What Will Obama Say Tonight?

Andrew Sullivan —  Jan 24 2012 @ 12:04pm

A couple days ago, Obama previewed his State of The Union speech, which is scheduled for tonight:

Michael Cohen fits Obama's rhetoric on inequality to a long-term strategy:

[A very] important question is whether the sudden willingness of Democrats to tackle the issue of income inequality has the potential to live on far past the next election. For decades, Republicans have successfully portrayed the bogeyman of big government as the enemy of America's middle class. The emerging focus on America's glaring economic disparity – and its direct and deleterious impact on the middle class – suggests that Democrats are willing to use their own bogeyman of Wall Street greed in response.

Indeed, it's quite likely that the election will be a struggle between these two conflicting views. If Democrats are successful in such an endeavour, it has the potential to make 2012 more than just another election, but one that could shift the very narrative of American politics.

Bill Galston wants the president to talk more about opportunity than inequality:

The plight of hard-working, hard-pressed Americans—those struggling to remain in the middle class and those struggling get there—must be front and center. And the president must address it in the right way. A December 16 Gallup survey found that while 82 percent of Americans believe that it’s extremely or very important to expand the economy and 70 percent believe that it’s extremely or very important to increase equality of opportunity for people to get ahead, only 46 percent believe that about reducing the gap between the rich and the poor. While 72 percent of Democrats want government to emphasize measures to reduce inequality, only 43 percent of independents agree. And 52 percent of Americans say that “the fact that some people in the United States are rich and others are poor” is acceptable, actually up from 45 percent in 1998.