State Of the Union Speech Unlikely to Offer Substance

Tonight's State of the Union speech is unlikely to blaze any new trails for a government mired in a legislative muck of its own creation. President Obama finds himself exactly where he was before the 2012 election — in the White House facing a Republican majority in the House, and an obstructionist Republican minority in the Senate, which may very well filibuster Obama's defense secretary pick, Chuck Hagel. 

This is the backdrop for this evening's speech, which Obama will use to review his achievements as president, and to paint a picture for the future that will no doubt color Republicans unimpressed. Given the partisan nature of American politics, the State of the Union speech cannot be viewed as a hint of what's to come, but rather as a presidential wish list.