President Obama will speak to congress and the nation Tuesday in his annual State of the Union address.
Up until this point, we've seen a lot of "can kicking," putting off deadlines and important issues until they can no longer be ignored, by both congress and the Obama administration. Tuesday's address is yet another opportunity for congress and the president to prove just how low the democratic process has gotten and prove that the forces of gridlock, political posturing, and partisan polarization are well intact. Sounds like U.S. politics to me, should be a party!
The big question to me remains this: How will Obama govern in his second term? Will it be by creating partisan agreement and bringing people together, or will it be through direct involvement and Executive order? Only time will tell.
Until then, here is you should be watching for (i.e. what I'll be watching for) this evening:
- Gun Control: Sandy Hook and Aurora, among others, have set the nation's mind on how we can deal with the prickly issue of gun ownership. The National Rifle Association (NRA) stands firmly on the side of gun ownership rights as national opinion, and even some NRA members, show that we want more gun control in some form. The question is, what form of control will Obama suggest?
My Prediction: The NRA thinks putting more guns in places like schools is the answer to gun violence issues, and nobody else does. We might finally see some action on gun control this term because public opinion has shifted.
- Immigration: Proving that he isn't afraid of congress, President Obama signed an Executive Order allowing the children of illegal immigrants, who were brought into the U.S. as children, to remain here. It doesn't make them citizens and it doesn't create a path to citizenship, but it does take away the fear of deportation to, what is essentially to them, a foreign nation. The president took a stand on this issue, but will he convince congress to pass comprehensive reforms?
My Prediction: Not right now. Congress is too bogged down in financial issues to seriously consider immigration reform. Any changes will likely be piecemeal ("let's pass a nonbinding resolution that says we will probably do something eventually!" Great idea!) to keep the ever growing immigrant population happy. This will change eventually, even if congress doesn't want to do anything about it right now.
- Sequestration: I like to call this Fiscal Cliff 2.0 – lots of public spending cuts will go into effect automatically if congress doesn't act. It won't help with the unemployment rate or anybody who uses any government services. Also, another fun looming deadline is the vote on increasing the public debt limit, Republicans oppose it (without some funding cuts at least) and without it the U.S. won't be able to pay its bills. Can the president do anything to get congress moving, or will we kick the can down the road to next year?
My Prediction: Every member of congress should set his Facebook status to "Kickin' it with the president!"
- Apple CEO Tim Cook: According to NPR, Apple's CEO Tim Cook will also be in attendance, so maybe Apple is planning to fill budget shortfalls for the federal government using some of the billions of dollars in cash it has set aside in the US. Better yet, maybe in a shocking surprise co-announcement, Cook and Obama will show off the new iPhone 6 with a personal force field powerful enough to stop a bullet that the NRA and Fed will be buying every citizen. Of course, they will be made in the U.S., so say goodbye to the unemployment issue. The gun control discussion will thus become moot and bring congress into partisan agreement for the first time in years – Apple rocks.
My Prediction: Yep, the second option seems like the most likely scenario.
Follow along below for LIVE updates as we cover tonight's state of the union address!