Did we really need another speech [text] by Obama to remind us that his solution to nearly every problem is more spending and to raise taxes? Yet that's pretty much what we got in Tuesday's State of the Union Address. Writing at the Washington Post Jennifer Rubin summarizes the speech this way:
If you were looking for signs the president learned anything from his 2014 thumping, you were disappointed. If you had hopes he had a coherent foreign policy they were dashed. If you expected the president to double down and emphasize areas where impasse is certain you were prescient.It didn't surprise me that Obama delivered another left wing address. Despite saying "we are still more than a collection of red states and blue states;  we are the United States of America," Obama's speech was directed at cheering on his liberal base which clearly was demoralized after the November election. The speech itself ranked only slightly behind his other SOTU addresses for it's hardcore left wing ideological appeal. Here's the key graph from a study at Real Clear Politics showing how extreme Obama's SOTU speeches are in relation to other recent presidents:
Also, he added the obligatory plea for civility:
OBAMA: Understand, a better politics isn’t one where Democrats abandon their agenda or Republicans simply embrace mine. A better politics is one where we appeal to each other’s basic decency instead of our basest fears. A better politics is one where we debate without demonizing each other; where we talk issues and values, and principles and facts, rather than “gotcha” moments, or trivial gaffes, or fake controversies that have nothing to do with people’s daily lives.Wouldn't it be nice if Obama lived up to that promise. Yet demonizing Republicans is what he does best. There are so many examples of Obama using the most extreme, partisan rhetoric to attack Republicans (1,2,3,4,5...) It's a staple by now that anyone disagreeing with him is either racist, stupid, evil or all three.
Middle Class Flim Flam
Seven times Obama reference the Middle Class in his speech. It's another staple of Obama's speeches. But like all the others his concern for improving the lot of the Middle Class evaporates once the camera is turned off. It's no secret that the rich have gotten richer under Obama. It's also no secret that the Middle Class is worse off now then when he was elected.
As a recent Reuters story points out:
Barack Obama enters the final two years of his presidency with a blemish on his legacy that looks impossible to erase: the decline of the middle class he has promised to rescue.Michael Snyder documents 27 facts that show how much worse off things are for those in the Middle Class. But perhaps we need to put the issue in perspective with a few charts:
Foreign Policy An Even Bigger Hot Mess
When it comes to foreign policy it would appear that the speechwriters simply cut and pasted old soundbites. Nothing new. Obama declared that we are "stopping ISIL’s advance" In Iraq and Syria and repeated the pledge to "destroy" ISIL "ultimately" whatever that means. Yet facts on the ground remain stubborn. True, ISIL (I prefer ISIS but I'll go with ISIL for now) hasn't totally overrun Iraq and have been pushed back in some places. But they continue to expand in others. The Pentagon lists thousands of vehicles, tanks and other targets destroyed or damaged. But after months of limited strikes it's hard to see how the effort will succeed in the goals Obama has laid out at this rate.
Obama also claimed that his policy to punish Russia for invading Ukraine was a success:
OBAMA:Second, we’re demonstrating the power of American strength and diplomacy. We’re upholding the principle that bigger nations can’t bully the small -- by opposing Russian aggression, and supporting Ukraine’s democracyYet Russia still holds Crimea and large chunks of eastern Ukraine. Can he really claim to support democracy in Ukraine when it's being dismembered by force?
He also claimed success in forestalling Iran's nuclear ambitions when he said "we’ve halted the progress of its nuclear program and reduced its stockpile of nuclear material." Yet by all accounts all Iran has to do to build a nuclear weapon is flip a switch and the program resumes.
The Good News
One bright spot and prime achievement for Obama was that this State of the Union was witnessed by the most Republican and fewest Democrat legislators to witness such an event since the late 1920s. Obama has managed to unmake all the legislative gains that have lasted for generations until his time.
More good news comes as we learn from a recent study that Obama's record for enacting State of the Union promises is the worst among all two term Presidents since Lyndon Johnson. Only Gerald Ford, who only served two years had a worse record.
And as we all know by now, after Obama completes his latest campaign swing that's likely to be the last time we hear of these promises. Obama's habit is to make a speech, declare problem solved then move on to the next "fake controversy."
Still better news is that we only have to endure one more of these speeches until Obama leaves office!