Open thread: Obama deficit speech

At 1 pm, Barack Obama will give a major address on deficit reduction, entitlement reform, and according to the latest trial balloons coming from the administration, tax hikes on the wealthy.  Consider this Take 2 on the budget; Obama trashed his deficit commission earlier this year to deliver a business-as-usual, high-spending FY2012 budget proposal to Congress, which may have helped contribute to a slide in his polling.  Now that Paul Ryan and John Boehner have taken the initiative on major structural reform of spending in Washington, Obama feels the need to finally demonstrate his relevance, apparently ready to abandon the “above the fray” strategy that the White House touted exactly one month ago.

Getting into the fray might be pretty ugly, the Washington Post reports today, as cuts to services wasn’t the change his supporters thought they were getting:

Adam Barr was a die-hard Barack Obama supporter.

He leapt aboard the campaign in 2007, founding the group D.C. for Obama, which says it carpooled thousands of volunteers into Virginia for the crucial final stretch of the general election. He even worked briefly on Obama’s staff as a campaign field organizer.

D.C. for Obama had just scheduled its first meeting for later this month to kick off its 2012 reelection plans. But then came last week’s budget deal, with Obama negotiating away the District’s right to use its own money to fund abortions for poor women.

Now, Barr, 29, has put the meeting on hold. And D.C. for Obama has turned its attention to a new and rather awkward cause: criticizing Obama.

Perry Bacon asks five questions that Obama needs to answer in his speech:

  • Will Obama be specific, or stick to generalities?
  • Will Social Security be included?
  • Will Obama set a timetable for reform?
  • What will the tax increases be?
  • Will Obama embrace any of the Republican ideas — presumably the Ryan proposal — in order to be bipartisan?

My guess at the answers will be no specifics, no, no, class-warfare tax hikes, and, er, no.  On the final question, embracing the Simpson-Bowles plan after dumping it as a conversation piece in February will be as “bipartisan” as Obama gets.  We’ll see soon enough.