Only 28% of Americans believe the country is on the right track and Barack Obama’s 2014 State of the Union address will not instill much confidence that the president will get the nation on the right railway anytime soon.
His address was short on solutions for problems that are important to the American public and high on sops for the Democratic Party’s base politics and heavy divisive rhetoric.
Had a Republican delivered a similar State of the Union in a conservative vein, it would have been called a “red meat” speech.
What Obama served up was a “vegan buffet” of political shout outs for gay marriage, gun control, a form of amnesty for illegal immigrants, eternal unemployment benefits, closing Gitmo, fighting global warming- scratch that- climate change, an almost 30% increase in the national minimum wage and alleged gender pay inequality.
With the exception of minimum wage (who wouldn’t want a raise?), Obama’s priorities as president are totally out of sync with those of the country.
The president’s speech was not to America but to its segments and leftist special interest organizations, reminding each that despite his best efforts they remain victims of a racist, misogynistic plutocracy.
That he presides over this oppressive system and is in part responsible seems equally lost on him and his carved out constituencies.
And when the president wasn’t preaching to his political base he was spinning tall tales about what his administration has actually achieved.
Obama shamelessly took credit for increased domestic petroleum production, which his officials had impeded through their previous drilling moratorium in the Gulf of Mexico.
The president’s false assurances about his success to stymie Iran’s drive to become a nuclear power belie a hope that Tehran won’t develop nuclear weapons until a different White House has to manage that crisis.
Obama equating Ronald Reagan’s negotiations with Moscow on nuclear weapons reductions with his administration’s engagement towards Tehran is like comparing apples to battleships. The Kremlin was at least somewhat sensitive to world opinion while Iran at times seems to operate in another dimension.
The Iranian Supreme Leader is no doubt pleased that Obama has declared to Congress and the world that the president has his back via his threat to veto legislation that would hit Iran with sanctions if negotiations regarding their nuclear program fail to bear fruit.
The specific subject of his executive order unilateralism notwithstanding, the president’s professed resolution to “go it alone” when Congress does not give him what he wants is troubling.
Between his browbeating the judicial branch into sustaining his agenda and his threats to utilize executive orders to bypass the legislative process, our constitutional law professor president barely contains his contempt for America’s checks and balances.
A presidency that had initially defined itself with eloquence has devolved into one of pandering, audacity and arrogance.
The GOP Response(s)
Underscoring the divisions within the GOP, three Republican members of Congress gave high profile rebuttals to the Obama State of the Union, with Washington State US Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers delivering the official response that was carried by the major networks.
Rodgers’s speech was not so much a point-by-point refutation but a counter to the Left’s narrative that the Republican Party was waging a war on women. On that point, she performed a great service for the GOP through her rise from working at McDonald’s to holding a position in Congress.
To her further credit Rodgers did not back away from the party’s social conservatism, comfortably presenting the GOP’s defense for protecting the unborn.
She also challenged the president on the failures of his national health care program and informed Americans that scrapping ObamaCare does not mean an automatic return to what existed prior to the adoption of the president’s signature legislative accomplishment. The Republicans have a plan even if it is bottled up by the Democratic-controlled US Senate and ignored by the mainstream media.
The messages given by TEA Party aligned US Senators Rand Paul and Mike Lee did not stumble into each other or counter Rodgers’s address. They were in essence different shades of the same color.
The Democratic Party and media have worked to stigmatize the loose yet potent network of grassroots activists that helped the GOP retake the House after the establishment debacles of 2006 and 2008 and Republican leaders in Congress have enabled those vilification efforts by punishing members who embrace the TEA Party.
The Republican establishment needs to learn to accept, live and work with the TEA Party or be prepared to go the way of Canada’s late Progressive Conservative Party.