Some further reflections on President Obama’s final State of the Union Address

By Dave Andrusko

And while White House aides were careful to avoid describing Tuesday’s speech as a victory lap, Obama planned to call attention to his administration’s successes, both during the last year and throughout his two terms in office – Associated Press

Democrats Wary of embracing Obama victoriesWashington Post

stateofunion88Tonight President Obama will deliver his final State of the Union address in which, according to the AP’s Josh Lederman, he will be “returning to the hopeful tenor of his two presidential campaigns.”

To unite the country? To help remove some of the bad taste? Hardly. Obama hopes to “give voice to themes that Democrats can embrace in their campaigns to replace him and win back control of Congress.”

Of course the President will also be using people as props to evidence his “successes,” specifically to represent those policy areas where he and Congressional Republicans have clashed most fervently.

Partisan and petty and unforgiving to the very end.

Two quick points about tonight’s address. The first is something we’ve written about since January 2009 just after the president was sworn into office.

According to the Post, “The president once hoped to find common ground with Republicans on the matter.” The “matter”—the particular issue—is not important.

Mr. Obama had a position and if Republicans did not agree, they were indulging in “political posturing.” Moreover, whatever the issue, the country always agreed with Mr. Obama—or so he said repeatedly—so if Republicans would not accept his position, he’d just issue an Executive Order.

Or, as was the case with the passage of ObamaCare, without a single Republican vote. If you recall, he succeeded by winning over a handful of gullible Democrats with sugarcoated promises of meaningless presidential executive orders. (ObamaCare was also sold on grounds that we could all keep our current health plans and a reduction in overall health expenditure, which was bogus then, and even more obviously so now.)

Second, tonight President Obama may or may not take what is, by his standards, the rhetorical high road. That will last a day or so. Once he hits the road (initially in Omaha and then in Baton Rouge), his natural instincts to demonize and mock his opponents will likely carry the day.

Final State of the Union addresses are, we’re told, about shaping legacies. My guess is that Mr. Obama will solidify a legacy of rarely ever finding a good thing to say about people who disagree with him.