Re: Obama's State of the Union address
posted at 2/13/2013 12:26 PM EST
The commander in chief waxed about children being important for our future and how we should be a country where "if you work hard and meet your responsibilities, you can get ahead." Which we are for the most part, anyway. Also, isn't there a rule about how many times you can use the same line in a speech? Doesn't basic etiquette and decency prevent us from ever hearing this again: "A tax code that ensures billionaires with high-powered accountants can't pay a lower rate than their hard-working secretaries." Yes, we know: Warren Buffett is your friend and his secretary pays a higher tax rate that he does. Is this really the only way to demonstrate the tax code needs to be reformed?
The president has only a few opportunities to speak to the nation, and he blew this one. It was so hackish, so devoid of any theme or purpose, that it makes one wonder whether part of Obama just wants to see how bad he can be before his cultists in the news media can see it. Every speech is exactly what they wish it to be, regardless of reality. His mainstream inaugural speech was treated as a liberal call to arms when it was no such thing. Of course, conservatives thought that. If Obama had announced he just joined the Tea Party, Rush Limbaugh would have seen it as proof that he was a socialist. But why liberals would confuse a boilerplate middle-of-the-road inaugural speech with Das Kapital will be forever befuddling.
Contrary to the claims of both sides, Obama is not a liberal visionary with deep desires to institute a progressive agenda. If he is, he's a miserable failure. You need look no further than his own record (starting with foreign policy) and then Tuesday night's speech for evidence. Banalities and tropes are not a governing philosophy or a plan. The immigration piece was good, but hardly a profile in courage. After all, even the GOP wants immigration reform now. There is also the small fact that Obama promised to deal with immigration in his first term.
The edict on climate change was despotic, not liberal. I believe climate change is a problem and humans contribute to it. However, 'either do what I say or I will just start issuing executive orders' that make green energy companies rich is not the kind of governing we should be lauding, regardless of party or ideological bent.
His plea on gun control was manipulative and empty. It worked thematically, but failed on substance. The only point was to make Republicans look bad, while simultaneously lecturing about compromise and the importance of working together.
Finally, he said the word "deficit," but don't hold your breath for anything there. He spoke of it as if it had just magically appeared yesterday when, in fact, he has been ignoring it for four years while running it up. In that way, he's just like George W. Bush and the GOP-run Congress of yore.
That this underwhelming State of the Union – substantively and stylistically – will be treated as a serious effort reveals the bad shape our country is really in.