What Obama's State Of The Union Address Would Include If We Had Our Way
In his second-to-last State of the Union address Tuesday night, President Obama will talk about a plan to increase taxes on the wealthy and provide new tax breaks aimed at middle class relief, reports The New York Times. Which sounds good. But if the president really wants things to get interesting in the fourth quarter of his presidency, as he said in December, he needs to keep up the moves from this new, bold playbook.
Television ratings for the State of the Union have been pretty terrible for a long time, according to the Los Angeles Times. One presidential historian blamed the slide on social media, which might be a stretch, but the numbers don't lie. Nielsen ratings show President Obama's 2014 SOTU drew only 33 million viewers, which the L.A. Times notes is the second-lowest tally since Nielsen started tracking the SOTU figures in 1993.
In an attempt to boost engagement for the SOTU, the White House sent out an email blast earlier this week, asking voters what he should talk about during tomorrow night's speech.
We thought we'd add a couple of suggestions to the list that could make the SOTU must-see TV...
1. Revive the Paycheck Fairness Act
In September, for the fourth time (FOURTH) the Senate blocked an act which would have laid the groundwork for equal pay for women finally becoming a reality. Senate Republicans said the Paycheck Fairness Act would have led to legal battles and job losses, and voted unanimously against it.
So, on Tuesday night, the president should announce he'll take the approach he's taken with other important issues that haven't attracted Congressional cooperation: Do it without them. In November, the president used an executive order to push forward immigration reforms, and threatened to veto any action by Congress to undo the order. It's time he lives up to his oft-repeated remark about wanting equal pay for "my daughters and your sons" by doing away with the 77-cents-on-the-dollar stat once and for all.
2. Gay Marriage
The Supreme Court said late Friday it would decide during its current term whether gay marriage should be legal in all 50 states. While Obama's own statement in support of gay marriage was a huge first step, it would be reassuring to hear the president firm up that support. While he's unlikely to want to be seen as trying to sway the judicial branch, it's worth reiterating his stance on marriage equality, as so many states battle over gay marriage laws in court.
3. Throw His Support Behind Hillary Clinton
It only seems fair that he speak up in support of the woman he defeated in the 2008 Democratic primary, and who later served as his first-term Secretary of State. Democrats need to shore up their base before the bruising presidential primary season starts, and having a clear front-runner would be huge.
OK, it's a long shot that the president would make such a partisan statement in front of Congress, but if the majority is going to disagree with him anyway...
President Obama is in the final stretch, and it seems like he's finally, finally, making some of the hope and change he promised as a candidate become reality. Hopefully he can keep the momentum going. We'll see what he has to say Tuesday night.
Images: Getty (4), Twitter/@BarackObama (1); YouTube/WhiteHouse