SOTU Should Answer: “What Have You Done For Me Lately?”

SOTU Should Answer: “What Have You Done For Me Lately?”


Today, the president outlines his prognosis on the state of the economy, domestic and foreign affairs and projects his goal and the visions for the future.

Since it appears that the White House does not always successfully project what precisely this administration has done to specifically impact many Americans, the State of the Union represents a opportune time to lay it all out on the table.  Of course, he could use the platform to dig back at his Congressional opponents.  And, he will be swiftly called out on that by his GOP opponents for using the office as a campaign stump.  But, who doesn’t do that?

That said, the SOTU could be that moment to share with the American public what he’s been doing all these years.  Heaven knows many people have been consumed with their own personal struggles and not necessarily engrossed in politics.

Last January, we heard President Obama set out a laundry list of action items and proposals, some seemingly idealistic and undoable, others symbolic and foreseeable. He should take some time during this State of the Union to perhaps present a status update and let us know what’s been done, what is lagging behind and why and how he plans to adjust those projections that are nowhere near being actualized.

For example, plans on enabling homeowners to refinance have fallen extremely short. Why? What is being done to make up for the shortfalls?

And about plans to “renew the Elementary and Secondary Education Act” and to “work with Congress to expand these reforms to all 50 states,” how is that coming along? Did it pass? If not, why not?

The promise to extend the middle-class tax cut, we know came into fruition.  But, what about the promise to “not continue tax cuts for oil companies, for investment fund managers, and for those making over $250,000 a year?”

Combat troops came home as planned, albeit later than August as Obama projected last January.  There is an effort to “partner with the Iraqi people to promote regional peace and prosperity.”

But how likely is it that we are on track to doubling our exports in the four years left as Obama pontificated and what’s the update on the “National Export Initiative that will help farmers and small businesses increase their exports, and reform export controls consistent with national security?”

Of course, we could do our own research to uncover the answers, but most won’t.  The SOTU gives the president a chance to push back on Republicans, including those running for office who have said he is incompetent, doesn’t know what he is doing, has no workable plan, have produced no jobs and accomplished nothing – in essence – since coming into office.

While avoiding the vitriol, rhetoric and blame game that has become axiomatic with American politics of late, the President has the opportunity to say to his detractors that they are wrong.  Talk about why that is and, as Commander in Chief, what he’s going to do about it.  He’s got plenty of world stage for people to listen.