PASADENA, CALIF – President Obama’s sixth state of the union speech didn’t contain any major surprises. Tax the rich, GOP is racist, economy is booming, etc. No surprises does not mean there was a shortage of interesting and strange comments however. The President certainly did not sound like a man who’s party had just lost a midterm election by an overwhelming margin. In the past, presidents have responded to those kind of sweeping elections by moving to the center and promising to work with the victorious party. President Obama? Not so much.
As far as working with Congress goes, the president doesn’t really want to talk about it. There were a few sentences sprinkled into the speech about working with Republicans but Obama was clearly just going through the motions. Each time he mentioned bi-partisanship, he followed it up by reminding everyone that he would veto any bill that opposed his policies and that executive actions were still on the table.
The most striking problem with Obama’s speech was what he said almost nothing about terrorism. When he did mention it, he was bragging about how it wasn’t really a problem anymore. Obama said, “We are 15 years into this new century, 15 years that dawned with terror touching our shores,” He continued, “It has been, and still is, a hard time for many. But tonight, we turn the page.” Not exactly a defiant statement pushing back against the rapid spread of ISIS and increased frequency of terrorist attacks both at home and abroad.
Apparently, the Charlie Hebdo massacre, Ottawa attack, Australia attack, Boston Bombing, Scott Foley beheading, and Oklahoma beheading all represent “turning the page”. That wasn’t all. The President also said that “the shadow of crisis has passed”. Basically, President Obama wants the people to know that he fixed terrorism and while it still exists, it’s not a problem anymore. This state of the union speech was the first time the word “Al-Qaeda” wasn’t mentioned since 2002. Three weeks after Al-Qaeda in Yemen launched the Charlie Hebdo massacre, the President doesn’t mention them once in the state of the union. Scary stuff.
The speech was also filled with several inaccuracies. Here are some of SGR’s favorites:
“I am sending this Congress a bold new plan to lower the cost of community college — to zero.”
Obama’s plan doesn’t lower the cost to zero. It shifts the financial burden to other places. The government can’t just make things free. Someone is paying for it and that someone is ultimately the taxpayers.
“At this moment – with a growing economy, shrinking deficits, bustling industry and booming energy production – we have risen from recession freer to write our own future than any other nation on Earth.”
The meager recovery is far from complete. AP fact checkers point out, “Job growth has been healthy, but fueled in part by lower-paying jobs in areas such as retail and restaurants, which have replaced many higher-paying positions in manufacturing and construction. Part-time jobs also remain elevated: There are still 1.7 million fewer workers with full-time jobs than when the recession began in December 2007.”
As for the shrinking deficits part. That’s just laughable. The extremely small decrease in the deficit from last year to this year doesn’t even remotely address the debt problem. President Obama is on pace to add more to the national debt than every other previous president COMBINED.
“Thanks to a growing economy, the recovery is touching more and more lives. Wages are finally starting to rise again. We know that more small-business owners plan to raise their employees’ pay than at any time since 2007.”
AP explains, “The faster hiring hasn’t pushed up wages much. They have been growing at a tepid pace of about 2 percent a year since the recession ended 5 1/2 years ago. That’s barely ahead of inflation and below the annual pace of about 3.5 percent to 4 percent that is typical of a fully healthy economy.”
Not only that. Middle class wages have fallen to their lowest point in 50 years under this administration.
Those misleading quotes aren’t necessarily unique to President Obama. State of the unions have always served as a way for president’s to brag about the job they are doing but the most alarming statement of the night by far was what the president said about “Climate change”. Obama warned, “No challenge poses a greater threat to future generations than climate change.” Let that sink in. Terrorism, the economy, immigration, foreign policy. None of those issues facing this country are more important than climate change, which scientists haven’t even fully agreed on. Our own government isn’t even sure if this year was the warmest on record or not.
Those who are waiting for President Obama to move to the center are going to be waiting a long time. They will be waiting long after Obama has left office and cemented his legacy as the most divisive president in modern history. This president has no intention of working with Republicans and the next two years promise to be full of political theater, division, and executive actions. More of the same from an administration that promised to be different time and time again.