Now that future Presidents Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney have had their say, a person named Barack Obama, who claims to hold the office, will face TV cameras tonight with what purports to be a State of the Union address.
Fact-checking of Gingrich and Romney eliminates many of their more stimulating claims, reducing Mr. Obama to such boring proposals as refinancing for homeowners in trouble, tax breaks for companies that bring back jobs to the United States and clean energy incentives along with new education and job-training initiatives for high school graduates to get technical degrees.
All this will surely fail to excite the joint session of Congress, and one of them has announced he won’t be there. Staying away will be a Colorado House Republican, who last year told a reporter, “I don’t even want to have to be associated with him. It’s like touching a tar baby, and you get it--you know, you’re stuck, and you’re part of the problem now, and you can’t get away.”
The problem for those with a serious interest in the sticky state of the union is that they will have to go beyond the sound bites to evaluate Obama’s handling of the economy and read Ryan Lizza’s “The Obama Memos” in the New Yorker, an account of the “post-post partisan Presidency,” and go to Bill Moyers’ website for his interview about “crony capitalism” with David Stockman, a former proponent for Reagan’s trickle-down theory.
All this will involve more time and thought than election-year punch lines and leave behind a sour taste about politicians of all flavors, but these days boredom goes along with eternal vigilance as the price of liberty.