The Lame Duck State of the Union Speech

Don’t be too worried about the bad proposals in Barack Obama’s State of the Union speech.


New taxes and other atrocities will undoubtedly be proposed as Obama pretends he is not a lame duck President. But the good news is that he is mostly bluster and no power. The Washington Post gives us hope:

Judging by his recent history, it doesn’t really matter what President Obama says in Tuesday’s State of the Union address — Congress is going to ignore him anyway.

Mr. Obama has the second-worst record of getting his State of the Union policy requests enacted into law of any president in the last five decades, according to an analysis by two scholars that puts him only above the unelected two-year presidency of Gerald Ford.

From 2009 through 2014, Mr. Obama issued 209 different calls for action from Congress in his speeches, but only saw lawmakers follow through on 64 of them — good for just 30 percent. That’s only slightly better than Mr. Ford’s 28 percent success rate, and is well below the likes of President Clinton, the previous Democratic president, who won 44 percent of his policies even though he faced a Congress more Republican than Mr. Obama has.

Indeed, Mr. Obama set a single-year record for futility in 2013, just after his re-election, getting Congress to pass just two of the 41 policies he asked them to consider. That’s the worst in the last 50 years, according to the data from Professors Donna R. Hoffman and Alison D. Howard, two political scientists who have tracked State of the Unions going back to President Lyndon B. Johnson’s 1965 speech.

So, if we can get some basic backbone from Congress, we shouldn’t need to worry too much that Obama’s wish list will come to pass. If he couldn’t do it before, then he shouldn’t be able to increase his success rate now.

However, it would be better if Congress did more than simply refuse these new proposals. It would be better if they attacked and tried to reverse the President’s worst “success”—Obamacare. No matter how many failures the President suffers, that one success is hurting the economy and the nation. It needs to be fixed.