Tag Archives: State of the Union

The State of the Union Speech and the President’s Credibility Gap

By Robert E. Prasch
Professor of Economics
Middlebury College

Last night, President Obama gave a great speech. He almost always does. And to that ever-shrinking group of die-hards who continue to insist that somehow, and in someway, President Obama will validate the hope kindled by his 2008 presidential campaign, it was a moment of triumph. Yes, they are saying, in his heart – very deep down, perhaps – Obama does in fact share our values and concerns, etc., he just has a hard time finding ways to express it, etc.

But let’s take a different tack. Let us begin with the old adage that “talk is cheap.” The fact is that this president has had six years to demonstrate – in deeds rather than words – what exactly constitutes his priorities. Let us, as this is a website devoted to economics issues, set aside the Obama Administration’s genuinely horrific record on civil liberties (The sordid record is long, but highlights include unchecked domestic spying by the NSA; drones deployed to terrorize the citizenry of numerous foreign nations; proclaiming and defending the prerogative to unilaterally kill American citizens with ever stating charges, much less presenting evidence or seeking convictions in the courts; solely and exclusively prosecuting those brave individuals who alerted the public to the Bush Administration’s war crimes, even as he comforted or promoted those who committed the crimes, etc.). Let us focus solely on economic policy. What follows is a brief review of the low moments thus far. These are not presented in any order and is not a comprehensive list:

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Who Should Be Invited to the State of the Union?

NEP’s William Black provides his view on this topic in the New York Time’s Room For Debate section. You can view his post here.