Let’s imagine you were a Democratic president who just lost control of Congress to the Republicans, and you wanted to make it really, really clear that you are not serious about governing. What would you do? Simple: Use your State of the Union address to propose hundreds of billions of dollars in new taxes that will never be enacted, in order to fund a slew of new government programs that have no chance of being approved.Oh, dear -- proposals that can't get through Congress! Shouldn't a president devote his State of the Union address to more serious items?
Welcome to President Obama’s 2015 State of the Union address.
Well, let's look at the person the Republicans have chosen to give their response to the State of the Union address: newly elected Iowa senator Joni Ernst. What did she advocate in her successful campaign?
Let's ignore the pre-2014 policy positions Ernst tried to run away from, such as support for a "personhood" amendment that would ban all abortions, or opposition to the UN's harmless but, to right-wingers, terrifying Agenda 21. Let's just look at positions she espoused during her campaign for Senate.
She advocated repealing Obamacare. She said she favored abolishing the Education Department and the Environmental Protection Agency. She spoke in support of partial privatization of Social Security. She advocated an amendment to the Constitution requiring a balanced budget. When asked whether she supports a minimum-wage increase, she told an interviewer, "I do not support a federal minimum wage."
Will the federal minimum wage be repealed in the remaining two years of President Obama's term? No. Will the EPA and Education Department be abolished? No. Would Obamacare repeal or privatization of Social Security survive an Obama veto? No. Could a balanced budget amendment get a two-thirds vote in both houses of the current Congress? No.
So Joni Ernst -- the person the GOP chose to speak for the entire party after the State of the Union address -- campaigned on a lot of ideas that have absolutely no chance of passage, at least in the next two years. Many would be extraordinarily difficult to enact even if the presidency and both houses of Congress were in Republican hands.
But it's President Obama who's "not serious about governing." Right. Got it.