Obama's State of the Union Failed

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Aside from pushing for an extension of the payroll tax cut and the need to curb insider trading by members of Congress, President Obama failed to articulate a significant governance agenda for himself or Congress in his third State of the Union address.

[Obama Uses State of the Union Speech to Rebuff GOP Attacks.]

Instead, President Obama, over the course of 65 minutes, proffered a populist campaign message focused on taxing the rich to grow the government on the pretense that this will create jobs and provide a larger safety net. The president's address provided a preview of a stump speech predicated on running against Congress and Wall Street by applying small ball gimmicks in an effort to pander to specific demographics (unions, Hispanics, and those affected by foreclosures) needed to win re-election in the battleground states of the Midwest, Southwest, and Southeast. What was missing was a concrete plan to address the budget deficit and accumulating debt.

The president may call his speech a "blueprint," but the design rests on a flawed foundation. The solution to America's economic troubles lies not in further taxing the rich, but in simplifying our nation's convoluted tax code. If we cut the corporate tax rate in half, jobs will return. And if we close the loopholes embedded within the individual and corporate tax codes, we will generate the revenue necessary to pay down the debt and to support important government programs. In a nutshell, it is really that simple, but for some reason Republicans have a difficult time articulating this.

[State of the Union Shows Why GOP Must Pick Romney Over Gingrich.]

The eventual Republican presidential nominee, who Obama seemed to indicate would likely be Romney, certainly has his work cut out for him. The onus will be on the newly minted GOP standard-bearer to explain that while Obama's campaign rhetoric sounds attractive in theory, it is unsustainable in long-term practice because free enterprise tends to be rooted in fairness of opportunity, not fairness of outcome.

My advice to the 2012 GOP nominee—start cribbing from Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, because he began to sketch a roadmap for success to our troubled economy in his response last night.

Ford O'Connell

About Ford O'Connell Republican Strategist, Conservative Activist, and Political Analyst

State of the Union
Obama administration
Obama, Barack

Other Arguments

41 Pts
Obama's Speech Will Be Forgotten

No – Obama's Speech Will Be Forgotten

David Crockett Author of 'Running Against the Grain: How Opposition Candidates Win Presidential Elections'

24 Pts
Winning Words, But Not a Winner

No – Winning Words, But Not a Winner

Lara Brown Professor at Villanova University

21 Pts
Obama's Side of the Nation's Story

No – Obama's Side of the Nation's Story

Stephanie Slade Project Director at The Winston Group

15 Pts
Obama Played It Safe

No – Obama Played It Safe

Ron Bonjean Former Chief of Staff for the Senate Republican Conference

12 Pts
State of the Union Was Typical for Election Year

Yes – State of the Union Was Typical for Election Year

Donna R. Hoffman Co-Author of 'Addressing the State of the Union: The Evolution and Impact of the President's Big Speech'

-1 Pts
Incumbents Have History on Their Side

Yes – Incumbents Have History on Their Side

Matt Schlapp Founder of Cove Strategies

-6 Pts
Obama Crafted a Winning Message

Yes – Obama Crafted a Winning Message

Krystal Ball MSNBC Contributor and Former Democratic Nominee for Congress in the First District of Virginia

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