Obama and the Rubble
I wrote a "snap" reaction to Obama's 2013 State of the Union address for Bloomberg.
President Barack Obama's State of the Union address posed its most interesting question in the first few moments: Can his administration break free of the challenges of recession? Or will it be weighed down for another four years?It is worth noting that I panned the 2012 address. I did so because I saw the President as indulging a protectionist impulse with arguments he knew to be factually incorrect.
"We have cleared away the rubble of crisis," the president said. Yet in the policy landscape he went on to describe, plenty of rubble remained. The Obama agenda, if this speech is any guide, continues to be defined by fiscal issues and deficit reduction.
That created a sharp contrast with his second inaugural address, which presented a more expansively liberal program, made for a post-crisis, post-conflict era. The State of the Union address is supposed to be the more practical expression of the inaugural vision -- but the discontinuity between the two speeches, just three weeks apart, was striking.