President Barack Obama plans to offer an upbeat look at America’s potential in his final State of the Union address, Chief of Staff Denis McDonough said Sunday, moving to draw a contrast with what he called the “doom and gloom” of Republican presidential contenders.It is a familiar State of the Union tactic:
- "As we look at America today, we find ourselves challenged by new problems. But we also find a record of progress to confound the professional criers of doom and prophets of despair." Richard M. Nixon, January 30, 1974
- "You know, I do think there has been too much pessimism. Sound banks should be making sound loans now, and interest rates should be lower, now." -- George H. W. Bush, January 29, 1991
- "A year ago, Americans' faith in their governmental process was steadily declining. Six out of 10 Americans were saying they were pessimistic about their future. A new kind of defeatism was heard. Some said our domestic problems were uncontrollable, that we had to learn to live with this seemingly endless cycle of high inflation and high unemployment. There were also pessimistic predictions about the relationship between our administration and this Congress. It was said we could never work together. Well, those predictions were wrong. The record is clear, and I believe that history will remember this as an era of American renewal, remember this administration as an administration of change, and remember this Congress as a Congress of destiny". Ronald Reagan, January 26, 1982.
- "The heart of America is strong; it's good and true. The cynics were wrong; America never was a sick society. We're seeing rededication to bedrock values of faith, family, work, neighborhood, peace, and freedom—values that help bring us together as one people, from the youngest child to the most senior citizen." Ronald Reagan, January 25, 1984
- "As we look at these challenges, we must never give in to the belief that America is in decline or that our culture is doomed to unravel. The American people know better than that. We have proven the pessimists wrong before, and we will do it again." -- George W. Bush, State of the Union, January 31, 2006.
Ironically, President Obama was one of the naysayers back in 2008. In reponse to President Bush's State of the Union, the Illinois senator took a distinctly gloomy view:
Tonight, for the seventh long year, the American people heard a State of the Union that didn't reflect the America we see, and didn't address the challenges we face. But what it did do was give us an urgent reminder of why it's so important to turn the page on the failed politics and policies of the past, and change the status quo in Washington so we can finally start making progress for ordinary Americans. Tonight's State of the Union was full of the same empty rhetoric the American people have come to expect from this President.