President Obama has had to change his tune a few times since he took office, but the content of his speech to Congress tonight will be no surprise, Michael Scherer writes in Time. Talking points have been consistent for long enough to predict 5 key features:
- I'm not Bush: In case Congress didn't notice, Obama will emphasize particularly his break from the former president's "deception" as regards the budget—and the helicopters.
- Stimulus as victory: Once the issue was won, Obama's rhetoric on the package went from necessity to valedictory, and he will talk about the policy gains tonight.
- Bipartisanship: The stimulus was divisive, but most Americans think Obama is willing to cross the aisle, a sentiment they don't extend to the GOP—so he may well mention it.
- The wars: Expect no details here, either on Iraq, the Afghan surge, or increased attacks in Pakistan, but Obama will likely be as candid as he can about the challenges ahead, unlike his predecessor.
- An end to doom and gloom: Obama badgered the opposition—sort of—into the stimulus plan by painting a dismal picture, but those words can be self-fulfilling; now, a time for hope, "what every president in modern memory has done."