In the 2013 State of the Union Address President Obama set the path of his 2nd term in broad statements, threats, redefined legal terms, and used the untimely deaths of children to guilt Congress into action. It was quite the speech indeed.
The first third of the State of the Union dealt primarily with the economy. President Obama highlighted how the nation uses less foreign oil, and is in on stronger footing. He left out the fact that the recession forced less energy use, and higher gas prices have caused more Americans to curtail their travel. He left out the fact that after his first term the national debt now stands at $16.4 trillion, nearly an unsustainable level.
President Obama left unsaid any comment on why Congress has been unable to pass a budget since he was elected. He neglected to explain why he has only presented 2 budget proposals (both receiving 0 votes in the Democrat-led Senate). How can any nation progress and improve the lives of its citizens when the central Government cannot even present an idea of what it plans to spend?
To these points the President blamed the partisanship in the nation. A partisanship that he has encouraged and engaged in. An engagement that the President displayed in ignoring the Republican ideas on health care reform, or reform of Social Security and Medicare.
In fact President Obama emphasized that the Sequester, the potential automatic cuts in Government spending that he was a critical part of creating, was a partisan issue without any other basis. That the emphasis must be placed on higher taxes, and less on spending reduction – even as he admitted spending was the largest cause of the national debt.
The State of the Union Address then went on to note a reform to healthcare costs, that have continued to increase even as Obamacare has continued its path to full activation. The President stated that health care must be priced based on quality of care, but made no indication of how such pricing should occur. What is quality care? How much is that worth? Who gets to decide, the Goverment or the public?
At this point the President transitioned to recycle old promises from previous State of the Union speeches. Once again President Obama offered a reform of the tax code which his Administration has made no effort to enact over the past 4 years. He again suggested that infrastructure must be a focus, this time giving it the title of “fix it first” as opposed to “shovel ready jobs”. He once again targeted education, this time focusing on preschool as opposed to the kindergarten to 12th grade proposal made previously.
Along with the other recycled ideas of the prior SOTU’s, there was the issue of global warming. The President offered Superstom Sandy, and recent floods and wildfires as proof of man-made global warming. Yet the issue of climate change has been challenged on its merits as science justifying political preferences. Ultimately there is nothing that proves man-made global warming, other than Al Gore saying so. But this issue has one outcome – the one that President Obama wants. The threat of Executive Orders in the face of Congress failing to act as the President desires was clear and present.
President Obama also promised to create a new comission, which only harkens back to the prior commission of Bowles-Simpson and the President’s Job Council. Each provided proposals, none of which were enacted by the President. In fact the whole focus of the SOTU on manufacturing was a proposal from his Jobs Council that has sat without attention at the President’s lap for months. If its such a great idea, why has President Obama waited to present it until today?
President Obama also emphasized the need for developing oil and gas, issues that he has blocked in the past. The Keystone Pipeline, deep-water oil, and more. Thus confusing where is the President’s real emphasis, until he spoke about renewable energy. The President offered a general statement of success in the feild, and lower cost for solar energy and improved batteries – but left out the bankruptcies of Solyndra and A123 Systems and others that the Obama Administration had determined were winners. It was because of this successful strategy that the President wants to dedicate more funds and provide tax breaks, while at the same time creating new taxes on oil and gas companies that ultimately will affect consumer costs.
Most distressingly the President intends to expand the power of the Executive. He clearly stated that if Congress does not pass laws, on global warming and voting, he will act unilaterally. Unilateral action already taken on cyber security and gun restrictions. Usurping the American people and the legal system of the nation. It can only be taken as a threat, that if Congress does not do what the President wants, it will happen anyway – a stance that Senator Obama stated was an abuse of power.
The threat of action was not limited to Congress but to the private sector as well. Colleges have now come into the crosshairs of the Obama Administration. Colleges must perform under the guidelines of the Obama Administration or else federal aid will be denied these institutions.
There was a mention, in highly unspecific terms, of Governmental oversight on fatherhood. Stated as an emphasis to encourage fatherhood, no comment was made as to the consequence of being a bad father. Nor was any indication made of what encouragement might involve.
The minimum wage was addressed, a subject sure to gain attention and draw the masses. Yet the proposed $9 per hour minimum wage overlooked the fact that in a struggling economy many businesses, especially small businesses, cannot affotd this rate. It avoided the direct conclusion that for many businesses, to afford this new minimum rate, prices must be increased – creating inflation – or employees must be let go – increasing unemployment.
Women in the military was a highlight. Obfuscated in the praise of female soldiers was the question of this new equality including women in a draft? Never addressed is the concern for women being raped by the enemy, or killed while pregnant.
President Obama declared victory over Al Qa’ida, or more specifically its core as he admitted multiple splinter groups have taken the place of the main organization. Because of this most troops will be pulled from Afgnaistan – ending an occupation as President Obama called it. This will not remove all troops, but more importantly in calling it an occupation it highlighted the view of the Commander-n-Chief on the troops he commands. But he avoided drawing attention to the expanded power of the Executive to issue drone strikes against American citizens abroad.
On immigration the President redefined citizenship as not pertaining to the legal status of individuals of the nation. What definition he did offer in its replacement was a feel-good thought that if a person is in the nation and feels American, they are.
There are a few more areas covered by the SOTU speech, but we conclude with issue of gun restriction. President Obama offered the choice to either support his view, and Executive Orders, or to support gang shootings and the murder of children. He focused attention of the gathered masses to Gabby Giffords, Newtown, Aroura, and other locations and victims of gun violence. It was a call to action based on guilt and fear of being ostracized – motivations that do nothing to prove the merit of his views. Perhaps the lack of justification was because VP Biden has already been cited, by CNN, as acknowledging that passage of the gun restrictions will not make anyone safer. In fact, President Obama stated as much, and pressed the guilt anyway.
The 2013 State of the Union Address was amazingly troubling. Not because of its partisanship, not because of its lack of clarity. In this SOTU, the President demanded action under his terms or else. He abandoned reasoning in place of guilt. He carefully worded success in the face of failure. He recycled promises that his Administration abandoned without a second thought in his first term, and refocused efforts on failed programs that did nothing to improve the economy or jobs.
President Obama is an eloquent speaker, but in paying attention to his words few could identify the man elected in 2008 let alone the man that ran in 2012. What is the State of the Union? It will be fine, so long as we pass the laws that the President likes, forget about concerns of the national debt, open the national borders to anyone that wants to enter the nation, and don’t concern ourselves about the loss of Rights of the individual and greater power of the Government.
Yes, troubling indeed.