President Barack Obama will face a different Congress in his State of the Union address tonight but is expected to maintain the middle ground despite the influx of newly elected Republicans.
Obama will focus on five areas — education, innovation and infrastructure to provide a firmer economic foundation, debt reduction and government reform.
University of Wisconsin political science professor Barry Burden said he thinks Obama might address new policies on investment funds, giving a tax credit to states that take direct actions to improve delivery of services or the job situation, and national infrastructure plans.
Obama is expected to unveil targeted spending plans to help the economy, as well as budget cuts.
However, his speech comes with a new political landscape. Republicans took control of the House and gained valuable seats in the Senate. Obama will be unable to push through legislation over Republican objections.
Not many states defeated Democrats so soundly as Wisconsin, whose citizens ousted former Sen. Russ Feingold for newcomer Ron Johnson and elected a Republican majority to the state Legislature and Republican Scott Walker to governorship.
It was the first time since 1938 the Legislature and governor’s office did a complete 180.
Still, Burden believes Obama will not address the political reality facing him in the nation, and Wisconsin specifically.
“I doubt that Obama will say much that relates to the priorities of Walker or other Republican governors,” Burden said.
Burden said the president might also bring attention to his accomplishments, which the public might not remember because the stimulus package and health care reform have gotten so much media attention.
While Obama will not discuss Republican issues like health care repeal, Wisconsin’s own Rep. Paul Ryan, will have the opportunity to do so during the Republican rebuttal after the speech.
“I think Ryan will focus on the Republican alternative vision for the economy and the budget deficit and their pledge to repeal and replace health care reform,” said UW political science professor David Canon.
Obama will be in Manitowoc, southwest of Green Bay, on Wednesday.
- The Associated Press contributed to this article