Americans are looking for President Barack Obama to say something —
on Tuesday at the State of the Union address to deliver the country a much-needed "shot in the arm" —
but they're likely to be disappointed, assuming they're even watching, says Republican communications strategist Adam Goodman.
"I'm afraid that when you strip away all the movie-trailer hype" that precedes a State of the Union "that you're not going to see much left," Goodman told "MidPoint" host Ed Berliner on Newsmax TV
Thursday in a roundup of the new political year and the coming battles between the White House and Congress.
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The traditional opposition response, however, should come as a pleasant surprise to people expecting pro forma Republican rebuttals, Goodman predicted.
"First thing, they'll get specific," he said. "They'll talk about the Keystone Pipeline because the Keystone Pipeline is not just a metaphor for energy independence —
which supposedly the president and all of us have been endeavoring to secure for generations —
but it's also about something bigger."
Support for the transcontinental oil line —
which the president appears inclined to veto —
is a signal that Americans "want real things, big things done, and we want it done now," said Goodman, president of the Victory Group, a Tampa, Fla., political advertising and public relations firm.
"That's the thing to look for in the State of the Union, and in the response from Republicans, who are going to say, 'We've heard the speeches; now let's see the results,'" he said.
How much the State of the Union and the other party's response matter to the average American today is another question, said Goodman.
Viewership is down by almost half from Obama's inaugural speech to Congress in 2009 —
a drop the White House is acutely aware of, he said.
Obama's vaunted online media operation will no doubt be scrambling to get the message out through those channels "to make sure that this moment … is not lost on deaf ears or those who simply don’t bother to tune in," said Goodman.
Goodman turned to another contest playing out in Congress, where the GOP now has majorities in both chambers —
this one over the Dodd-Frank banking and investment regulations
passed in the wake of the 2007-2008 financial crisis.
Efforts to explain rolling back the law will be met with "scare tactics" by Dodd-Frank supporters warning of another financial collapse, but Republicans should stay the course and emphasize the benefit to the entire economy of lifting the costly regulatory regime, said Goodman.
"It's had a chilling effect on financial institutions and others," he said, adding, "When you increase cost, you increase regulations, and you increase uncertainty, which is what 2,300 pages of Dodd-Frank run amok has cost us.
"And when these institutions are not willing to invest, that comes straight downstream to all of us," he said.
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