again direct you to Stephen Moore's Wall Street Journal piece from July, when this ploy was first attempted. Obama has also invited a young cancer survivor who now has health insurance thanks to Obamacare. We're all happy for the young man, of course, but emotional individual cases cannot justify the unwieldy, unaffordable, unworkable, promise-shattering, unpopular, unintended consequence-filled mess that has been visited upon the entire country. He'll give it the old college try, though. Hopefully he'll at least have the decency to trot out a heart-strings-pulling anecdote that isn't fabricated this time.
To recap, we'll hear about the brokenness of Washington (he'll be talking about Republicans, naturally, not the Senate Democrats who haven't done their job in 1,000 days), the scourge of wealth inequality, and the urgent necessity for more spending and "tax fairness" through "reform." During the interminable "inequality" wailing, remember that the so-called crisis has been wildly exaggerated by the Left, and that Americans are much more interested in economic growth and expanding opportunity than they are about equality of outcomes. And when Obama talks about tax "reform," he really means "tax increases." If he were interested in genuine reform, he wouldn't have instantaneously discarded his own fiscal commission's recommendations on the subject. He's getting pretty good at ignoring his own blue ribbon commissions, the very concept of which he once derided. As we await President Obama's pearls of post-post-partisan wisdom (click that link for a fascinating look at how hyper-political this White House has become), I'll leave you with the Republican National Committee's take on the state of play. This video highlights the missteps and egregious policy outcomes that the White House and Obama campaign -- which as Politico notes in the piece above, are virtually interchangeable at this point -- hope Americans will overlook in November:
Guy Benson is Townhall.com's Political Editor. Follow him on Twitter @guypbenson. He is co-authors with Mary Katharine Ham for their new book End of Discussion: How the Left's Outrage Industry Shuts Down Debate, Manipulates Voters, and Makes America Less Free (and Fun).
Author Photo credit: Jensen Sutta Photography