Obama’s Biggest SOTU Test

CIB012015-ObamaTonight’s State of the Union Address to Congress by President Obama will be arguably his most challenging in the six years he has held the White House and the first in which he’ll face a Congress that is controlled by the Republican Party.

Though his poll numbers have improved in recent weeks, Obama is still recovering from one of the most one-sided defeats of his party in a generation. And the subject matter of his address must confront turmoil largely of his own making which has deeply divided the American electorate.

Having already threatened to veto the Keystone Pipeline, which is expected to pass out of the Senate in days, Obama will almost certainly make an argument against the expansion of petroleum exploration and possibly even cite the glut of supply as a case for why it should be left as-is.

Warning that he intends to go on ‘offense’, he will likely expand upon his proposal this month of federally subsidized community college. Likewise, in the face of Republican push-back on executive amnesty, some expect the president to renew his mandate for’‘prosecutorial discretion’ despite at least one federal judge having already ruled that he lacks constitutional authority.

Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) opined on Obama’s attempt to corner Republicans in Congress,

“Our goal should be to perform, to show we can legislate responsibly, to show that we are steady, to show that we look out in advance for oncoming issues that need to be dealt with, and that we don’t have the herky-jerky, stop-start, government-on and government-off method that’s been occurring in recent times.”

Republican leaders have already signaled that they will not take the bait from Obama on proposals that appear to be aimed at putting them on the defensive, rather the GOP response will likely continue to be geared toward putting specific bills on the president desk to force him either to sign or veto.