Peggy Noonan, the Wall Street Journal columnist who is one of my all-time favorite observers of the Washington scene, certainly did. Listen to how she summed up what she heard: “Rhetorically the speech lay there like a lox, as if the document itself knew it was dishonest, felt embarrassed, and wanted to curl up quietly in a corner of the podium and hide. But the president insisted on reading it.”
No, POTUS did not give the SOTUS I expected. He did not move decisively to the center. But I did get one thing right: I had predicted that the State of the Union Speech (SOTUS) by the President of the United States (POTUS) would be filled with promises and platitudes. This one sure was.
But looking at what appeared to be a bored and disbelieving audience, I got the impression that hardly anyone in the House believed him. To be honest, I didn’t either. The image that kept coming back to me during his 62-minute oration was of a man standing there with one arm stretched out — and the other behind his back with his fingers crossed.
Still, I have to admit that there was some very clever oratory. Whichever wordsmith on his staff decided to substitute the word “investment” for “spending” is an absolute genius. A genius whose talents are promoting the dark side, true. But it’s a brilliant rhetorical cover for one of the most damaging legacies of this administration.
And what about that promise to “freeze” federal spending for the next five years? The man has been throwing money around with such abandon that he’s given drunken sailors a bad name. And now we’re supposed to applaud when he says, “Hey, no more increases for five years. Let’s just hold things where they are, okay?”
That is akin to sending a son off to college with a brand-new credit card. For two years he spends like crazy on wine, women and song. Oh, and maybe a book or two. You bail him out again and again, but no sooner have you paid off the staggering balance then there he goes again, running it up to the limit.
Finally, you’ve had enough. You threaten to take the card and cut it into tiny pieces. You tell him that from now on, he’ll be on a strict cash allowance. His response is to promise you that, if you’ll give the card back, he won’t spend any more in the future than he did in the past. Would you accept this as a fair deal? (If you would, let me tell you about some swampland I’d like to sell you.)
When it comes to healthcare, the President urged his audience not to “re-fight the battles of the last two years” but to fix what needs fixing and move on. Nice try, Mr. President, but it ain’t gonna work. In fact, as you know only too well, the House voted the previous week to abolish the entire healthcare monstrosity that you’re so proud of.
Plus, another federal judge has ruled that your bill is unconstitutional. More than half of the States have already initiated legal action to get the measure overturned, and legislation has been put forth in at least 12 states to nullify ObamaCare — that is, to declare it null and void in their states owing to its unconstitutionality. This fight ain’t half-begun, sir. And no amount of pious platitudes from you will change that.
The media reported after the SOTU that the President was interrupted 80 times by applause. You can bet that the White House had orchestrated every palm slap more carefully than a State Dinner. As I watched all of those politicians jump up and down every other sentence or so, I was reminded of a giant game of Whack-A-Mole. Up, down, up, down. All of it was about as spontaneous as a Pittsburgh Steelers’ pass play. Even the participants seemed bored by their actions.
But to be fair, I have to say that there were parts of President Barack Obama’s speech I felt like applauding myself. Such as when he said, “I am prepared to work with Democrats and Republicans to protect our borders [and] enforce our laws.” My problem is that I don’t believe him. Had he been Pinocchio, I think his nose would have grown a foot. In other words (and it saddens me to say this about a U.S. President), I think he was lying through his teeth.
Oh, and what about the doozey that “a parade of lobbyists has rigged the tax code?” Can you name a single lobbyist who ever cast a vote on the floor of the House or Senate? Me neither. But Obama and his buddies cast thousands. Let’s put the blame for our tax code squarely where it belongs, Mr. President — on you and your cronies.
I did like the President’s promise to lower the corporate tax rate “for the first time in 25 years.” I hope he delivers on this one; he’ll have the support of every Tea Partier in Congress if he does.
You probably never thought of it, but many of the most successful companies in America make a huge chunk of their profits — often more than 50 percent — from their sales in other countries. If you’ve traveled abroad recently you know it sometimes seems there is a Starbucks on every street corner, a McDonald’s next to it and Coca-Cola everywhere.
But most of those companies don’t bring their profits back to the U.S. of A. Why should they, when this country has the highest tax on corporate profits in the Western world? If you were the CEO, wouldn’t you keep the money overseas and put it to work there? That’s certainly what your shareholders — the real owners of the business — would want.
And how about the goal of giving 80 percent of us access to high-speed rail in the next 25 years? If people really wanted this, they’d be willing to pay for it. And a bunch of businesses would be eager to put up the money for it. No, this is just more of the same “we know better than you and we’re going to force you to do what we want” that’s led to the astronomical idiocy of ethanol, wind farms and electric cars.
Bah humbug to all the Soviet-style central planners who want to take away our freedom to choose. And then he dares to make a joke about how great it will be when we can travel around the country “without the pat-down.” Who do we have to thank for that gross indecency, Mr. President?
But for absolute effrontery — for a pompous promise that he knew was totally insincere, even as the words tumbled from his mouth — nothing Obama said that night could match this: “Every day families sacrifice to live within their means. They deserve a government that does the same.”
If you think Obama believes a single word of that you shouldn’t be trusted with a dull knife, much less the right to vote.
Until next time, keep some powder dry.
Chip Wood was the first news editor of The Review of the News and also wrote for American Opinion, our two predecessor publications. He is now the geopolitical editor of Personal Liberty Digest, where his Straight Talk column appears twice a month. This article first appeared in PersonalLiberty.com and has been reprinted with permission.