Congress isn’t quite rolling out the welcome mat for President Obama tonight.
In an election year leaving little room for pleasantries, Senate Republicans offered a harsh assessment of what they interpret President Obama’s State of the Union address will represent tonight: a campaign speech.
“It’s hard not to feel a sense of disappointment even before tonight’s speech is delivered because while we don’t yet know all the specifics, we do know the goal,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said on the Senate floor today, “the goal isn’t to conquer the nation’s problems. It’s to conquer Republicans. The goal isn’t to prevent gridlock, but to guarantee it.”
Stemming from President Obama’s “We Can’t Wait” campaign, McConnell said the message coming from the White House is that the president has “given up” on Congress and has decided to try now to “convince” Americans that the unstable economy is Congress’ fault and not his administration’s.
“My message is this,” McConnell said, “this debate isn’t about what congress may or may not do in the future. It’s about what this president has already done. The president’s policies are now firmly in place. It’s his economy now. We’re living under the Obama economy.”
McConnell says that the only one the president should blame is himself.
“Any CEO in America with a record like this after three years on the job would be graciously shown the door. This president blames the managers instead. He blames the folks on the shop floor. He blames the weather. Well, you’re certainly within your rights to walk away from the legislative process if you like, Mr. President. You can point the finger all you like, but you can’t walk away from your record.”
Mocking president Obama’s State of the Union address last year in which the “Win the Future” theme was prevalent, McConnell said it’s clear that the president’s goal has changed this year.
“Win the future. This year he just wants to win the next campaign.”
Republicans similarly blasted President Obama’s planned focus on income inequality in his speech tonight. Senator Mike Lee, R-Utah, said it’s “un-American.”
“I think some of these comments are very damaging,” Lee said at a press conference, “I think they’re harmful. I don’t think it’s a good idea to pit Americans one against another, to divide the country when the acerbic rhetoric of class warfare. This is un-American and it’s not helpful.”