President Barack Obama began Tuesday’s State of the Union address by informing the nation that “there is much progress to report” — an early sign that his message was not to be tempered by reality.
Quickly falling into character, Obama reminded us of the collective: “It is our unfinished task to make sure that this government works on behalf of the many, and not just the few.” Wasting little time, he attacked corporate profits in promoting the class warfare that has come to define who he is.
He contradicted himself early and often, beginning with a reminder that the “American people don’t expect government to solve every problem,” insisting “it’s not a bigger government we need” — even as he prescribed more government as the only solution.
Another example of the double-speak came when the most partisan president of our generation lectured Congress that the people “expect us to put the nation’s interests before party.”
On the economy, Obama tossed around a lot of meaningless numbers that may or may not be true, with most falling somewhere in between. In the end, he did not offer any new ideas, although he did present a somewhat unexpected diversion about reforming the tax code.
There were the prerequisite comments about a “balanced approach” to deficit reduction, including spending cuts and revenue — code for more tax increases.
Celebrating efforts “to reduce the deficit by more than $2.5 trillion, mostly through spending cuts,” Obama said we “are more than halfway towards the goal of $4 trillion in deficit reduction that economists say we need to stabilize our finances.”
Never mind that most of those cuts have come by way of future spending increases and amount to little more than accounting tricks — smoke and mirrors — evident by the fact that real spending has increased every year he has been in office.
Throughout the evening, Obama presented partisan rhetoric as fact, although “empty rhetoric” may be a better description. Not that it was hard to ascertain his real agenda.
While he spoke of many things, his passion, or lack thereof, betrayed his priorities. Immigration reform, climate change and gun control will take precedent in his second term, as Obama’s focus shifts to his place in American history.
Outside these issues, the enthusiasm seemed to be lacking. He seemed less condescending. In fact, it may have been one of the most uninspiring speeches Obama has given, as if his message is growing stale even to himself — a sign perhaps that, eventually, we all must “walk the walk.”
In his first joint-session address to Congress on Feb. 24, 2009, Obama spoke of his plan to “build a new foundation for lasting prosperity,” CNS News pointed out.
And every day since, the food stamp program has added approximately 11,269 recipients, an overall increase of 49.3 percent. The total enrolled has now surpassed the entire population of Spain — 47.6 million.
It’s a truth that somehow escapes the conscience of America, assuming it still has a conscience.
“I want you all to know, I will not rest until anybody who’s looking for a job can find one,” Obama said in 2009, according to CNS News, which noted The Weekly Standard’s report that Obama has taken at least 57 vacation days since his vow not to “rest.”
These words without action mean little to those who are paying attention.
Obama closed out his comments Tuesday by reminding us “that this country only works when we accept certain obligations to one another and to future generations.” The words ring hollow considering the unconscionable debt America is saddling tomorrow’s generation with.
As the president referenced “the next great chapter in our American story,” we should all be reminded that this will be a chapter written by future generations destined to live with our actions. Or lack thereof.
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