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State of the Union or State of Denial?

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Posted on January 27 2010 2:30 pm

Will President Obama attempt to split the baby again in Wednesday night’s State of the Union Address?

We’ve watched President Obama for a year now, and it’s clear that he attempts to head fake right while making a hard left. On the basketball court, the President’s friends say that the left-handed Obama “can’t go right”. This is basketball parlance for the inability to drive to the basket using a right-handed dribble, but is it really a metaphor for Obama’s Presidency?

Candidate Obama said that John McCain’s proposed spending freeze was using a hatchet when we need to use a scalpel. Now, Obama is apparently ready to announce his adoption of McCain’s plan in his State of the Union Address. However, raising spending by nearly 20% and then freezing it there can hardly be considered a deficit reducing maneuver.

It’s all about the optics. It’s not important that the deficit is actually cut if it “appears” the deficit is being cut. Again, the President is banking heavily upon the inability of average Americans to see through his self-proclaimed charm and a bit of nuance. I’m not sure that’s such a safe bet any longer, especially with the all-important Independents who are largely fiscal conservatives.

And what was the message of Massachusetts? The president declared to George Stephanopoulos that the same anger that swept Scott Brown into office swept him into office. This past Sunday on Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace (video below), White House spokesman Robert Gibbs virtually spun himself into a hole trying to claim that the Massachusetts election was actually a vindication of Obama’s policies.

After the Massachusetts wake-up call Obama chose to double down, and hunker in. If you don’t believe this, just note the recent re-hiring of campaign manager David Plouffe. As soon as Plouffe was re-introduced he hit the Washington Post with an op-ed piece exhorting Democrats to ram Health Care Reform through and get tougher. In essence, Plouffe wants the White House to double down on the Alinsky tactics.

Beyond the optics and the spin, there is the narcissism of this President. Recently, Democrat Representative Marion Berry made the claim that during a meeting with the President, Berry was assured that 2010 would not result in the dramatic loss of seats that had occurred in 1994 as Obama told the group,

‘Well, the big difference here and in ’94 [is] you’ve got me.’

In 1994 Bill Clinton, with help from adviser Dick Morris, made his famous triangulation towards the center and was easily re-elected in 1996. Obama still has large majorities in both Houses of Congress and is not likely to feel the need to triangulate. Instead, he’ll probably try to placate Independents with talk of fiscal responsibility and bipartisanship, and maybe even some tough talk on terror, but any real movement towards the center is doubtful.

So don’t expect a proclamation that the era of Big Government is over. Don’t expect any pivots or triangulation. Instead, expect a head fake right, and a hard drive to the Left.

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