Never one to decline an opportunity to stand before the multitudes and exercise what could very well be his lone presidential skill, President Obama will be delivering his fifth consecutive State of the Union address on January 28th — and reading this AP article about the White House’s economic-messaging preparations is like having a threefold-strong episode of déjà vu (which, actually, the AP even acknowledges):
Ready to put an economic spotlight on his State of the Union address, President Barack Obama is picking up the pace of his jobs message and making a case that, even against a divided Congress, he can still be relevant to people struggling in the up-and-down recovery. …
On Tuesday, Obama is meeting with his Cabinet to discuss measures that can help the middle class. On Wednesday he will go to North Carolina to draw attention to industry steps to increase high-tech manufacturing. On Thursday he has invited college presidents to discuss ways to improve workers’ skills. Later this month, he is convening CEOs at the White House to lay out plans for hiring the long-term unemployed.
“The president will use every tool he can to create new jobs and opportunities for the middle class,” White House senior adviser Dan Pfeiffer writes…
The approach has strong echoes of Obama’s 2012 “We can’t wait” campaign that sought to depict Obama as an impatient executive in the face of inaction from Congress, particularly the Republican-controlled House.
Obama’s reliance on his executive powers and his bully pulpit — at the White House it’s called his “pen-and-phone” strategy — illustrates the means at his disposal but also highlights the limits of his ability to work with Congress.
Certainly sounds like it’s going to be yet another mind-numbing rerun of a speech we’ve already heard a zillion times before, no? I’m sure we can all look forward to the same tired excuses and platitudes about our still-“ongoing” recovery, and the “income inequality” (that has only worsened during his tenure of meager economic growth), and weaksauce, pandering ideas for executive actions that only amount to more top-down intervention and/or stimulus, and etcetera — all fraught with not-so-subtle undertones of a hapless, put-upon president unable to work with the spitefully obstructionist Congress with which the American people so ungraciously saddled him after the fully Democratic passage of his crowning legislative achievement. …So, get excited?