The Cycle | February 12, 2013
>>> we can think of no one more appropriate for the guest spot on this big political day than our resident washington expert dr. j , j -dog, politico's jonathan allen . boom! welcome.
>> what's wrong with you today?
>> thank you very much. i just want to say that the state of our union is alaska.
>> nice. i like it.
>> i'm always waiting far state to get named after that park.
>> they say state of the union is wrong. the president should pick a state --
>> congratulations, alaska. you are the state of our union.
>> especially given that --
>> confetti falls.
>> a pageant every year. we'll have a miss alaska . let me get to my questions, please. before this goes totally off the rails.
>> as if it's not already there.
>> i want to bring up the piece you have up in politico right now. you talk about obama's housing stunt a year ago. president obama and the state of the union promised a task force of prosecutors. to come after wall street firms on those broken mortgages and you say it went nowhere and earned criticism even of liberal allies. additionally, glen kessler has some broken promises up on "the washington post ." does anyone really pay attention to the promises? handed out in a state of the union and then go back and hold anyone to them or is this just for show anyway?
>> sounds like politico and "the washington post " only ones doing that right now. people generally don't pay attention to what the president's proposals are. he's been talking about a national infrastructure bank for years now.
>> i guarantee you hear about him wanting innovation and nobody really goes back and checks on most of these promises. obviously, the very big ones saying i intend to get an immigration bill done this year, that's something the people keep tabs on, gun control legislation, sure. but a lot of times the presidents roll out the task forces and other programs to build and people really don't check up on what's going on with them. they may establish them and then let them die. this particular working group that we're talking about the residential mortgages working group has more words in the title over the past year and trying to build that up a little bit and end of the day it's reorganizing the government shares.
>> well, and a lot of times it's phrased more as a call to action than as actual i'm going to do x and y and z and one that you point out was a promise made. but we talked about this yesterday. who is the speech really for? is this more for members of congress to send a signal to them where his negotiating position is or more for the public to rally them behind the causes that the president cares about?
>> before television cameras this was a speech for congress . since television cameras covering the event it's absolutely nothing to do with congress other than an opportunity for the president to lecture or scold members of congress sitting in front of him for the benefit of the public to help the public get angry at congress for what it is or isn't doing. the president in particular used it for that effect over the course of his presidency.
>> to that point, the president will announce tonight that half of the troops still in afghanistan coming home . within a year. 34,000 men and women coming home from afghanistan . so political junkies know this. to mention this tonight is to make sure that the public who you just said is who the speech is for the public understands what the president's doing right now in afghanistan . right?
>> yeah. that's something that's absolutely important to him. it's something that he has promised to do when he first came in to office. he ordered up a surge in afghanistan , something like although very different from the iraq surge . but it was always his intention to draw back as fast as possible after trying to stabilize the region there. you know? there's different interpretations of exactly where we are along that course. obviously, there's still attacks going on in afghanistan but the president has long wanted to draw down from afghanistan and this then becomes part of the fulfillment of that promise he' made on the campaign trail and in office in the course of the presidency.
>> the other story playing out in washington today is chuck hagel 's nomination of defense secretary . there was a report of major garret saying it looked like susan collins is leaning toward voting yes and john mccain said he doesn't want to filibuster and looks like it will get through. if and when that happens, all the attention then will move to john brennan to be the cia director . we have the hearings last week and roughed up by a couple of senators. overall i'm struck by the volume of outrage of congress which is sort of, you know, to date, left out of this entire decision make process about drones and sort of the, you know, talking -- getting any information about what's happened after the drones go out and kill people. are you surprised, jonathan, by the lack of sort of, you know, audible outrage from congress over this?
>> i think you've got two things at work. one is that the republicans largely agree with the president's targeted killing program, that is to say drone strikes and other ways of killing top targeted terrorists on a very individual basis. and you've got most democrats either agree with the policy or willing to give president of their own party a lot of leash on it and hearing the very far left and far right with concerns and then occasionally some of the folks in the middle expressing concerns and probably not the type of concerns to lead them to stop the president from having the defense team that he wants in place.
>> all right. dr. j , j -dog, thank you very much.
>> have fun tonight.
>> you, too.
>> is it a party?
>>> facebook fans have interesting expectations for tonight like ray saying since i doubt the state of the union will call for a-rod to retire i would guess the economy. sorry, roy. i doubt --
>> it says a-rod.
>> mine it says a-roid. like us and complete the president's iconic statement. the state of the union is blank. tweet us to share your tos to.
>>> up next, are you biassed? no way. right? our next guest says we all are a little bit and still good people. find out how to test your own blind