Obama’s State of the Union Address: The myth of the Republican Consensus

It should not be a surprise that Republicans do not hold one thought regarding the State of the Union Address from President Obama. It is difficult to place Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell gestures as he delivers the Republican Response to the State of the Union in the Virginia House of Delegates' chambers at the Capitol in Richmond, Va., next to Rep. Paul Ryan's (R-Wisc.) response or to the blistering and anger-filled delusional response of Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) of the Tea Party. Each of these republican's response has very strong ties to the old party maître: cut taxes, cut spending and their newly found loathsome diatribe: the affordable health care law of 2010. The response from Virginia governor Bob McDonnell is probably motivated by aspiration for the oval office, Representative Ryan’s response from perceived love for the Republican party principles in his home state of Wisconsin; and that of Representative Bachmann, on the pursuit of extremism in a world of civility and reachable truce. Today's blog explores why Republicans have more than one official rebuttal to the President's state of the union address.

The different motivation and contradictory response to President Obama’s speech from Republicans indicate that all representative spokespersons from the Republican Party do not have a common goal or ambition to see that the problem of unemployment is addressed with the urgency it deserves; or, understand the Role of a President in austere times like this and what the goal of his speech must be if we are to move the nation ahead or wake it up from the economic doldrums. While the Tea Party are offering ideas strictly associated with their principles, sometimes considered as extremist, and other two Republican spokespersons are offering responses that are altruistic in the current economic dispensation, it is hard if not completely difficult to place the beef of the Republicans Party with the President’s leadership and administration. One may be suspicious that the Republicans are generally nursing the ambition of unseating President Obama and that is why they are vehemently challenging his leadership, when for all intense and purposes, the nation needs a vision to help us deal with our plundered economy and huge national debt, a dead or dying housing market and consequential impacts on our quality of life.

The three republicans spokespersons are somehow conflicting in the way they perceive what the 2011 State of the Union Address is and how best to share the intricate vision to bring about progressive changes in the status of the nation, politically, economically and psychologically. If Tea Party faction of the Republican Party does not share a wiliness to engage with Democrats and is pursuing separate and extreme values relative to their counterparts within the Republicans Party, then definitely Houston…. Republicans have a Problem! This nation needs to heal from a sluggish economy, cutting taxes singularly will not create enough jobs in a 9.6% unemployment environment; neither will blistering statements from Republicans spur economic growth or strengthen the private sector’s ability to create new jobs. We went through this route under President Reagan and got nowhere. It will not be wise to keep our head in the sand like an ostrich by pursuing failed public policies. We need our economy to grow and that means every hand on deck!

The moderate Republicans are desperate to understand what their fringe party members want, however, because they are lacking in credibility, Americans are unable to appreciate their agenda in all the speeches offered as rebuttal to the State of the nation’s address from President Obama. Do we want to promote entrepreneurship and innovation at the expenses of the vulnerable members of our society; or, do we want to get rid of essential regulations to allow for increased pollution and destruction of our habitat or because Republicans are so much sold to the corporate interests, or what?

In the absence of a coordinated and reflective response from Republicans, the logic of the Tea Party blistering response is lost in the noise that comes with it and the mainstream response from Republicans start to look much like a political strategic dialogue to unseat probably the most articulate and reflective President we’ve had in the past decade. To unseat Obama, Republicans must convince the nation that the loonies in the Tea Party are not the best that the Republicans can offer. They will have to convince us that Twittering knee-jerk response to a one-hour speech by a President will actually reduce unemployment, cut Medicaid costs and offer a better health care reform law than the Affordable Health Care Law of 2010. Similarly, those Republican aspiring for the Whitehouse must be bold enough to offer workable solution(s) to a cyclical problem that has beset our economic system.

Many Americans watching the President Speech saw a pragmatic advocacy mixed with appeals to the best in American ideals. A few probably wished his words can get our family members and friends back to work right away. My wife acknowledges that the President gave a smart and funny speech. However, things do not work that way and we understand. That is why we probably took the optimistic and above-the-frame or ground stance that President Obama has sought in his 2011 State of the Union Address. In case Republicans, especially the Tea Party members, miss the President’s points in the State of the Union Address, here in a nutshell:

• Tax incentives for entrepreneurs and small businesses to encourage jobs creation;
• Eliminate the billions in taxpayer dollars currently given away to oil companies and the rich in tax deferment;
• Put more Americans to work repairing crumbling roads and bridges, ensuring that the investments are paid for, by attracting private investors;
• Consolidate the federal bureaucracy and force government to “live within its means”;
• Reaffirmation of the progressive agenda, including the health care reform and the repeal of the don’t ask and don’t tell laws;
• Cutting domestic budget to the tune of 12% by freezing discretionary spending;
• Acknowledging the place of teachers in nation building;
• Freezing spending for five years to allow us catch up with the run-away deficit; and
• Recognition of American ingenuity and market place.

For sake of efficiency, President Obama would like to merge, consolidate and reorganize the federal government agencies. The President will like to cut domestic spending which can only represent 12% of our budget, a realistic strategy which the President personally accepted is not going to be enough to address our huge budget deficit. Some critics argue that President Obama has not shifted from the big government, big taxes, and big spending approach to governance; however, they fail to realize the macro-economic principles, when the private sector is refusing to invest, government has the obligation to infuse spending in the short-run to increase or ginger business activities. When there are slacks in private sector investments, the nation is better off, in the short run, having the government spend or invest to encourage business activities and look forward to some improvement in business activities that will create jobs. Other critics maintain that freezing spending for five years would only make a tittering economy fall backwards further. There is hardly any prove to the last suspicion; however, if we do not get serious about halting our pace of deficit, we may end up going a begging from our Chinese creditors.

Ironically, Republicans can find something they will agree with the President: getting hold of our run-away deficit! However, maybe the Republicans should agree among themselves, what route the nation must now take to address the few shortcomings of the President’s speech.

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