Thursday, January 27, 2011

State of the Union, Barack Obama must turn words into action

President Barack Obama’s State of the Union

address Tuesday contained the usual laundry list of initiatives big and small — including many that require bipartisan cooperation for success.

But a POLITICO look at his wish list shows that, at best, he’ll probably be able to check off only a few of his agenda items, and Republicans are only part of the problem.

He put Democrats on the spot with an earmark ban, irked them by renewing his call for a freeze on discretionary spending and challenged them to limit medical malpractice lawsuits.

But heading toward his 2012 reelection, these are fights Obama seems willing — even eager — to have. He might not get everything he wants or even very much of it. But if Republicans balk, Democrats, led by the president, can call them out on it. If Democrats resist, Obama can create distance between himself and his less popular colleagues on the Hill.

POLITICO rates the odds of success for 10 key proposals. Items scoring zero have the least chance of happening. Those scoring 5 have the easiest track.

Five-year freeze on domestic spending

Idea: Obama proposed the cap as a “down payment toward reducing the deficit.”

Pro: The president claims the move would cut the deficit by more than $400 billion over the next decade, giving him a punchy talking point to show he is serious.

Con: It’s barely a dent. The deficit for this fiscal year alone is $1.5 trillion, congressional scorekeepers say.

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