Look for a “bolder” State of the Union from President Barack Obama tonight. That’s the view of University of Wisconsin political scientist Barry Burden. “That may seem counterintuitive because Republicans now have control of the Congress, rather than sharing power with Democrats in the Senate, but I think he feels unfettered at this point.”
Burden said a couple of things the president will propose – like the earned income tax credit for working couples and the child care credit – may gain some GOP support, but his overall message “is not going to go well with conservatives.”
Wisconsin Republican Senator Ron Johnson called chances of getting the tax break measures through the GOP Congress “virtually zero,” and called taxing one group to help another a “zero sum gain that accomplishes nothing.” House Republican Reid Ribble said while the goal of helping families with children get more money is fine, redistributing it through Washington is not an efficient way to do it.
Senate Democrat Tammy Baldwin said the president ought to be applauded for drafting a plan which she said would make “those at the top pay their fair share, so we can cut taxes for the middle class and strengthen their economic security.”
Overall, Burden said presidents tend to do pretty well with their state of the union proposals. “I think they’ve been more successful than the public might imagine. There have been scholars who have gone back and tracked the promises or the things that are in the presidential agenda, and then looked at what happened in the next year or so, and more often than not those things have come to fruition.”
President Obama will deliver his sixth State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress tonight.