“I’ll act on my own.”
Those were the most memorable words in tonight’s State of the Union address, delivered as if we Americans had elected a monarch rather than a servant of the people.
There were no big surprises in SOTU this evening. It was mostly rehash, retread, recycle– the usual worn ideas that feel good but lack substance or logic. The disjointed speech, punctuated mostly by Democratic applause, was oozing socialism and Green Gospel, as evidenced by the emphatic statement “climate change is a fact!” among others. I am passionate about protecting the environment but I do not believe in using questionable science to force people into a particular, micromanaged way of life.
This speech should have spent some time addressing the questions, controversies, and failures surrounding this administration. Benghazi, anyone? We now know that this administration was lying to us about not knowing the attack on the consulate in Libya was a terrorist act. Details continue to come out. Using the IRS to target the Tea Party? The NSA spying on us? The financial horror stories associated with ObamaCare?
The list goes on and I’m floored that Obama still has a job. A Republican would have been tarred, feathered, and run out of town a couple of years ago. Someone listening to this speech who doesn’t normally follow politics would think America’s in good shape and that these elected officials are doing an admirable job. Obama had all sorts of statistics and anecdotes to, in a sense, give himself a congratulatory handshake. I noted the mediocre applause at some of these moments (and wondered if new math was involved).
Obama wants to:
-“Fix our broken immigration system” (while continuing to import violent and misogynistic people from countries that don’t like us and also those who won’t assimilate).
-“Renew unemployment insurance.” (He called on Republicans to keep unemployment benefits going and asked Congress to give the unemployed a chance. I know how miserable unemployment is. I’ve been through it. But from what bank account is this “chance” being drawn on? We’re overdrawn by trillions.)
-Raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10 an hour. He also asked employers to up their employees’ wages (as if wages are given and a right, not earned, and with no regard for the consequences that such unfunded mandates will have on businesses and government).
-Health insurance: “We’re already fixing health insurance.” (Um, what? The poorly implemented monstrosity that makes some of us pay for health insurance for all of us is fixing things?)
-“Citizenship means standing up for everyone’s right to vote.” Who would have a problem with that if the people are American citizens with proper ID and can prove it?
Here I must pause from my bullet points and note a change in Obama’s eyes when he talked about terrorism. I find it important to monitor someone’s nonverbal communication as well as their words. There was a shift when he got on this topic and I saw a darkness there, an intensity, that suddenly got my attention.
While he made it sound like he’s for America and against terrorists, pray tell why he sends our tax dollars and support to organizations that seek to deny others freedom? For example, he came down on the Egyptians for ousting the freedom-devouring, bigoted Muslim Brotherhood. Because of the aid denied them, Egypt is looking to Russia for help. In Syria and other places, he’s supported toppling regimes in the name of democracy only to have more radical, violent powers take their place.
You can see where OUR money has been going at the ForeignAssistance.gov website. OUR money is going to places like Syria and Pakistan where it can and according to some reports has fallen into the hands of al-Qaeda and the Taliban. Since when are Americans obliged to fund both sides of a war, and how reckless is that? How can you claim to stand for your country and its soldiers if you’re helping the wrong team? The word treason comes to mind.
Tonight Obama claimed, “I have used force when needed” and that he won’t send troops unless its necessary. He claims he’s getting us out of foreign conflicts. But what about the troops being sent to Somalia and Nigeria? Why the discussion about sending troops to Syria? Like many people, I have trouble believing that he wants to stay out of war when possible new fronts keep popping up.
-“…the privacy of ordinary people not being violated.” (This is another “um, what?” moment. Our privacy has already been violated. The leaders of other countries like Germany have complained about being spied on as well.)
-“…an independent state for Palestinians” followed by “America will always be at Israel’s side.” (This administration wants the Israelis to give up essential security to appease their enemies, including those who want to wipe all Jews from the face of the earth. That’s called genocide and nothing but that will appease some terrorist groups.)
-“…halted Iran’s nuclear program.” (No, Iran is well aware that they can keep working towards their bombs and we just helped them by lifting sanctions that should have stayed in place. The “deal” he struck is a joke. It is not in America’s– or the world’s– best interest. A majority of Democrats and Republicans want to reinstate sanctions. Obama said he would veto any bill doing that. By the way, the release of Americans being held in Iran, including Pastor Saeed Abedini, has been left out of recent discussions.)
-“We must give diplomacy a chance to succeed.” (Memo to POTUS: wasn’t it Spock who said that the purpose of diplomacy is to prolong a crisis? Diplomacy doesn’t work with radicals who want to murder millions of people and forcefully impose their way of life on the rest of the world.)
-“I’ll cut red tape.” (Good. Start with the roiling snarl of red tape proposed in this address. What an ironic statement considering how much control he wants the federal government to have.)
-“Get those bills to my desk– put more Americans back to work.” (How about freeing the actual powers that create jobs and letting the economy and incomes grow in their natural habitat, which will ultimately increase revenue?)
SOTU 2014 read more like a campaign speech given in an undecided blue collar town than a statement of where our country’s at and where it’s headed. It was about what Obama is going to do rather than the actual state of things. It sounded like IF THOSE UNREASONABLE, SELFISH REPUBLICANS WOULD JUST GET OUT OF HIS WAY, HE’D HANDLE IT. That was really my take away from this recitation of discontinuous, empty promises– “let me handle it.”
It’s clear that he plans to use executive orders to push his agenda and get around those pesky Republicans who still believe that government should have limits, checks, and balances. But let’s not forget that executive orders were generally not intended for that purpose and the next guy who sits in the Oval Office can undo them. Additionally, the Constitution says that there is to be a separation of power– Congress makes laws, the President implements the laws, and the Supreme Court interprets the laws. Those lines have been blurred.
Most people who watched SOTU will realize that it should have projected more power and confidence than it did, right or wrong. It should have had a lot more to say about foreign policy and been more transparent about foreign affairs. This was an opportunity to say, in a roundabout way, that the executive branch will do better for Americans in spite of past problems. But that strength wasn’t there.
The bottom line is that we are being expected to give this administration even more trust and more power, something millions of people on both sides of the political spectrum aren’t willing to do. Many Democrats and Republicans don’t trust it anymore.We question if decisions are being made in the best interest of our country or some other power(s).
Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers (of Washington! Home state pride!) had a friendly and flowing response to POTUS’ SOTU, reminding America that if we give the people power, rather than the government, we will greatly improve our situation. This is the same principle I cite when sounding off about leadership and management– true leaders empower their people, not micromanage them.
So we hope the President will join us in a year of real action – by empowering people – not making their lives harder with unprecedented spending, higher taxes, and fewer jobs. As Republicans, we advance these plans every day because we believe in a government that trusts people and doesn’t limit where you finish because of where you started. That is what we stand for – for an America that is every bit as compassionate as it is exceptional. If we’re successful… Years from now our children will say that we rebuilt the American Dream.
Republicans could have focused more on specific issues and provided better solutions than POTUS offered. Tonight’s approach seemed to be about being relatable instead. So while I was impressed with McMorris Rodgers’ delivery and candor, I wanted more meat and potatoes. A lot more. (Senator Mike Lee actually satisfied a some of this hunger with the Tea Party’s response.)
Overall, I feel like what I got was mostly marshmallow fluff followed by a piece of warm apple pie. There is too much at stake in the world to be fluffy. Our soldiers are still dying. Radical Islam is rising. Millions of Americans don’t participate in their government because they’ve lost faith. The middle class is being crushed. We need resolute, decisive leadership that can recover from mistakes and restore people’s confidence.
As a woman who grew up watching Reagan be that kind of leader, I’m reminded of what he said about government: “Government’s view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.” That’s basically what I heard tonight and I hope that principled leaders of all parties will step up to take a more logical approach to our country’s issues than that. Our government keeps writing checks that we can’t cash and spending more will only weaken our position on the world stage.
More meat and potatoes, please.
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