NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Opinion

February 18, 2013

State of union's impact plays out down the road

“So,” I asked Big Freddy after he had settled into his booth seat and waved to the waitress for the usual, “what did you make of Obama’s state of the union speech.”

“Right on target, and he came fully loaded,” Freddy said.

“Target?” I asked.

“Elephant hunt because those in the House and Senate are giving him fits,” Freddy said.

“An Abe Lincoln `House Divided’ speech?” I asked.

“Not in so many words,” Freddy said.

“Democrats increased their majority in the Senate last November. Republicans still have the House, but they lost some seats. Both branches are divided, but Senate Democrats increased their majority, and are better disciplined.

“House hard-line Republicans are losing traction, but they’re still giving their speaker, Boehner, fits. Mitch McConnell has been having an easier time as minority leader in the Senate, but he’s a party target along with Boehner. That shaped a lot of the tone of Obama’s speech, which he took to a higher level to keep those who voted for him involved. He wasn’t able to do that in his first two years and it cost Democrats the House. They gained some back in November, but they’ve got a long way to go.

“That focussed the tone of his state of the union speech, because if they fail, he won’t have the power needed to fulfill the goals of his presidency.”

“Well, he rang a lot of bells,” I said. “I liked what he said about the need to put the nation’s interest before private interests.”

“Which is what push and take is all about,” Freddy said. “The hard right wants less government in its lives. The hard left accepts whatever is needed in support of outcome. Those in the middle lean one way or the other. Both parties include them in their marketing.

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