The stakes, challenges, and expectations are high
for President Obama's State of the Union address Wednesday night. Everyone has
advice for the president on what to say and not say. If these pundits
were president, here's what they'd tell the nation once they got to the
- I'm Shutting Down The Government The Washington Post's Steven Pearlstein:
I pledge to veto any bill that increases the national debt unless it authorizes a bipartisan commission to recommend a plan to bring down the deficit through spending cuts and tax increases. I will do so even if it means shutting down the government until a commission is authorized. [...] On one thing we should all be clear: The do-nothing option is not acceptable -- not to me, and more importantly not to the voters who sent us here.
- I'm Shaking Up Foreign Policy Foreign Policy's Stephen Walt:
There is little genuine debate about foreign policy alternatives inside the Beltway, and some critical subjects remain taboo. [...] We need to ask whether trying to engineer the lives of some 200 million Muslims in Afghanistan and Pakistan is necessary, or whether it is in fact a fool's errand. We need to consider how to rebuild the real foundations of America's global leadership -- our economy, our infrastructure, our educational system, and our moral principles-instead of equating security primarily with our capacity to blow things up via remote-control
- I'm Becoming a Republican The Washington Times's Monica Crowley:
The Republicans are right. [...] I promise to be a different president. I promise to really listen to Republicans and incorporate their best ideas. I promise to fight Islamic terror with every military and intelligence tool possible. I promise not to ram big-government policies through in defiance of public opinion. I promise to reduce the deficit by cutting spending. I promise to stop slamming my predecessor and take responsibility for my own presidency.
- I'm Calling For Sacrifice Newsweek's Michael Cohen:
Instead of feel-good rhetoric about everyday heroes or salesmanship about microtargeted proposals, which are the mainstays of the State of the Union, the president should speak unpleasant truths. That means condemning Republicans for their crude obstructionism and excoriating his fellow Democrats for their fecklessness. But, above all, he must explain to Americans that what they want from Washington cannot be accomplished if they are unwilling to countenance a larger role for the federal government--and remind them that the change they say they want is not possible without actual change and real sacrifice.
- I'll Keep Fighting For Change The New Republic's Jonathan Cohn:
[D]ouble-down--to keep pushing an agenda of sweeping change. No, Obama can't ignore the voter anger or pretend Massachusetts didn't happen. He needs to promise action on the economy--and a commitment to cleaning up government. But he doesn't have to abandon his agenda, either. The people elected him on a platform of "change," he can say. And change is what he still intends to give them. [...] People will respect and embrace Obama if, rather than backing down, his reaffirms his commitment to the ideals on which he ran. They want to know he's listening, but they also want him to keep fighting. They can handle the complicated message--in fact, they want it.
- I'm Bracing For Economic Slow-Down Politics Daily's Joann Weiner:
Even if the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression ends this year, there is little optimism that economic growth will return to healthy levels in 2010. [...] With no change in what the government spends and what it collects in taxes, the federal budget deficit will rise to nearly 20 percent of national income. It is not only budget experts who find this fiscal scenario unsustainable. The American people understand that the state of the economy is not good.