Before President Obama delivered the first State of the Union of his second term Tuesday, the ‘Real News‘ panel previewed what we expect to see brought up regarding jobs, Immigration reform and the environment. Obama has already drawn a line in the sand against Republicans following a year of campaigning on a populist economic agenda, and a second inaugural address taking a hard left–granted through broad brush strokes–on social issues and expanding the size of government. Will the speech Tuesday include specific policy proposals and believable signs for a second term agenda that matches the hope and unity of the president’s first campaign message? Or will it be a partisan battle-cry leaving little doubt for four more years of the same? TheBlaze TV’s pre-State of the Union address show Tuesday looked to answer some of these questions.
The president entered office with an unemployment rate at 7.8 percent that would peak at 10 percent in October 2009. Unemployment descended back to 7.8 in September 2012 (the first time below 8 percent in the Obama administration), and sits at 7.9 percent today. Exit polls from the 2012 election affirmed what has been clear to most over the past four years: improving the economy and fostering an environment that creates jobs is the issue of most importance to voters. While immigration and gun control have been leading the discussion in Washington thus far in 2013, White House officials have signaled the core of the State of the Union speech will focus on ways to spur the economy and job creation.
“It is our unfinished task to restore the basic bargain that built this country—the idea that if you work hard and meet your responsibilities, you can get ahead, no matter where you come from, what you look like, or who you love,” Obama is expected to say according to excerpts given to the media. “[N]othing I’m proposing tonight should increase our deficit by a single dime. It’s not a bigger government we need, but a smarter government that sets priorities and invests in broad-based growth.”
“Every day,” the excerpts indicate the president will say “we should ask ourselves three questions as a nation: How do we attract more jobs to our shores? How do we equip our people with the skills needed to do those jobs? And how do we make sure that hard work leads to a decent living?”
But can the president present answers other than questions? It’s expected that Obama will call for protecting and promoting more “investments” in research, education and job training to fix the problem, but will the president explain why these investments will work? Will he show the evidence that similar investments have been satisfactory? Will he say what he is doing to make sure our current investments in these fields are performing at their best? Will he improve and reform investments that do not recognize competition in the global economy?
A hot issue over the past month has been Immigration reform following the announcement of a bipartisan plan supported by a “Gang of Eight” senators, including the Republican responding to his remarks Tuesday; Florida Sen. Marco Rubio. Latino-Americans who are deeply concerned with Immigration reform were instrumental in Obama’s 2012 reelection. The president prefers a comprehensive package that includes a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants. Can the president make a case for his plan on both moral and economic grounds Tuesday?
Finally, after addressing the need for job creation, economic stability and Immigration reform, will Tuesday be the night Obama takes a hard line on climate change? A cap-and-trade bill that passed the House early in Obama’s first term quietly died in the Democrat-controlled Senate, and the president will reportedly focus term two environmental issues through the EPA to bypass Congress. Will the president reach out to business leaders to help win public approval in this fight? What plans does the president have on climate change and are they necessary?