Why wait for the president's speech? If you want to know his theme -- and it's hardly a surprise -- just glance at the quintessential Beltway pre-spin transaction: White House senior adviser Dan Pfeiffer's "exclusive" preview feed to Mike Allen's "Playbook." According to Pfeiffer, President Barack Obama is going to ... champion the middle class, which, Pfeiffer points out, his boss has done consistently since he began running for the highest office in the land back in 2007. That's true. I was there. Obama always has cited improving the economic lot of the middle class as a central purpose. So has every other politician in modern times. But as Obama prepares to deliver his latest State of the Union address, the issue isn't rhetoric -- it's results. And while the words are there, the results, to be blunt, are not.
In his second term Obama needs to build new and real things that tangibly improve the lives of the middle class and, yes, the poor; and advance the ball on the things he says he also cares about: the environment, immigration, education, tech, etc, plus figuring out what his consistent view is of foreign and defense policy.
A new Huffington Post/YouGov poll shows voters modestly hopeful about Barack Obama's chances of being more successful in his second term. And, given the haplessness of his Republican foes, Obama is in an unusually strong position to deliver on the potential of his second term -- but only if he has the will and wherewithal to turn ballot-box victory into real-life results. That's the bottom line of an in-depth survey by The Huffington Post of the problems and prospects facing the president as he prepares for a second inauguration. Today we launch a series of stories giving you in-depth results of that survey: 20 reported pieces during the next week, 14 from the U.S. and six from overseas; pairs of expert blog posts published with each domestic story; HuffPost Live video interviews with reporters; and poll data from HuffPost/YouGov.
A year ago, President Obama introduced the American Jobs Act. The fact that Congress was unwilling to approve these jobs measures is one reason middle class families continue to struggle and why the growth that we are generating is doing an end run around them. In fact, if you think back to 2011, instead of debating jobs measures that could have helped middle class and low-income workers, what was Congress fighting about? Whether or not to default on the national debt. And now there's the specter of the fiscal cliff, another potential self-inflicted wound to an economy that needs a shot in the arm not a punch in the head.