U.S. President Obama : ” “In two weeks, I will send this Congress a budget filled with ideas that are practical, not partisan”
Washington ( Agencies + DIPLOMAT.SO) — President Obama made four veto threats, asked Congress to pass seven or eight bills, and announced an executive action on paid sick leave Tuesday.
But of all the powers of the presidency on display during his State of the Union Address, the most important may have been the speech itself. Obama mustered all the presidency’s powers of persuasion to tell the nation what he wants to do with his last two years in office.
History may mark it as a speech notable as much for how he gave it as what he said. It was the first State of the Union speech released publicly ahead of time so people could follow along.
Despite a long-term trend of lower ratings — or perhaps because of them — the White House aggressively promoted the speech via social media: from interviews with YouTube celebrities to Facebook posts of Obama’s tan suit; from 140-character posts on Twitter to the long-form Medium, where all 6,493 words of the speech were posted in advance.
And the speech was just the highlight of a weeks-long State of the Union season in which Obama will take his agenda on the road.
“The goal of this speech was to set the groundwork for more speeches,” said William Howell of the University of Chicago. “I was struck by how few times he called upon Congress to take specific action. He didn’t say, here are the 10 things I want to see in this bill. The audience for the speech went well beyond the halls of Congress.”
Obama said as much in his speech.
“In two weeks, I will send this Congress a budget filled with ideas that are practical, not partisan. And in the months ahead, I’ll crisscross the country making a case for those ideas,” Obama said. “So tonight, I want to focus less on a checklist of proposals, and focus more on the values at stake in the choices before us.”
White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest told reporters aboard Air Force One Wednesday that the president already had natural momentum going into the State of the Union, after a series of big announcements on immigration and Cuba late last year.
“There is some momentum built up in that policy process, and after taking a break for the holidays, the president was eager to build on that momentum,” Earnest said. “As a practical matter, by rolling out each of the policy proposals individually, it did prompt greater scrutiny of those issues.”
Obama visits Idaho and Kansas on Wednesday to continue rolling out details of the often ague policy proposals he outlined Tuesday night. He’s already been to Michigan, Arizona and Tennessee to roll out State of the Union initiatives on manufacturing, home ownership and education — issues that got just a sentence or two in Tuesday’s speech but that got their own headlines in the weeks before.
It’s part of a “going public” strategy long employed by presidents to go around Congress and take their case straight to the voters.
“Hitting the trail just before the speech is traditional — I suspect to whet the appetite of news coverage,” said Sam Kernell, a professor at the University of California, San Diego and author of Going Public: New Strategies Of Presidential Leadership. “Increasingly, presidents hit the trail after the State of the Union to generate enthusiasm for any legislative initiatives.”
President George W. Bush, for example, launched a 60-day tour to promote his campaign to restructure Social Security in 2005. It failed.
“The political science research, for what it’s worth, shows that going on the road is not going to help him legislatively. It just doesn’t work that way,” said Matthew Dickinson, professor of political science at Middlebury College. “He’s still going to have to come back to Washington. He’s going to have to negotiate with a Congress controlled by the opposition party.”For more news and stories, join us on Facebook,Twitter , or contact us through our Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com