As promised, I didn’t watch President Obama’s State of the Union address last night but I did read the speech today and spent a bit of my lunch hour seeing what others said about the speech. Without unpacking the whole speech, which would probably take five or six separate posts, I’ll share a couple basic impressions:
1) While it might have been a well-delivered speech on television, on paper the speech came across as petulant, short-sighted, and more than a little bit whiny. If Barack Obama truly wants to be the leader he believes he is, he’s going to have to learn that real leaders don’t blame the last guy to hold the job for all their problems. As well, the President really needs to understand that if he’s going to take an unprecedented shot at another branch of government, he needs to have his facts straight. I keep hearing what a Constitutional whiz Barack Obama is, so either he has a gaping hole in his knowledge base or he’s a liar.
2) I know it’s stylish to make fun of people who call Barack Obama a socialist or a Marxist, but the accusation looks awfully solid when he bakes collectivism right into his speech. He asked Congress to reanimate the stitched-together corpse called Pay-Go last night, but did you notice how his speech was all about raising taxes and *ahem” fees and spending even more money and had little to nothing about how he was going to spend less on other things to cover the trillions of dollars in spending he’s already proposed? That’s how collectivism works, folks. Your money is not yours. Actually, it’s not even ours. It belongs to the smart people who run the government, to spend as they see fit and if they need more, they’ll simply take what they want from whomever they please.
3) What would you call a man who invites top-gun lobbyists to private meetings at the White House the morning after he railed against lobbyists for several paragraphs in his speech the night before? To review, here’s part of what he said:
To close that credibility gap we must take action on both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue to end the outsized influence of lobbyists; to do our work openly; and to give our people the government they deserve.
That’s what I came to Washington to do
I know what I’d call such a man. I suspect that the rest of the country would find a word pretty close to mine.
A couple more thoughts, about the post-speech froofaraw.
1) As I predicted last week, the Republican rebuttal was a solid and well-presented speech that was immediately reduced to a footnote in most press accounts of the speech today. Tomorrow, only political junkies will even remember who gave the speech much less what was in it. Eventually, one party or the other will come to the realization that the “politician in a suit talks to a camera or maybe some people and a camera” is an extraordinary waste of one of the few opportunities a minority party has to command the nation’s attention. I’d rather see the Republicans discover that first, but it doesn’t seem the party is all that ready to be innovative.
2) Chris Matthews is an utter buffoon and every moment he remains on the air reduces the collective IQ of the entire universe. If an alien race showed up and started laser-beaming our major cities to dust because they had watched a few episodes of Hardball and decided that the show constituted a clear and present danger to its civilization, I’d find it difficult to come up with a rational counter-argument.
Lastly, a word for my friend Moe. If given the choice, I’d take corned beef and cabbage over fried liver chunks any day of the week.