President Obama will deliver the State of the Union address to Congress
on Wednesday evening. Mandated by the Constitution, the address is a major event in any year. But with Obama facing
serious challenges in health care and the economy--not to mention grim-looking November 2010 election prospects for
his party--this State of the Union is particularly important. Many commentators are
offering their advice on what Obama should say to make a crucial speech count.
- Set Concrete, Achievable Policy Goals The Guardian's Michael Tomasky says
now is not the time for lofty rhetoric or abstractions. "It's about the
reality he is in, and how he is going to respond to it.
This speech won't be judged on the basis of the capital-V Vision, but
on the clarity of eyesight about very concrete things." Obama should
explain exactly how he will approach health care, the economy, and the
gridlock in Congress.
Recapture Big-Picture Ambitions of 2008 In Slate, Eliot Spitzer warns Obama against giving in to short-term poll fluctuations. "It would be grievous error for the president to abandon the broad
reform agenda that brought him to the White House in exchange for
small-bore reforms that could muster the appearance of bipartisan
support. The changes we now need in financial services, health care,
and education are still fundamental."
- End Don't Ask, Don't Tell Politico's Ben Smith points out
that ending "don't ask, don't tell," the controversial Clinton-era
policy of booting gay servicemen and women from the military, "has the
benefit not just of being free, but of saving money." Reports have
indicates that the program can cost between $20-30 million per year.
- If You Address One Foreign Policy Topic... Council of Foreign Relations President Richard Haass says
it should be Iran. He concedes domestic issues will dominate, but if
Obama makes time for one foreign topic, it shouldn't be the wars in
Iraq and Afghanistan. "Iran will prove to be the most compelling
foreign policy issue of 2010," he says. "The administration has to be
careful. It has to be smart. But I do think there's a case for
supporting the opposition."
- Um, Pass Health Care? Liberal blogger Joe Sudbay reminds
the president about that whole health care thing. Sudbay says a push
from Obama would demonstrate that he cares about making this happen.
"Not too long ago the White House was planning to make the State of the
Union a victory speech on health care. Not anymore. The content isn't
the only thing that matters in this speech. We need to see a President
- Sing Coldplay Songs That's the actual suggestion by National Review writer Iain Murray at his Freedom Action blog. As of this writing, the National Review has offered no other ideas.
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