President Obama did his best tonight to make Americans forget what happened just a few months ago at the November midterm election.
He sounded like the man at the head of the party that just won control of the House and Senate, not lost it in spectacular fashion.
To be fair, across the board, the economic climate in this country has dramatically improved over the President’s time in office. We are creating jobs at the fastest pace since 1999, the unemployment rate is lower than before the financial crisis, more Americans are insured than ever before and we are not dependent on foreign oil for the first time in 30 years.
This was the first time that President Obama has been so explicit in touting America’s economic recovery. Indeed, this was the first time that I have heard a cohesive economic message from the President and it certainly would have benefitted the Democrats in the midterms if he had been as clear and specific about his economic agenda.
That said, while the President does have a genuine degree of deserved credibility in the economic sphere, a speech laden with veto threats hardly seems in step with the promises he made after the midterms to work with Mitch McConnell and John Boehner in shaping a bipartisan agenda for the future of America.
For the first 45 minutes of the President’s speech, he only mentioned compromise with Republicans on issues relating to tax policy and infrastructure. There were no proposals to find common ground on immigration reform, healthcare reform or how we can reduce our debt, deficit and balance the budget.
Over the past few days, the administration has been touting their new proposed tax hike on the wealthy, honing in on capital gains taxes. If it goes through – which I don’t believe that it will – it will raise tremendous revenue, but the President hasn’t offered any spending cuts in exchange.
We know that Americans want compromise on this issue. I have polled this myself and found that overwhelming majorities of the electorate wants a balance between spending cuts and tax increases and that they want sensible entitlement reform that will ensure we have Medicare and Social Security for generations to come.