How does WikiLeaks affect the State of the Union Address?
Fresh from delivering the most unifying speech of his career in Tucson, AZ, Obama will deliver the State of the Union Address tonight. He will enter the House chamber riding a wave of public enthusiasm, which voters signaled by not only upping him in the polls, but by thumbing down his popular foil, Sarah Palin.
Based on the preview of the speech, and the recent hiring of GE CEO Jeffrey Immelt to lead the now-defunct Economic Recovery Advisory Board, Obama is determined to recast America as a team of competitive fighters, positioning himself as Coach-in-Chief. In fact, the ERAB has been renamed the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness, signaling the recession has ended and that it is time for Americans to redefine themselves in a new global marketplace.
Yet how should Americans redefine themselves in an era of potent corruption and reckless criminality among government officials?
The president is expected to deliver his sophisticated brand of soaring rhetoric (“morning in America” updated for the 21st century) to the American people, in hopes of influencing our perspective on what is now America’s core problem after a year-long Republican marketing blitz: the deficit.
The sure-to-be moving piece of political theater will touch on a number of deficit-related topics, namely entitlement spending, health care reform and defense.
We will be told the state of the union is strong while corrupt officials parade around authorizing torture, spying and other prohibited activities. We will be told the economy is recovering as the middle class squeezes more out of less under the shadow of an administration slowly filling with the fat-cat bankers we were, in 2008, instructed to mistrust. We will be told the “good war” in Afghanistan is under control even though we’ve all read the cables indicating it is anything but. Intense debate will follow the Address on blogs, op-eds, and front pages, and we will all have surely missed the point.
One can only hope that Julian Assange will make good on his promise to deliver the private records of a major bank following the State of the Union Address, as Obama steers our nation towards the interests of corporations. We should want a world where it is difficult for businessman to behave badly, but that is not the world we live in.
Julian Assange can send a powerful message with those cables: “This is who your President conspires with for the benefit of everyone. Good luck.”
The last thing we need is more truthiness from a president. Unfortunately, the only things that appear to be true these days are the private cables Assange exposes through his maligned organization. The State of the Union is essentially a relic of the past. Wikileaks is just what the doctor ordered.