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After watching President Obama's State Of The Union (SOTU) speech last night, I have to say, the man simply astounds me. Obama is the ultimate politician, a very good performer. I have to give him that much. He knows how to give a speech. They say politics is the art of manipulation (or maybe it's just me saying it). Obama has that game down pat. He knows how to tell people what they want to hear, and more importantly, he knows how to leave out the parts people don't want to hear, the parts Obama doesn't want the people to know.
If you had arrived in America for the first time yesterday and listened to Obama's SOTU, you'd think things were going really well in America. If all you listened to was this President, you'd think he has done a fabulous job, because he told you he has. You wouldn't know how deeply we are in debt. You wouldn't know we have record deficits. You wouldn't know our entitlement programs are unfunded. You wouldn't know unemployment is so high. You wouldn't know our public schools are falling short. You wouldn't know our health care costs are still skyrocketing. You wouldn't know we're on an unsustainable fiscal path. You wouldn't know the federal government is borrowing 43 cents out of every dollar it spends. You wouldn't know Obama's net record on private sector job creation is below zero. You wouldn't know the federal government is spending more money than at any other time in American history barring WWII. You wouldn't know we have record numbers of people on government assistance. You wouldn't know energy costs are rising. You wouldn't know so many people had simply given up looking for work. You wouldn't know any of these things, and that's my first major problem with Obama's speech. He managed to give a State Of The Union speech without ever leveling with the American people about the actual state of the union.
The reason the President didn't level with the American people is simple - he wasn't giving a SOTU speech at all. He was giving his re-election speech. He was campaigning last night. What we witnessed was Obama's 2012 strategy.
Obama started out by giving our troops well-deserved congratulations for carrying out their missions in Iraq and Afghanistan:
These achievements are a testament to the courage, selflessness, and teamwork of America’s Armed Forces. At a time when too many of our institutions have let us down, they exceed all expectations. They’re not consumed with personal ambition. They don’t obsess over their differences. They focus on the mission at hand. They work together. Imagine what we could accomplish if we followed their example.
Yes, imagine what we could accomplish if we all worked together...and forget all about the fact that Obama and his Democratic party tried for years to LOSE the Iraq War when our President was named Bush.
Obama followed the above statement with this one:
Think about the America within our reach: A country that leads the world in educating its people. An America that attracts a new generation of high-tech manufacturing and high-paying jobs. A future where we’re in control of our own energy, and our security and prosperity aren’t so tied to unstable parts of the world. An economy built to last, where hard work pays off, and responsibility is rewarded.
Okay, Mr. President, I am thinking about these things...and I can't help but remember that you are against school vouchers that would help the poorest kids in the worst schools attend better schools. I can't help but remember that your party opposed No Child Left Behind to measure school performance. I can't help but remember that you put the special interests of the teachers unions above all else. I can't help but remember how your party's anti-business, anti-wealth, anti-capitalist, high tax rhetoric and legislation does precisely the opposite of attracting high-tech, high-paying jobs to this country. I can't help but remember how you opposed energy independence by shooting down the Keystone XL pipeline from Canada. I can't help but remember how your party opposes drilling in ANWR. Why aren't we "working together" on these things ??? Why is it only "working together" when you get what you want ?
Obama spoke of the promise of America:
...the basic American promise that if you worked hard, you could do well enough to raise a family, own a home, send your kids to college, and put a little away for retirement.
Sure, Barry. Your Democrats pushed for higher home ownership for decades...and then when those policies blew up in all our faces and brought the economy to it's knees, you pretended you had nothing to do with it. Your Democrats created Social Security for our retirements...and then the government raided the Social Security Trust Fund, leaving us nothing but a bunch of IOU's to fund our retirements. And now you're doing the same thing to federal pension programs. Excuse me if I'm not overly impressed with the way we've been "working together" up until now.
As is Obama's habit, he splits the world into an "us vs. them" battle:
We can either settle for a country where a shrinking number of people do really well, while a growing number of Americans barely get by. Or we can restore an economy where everyone gets a fair shot, everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same set of rules. What’s at stake are not Democratic values or Republican values, but American values. We have to reclaim them.
Liberals always lose me with this scarecrow tactic. On the heels of his "we should all work together" remarks, Obama immediately begins splitting us apart, putting the wealthy into one box and everyone else into another box. That's not how things actually work. In reality, we're all in the same box. For example, if Steve Jobs becomes a billionaire by creating and selling his products, that in turn creates jobs and prosperity for others. It creates economic growth and opportunity. That's how "everyone gets a fair shot". It's a symbiotic relationship, but liberals pretend the wealth of a person like Steve Jobs somehow comes at the expense of someone else. Liberals pretend Steve Jobs is somehow stealing from the poor. Their position is absurd and counterproductive.
Not everything in Obama's speech was wrong, however. He made some good points, and many of those points should be attractive to Republicans. In fact, entire segments of Obama's speech sounded like things Republicans have been saying for years, as follows:
...we have a huge opportunity, at this moment, to bring manufacturing back. But we have to seize it...companies that choose to stay in America get hit with one of the highest tax rates in the world. It makes no sense, and everyone knows it.
Correct, Mr. President. I've been telling your liberal brethren that for years. They never believe me. Hopefully, they will believe you. What are the President's specific plans ?:
First, if you’re a business that wants to outsource jobs, you shouldn’t get a tax deduction for doing it. That money should be used to cover moving expenses for companies like Master Lock that decide to bring jobs home.
Second, no American company should be able to avoid paying its fair share of taxes by moving jobs and profits overseas. From now on, every multinational company should have to pay a basic minimum tax. And every penny should go towards lowering taxes for companies that choose to stay here and hire here in America.
Third, if you’re an American manufacturer, you should get a bigger tax cut. If you’re a high-tech manufacturer, we should double the tax deduction you get for making your products here. And if you want to relocate in a community that was hit hard when a factory left town, you should get help financing a new plant, equipment, or training for new workers.
So my message is simple. It is time to stop rewarding businesses that ship jobs overseas, and start rewarding companies that create jobs right here in America. Send me these tax reforms, and I will sign them right away.
Hmmm. That wasn't very specific, but it will play well. If the President wants Congress to "send me these tax reforms", it would be helpful if he spelled them out. Obama also co-opted the Republicans 'All Of The Above" position on energy.
No Obama speech would be complete without his usual basket of distortions and falsehoods. I don't call him the Great Prevaricator for nothing. Here are a few:
I set a goal of doubling U.S. exports over five years. With the bipartisan trade agreements we signed into law, we’re on track to meet that goal ahead of schedule.
Facts - U.S. exports were $1.842 trillion in 2008 before Obama. U.S. exports were $1.837 trillion in 2010 (link). Doesn't sound like were "on track" to double exports to me.
On immigration, Obama said:
I believe as strongly as ever that we should take on illegal immigration. That’s why my administration has put more boots on the border than ever before. That’s why there are fewer illegal crossings than when I took office.
It's true that illegal border crossings are down, but it's the recession that accomplished it. Fewer illegals come here for jobs when there aren't any jobs.
Here's one that made me want to throw a brick at my television:
During the Great Depression, America built the Hoover Dam and the Golden Gate Bridge. After World War II, we connected our states with a system of highways. Democratic and Republican administrations invested in great projects that benefited everybody, from the workers who built them to the businesses that still use them today.
In the next few weeks, I will sign an executive order clearing away the red tape that slows down too many construction projects. But you need to fund these projects. Take the money we’re no longer spending at war, use half of it to pay down our debt, and use the rest to do some nation-building right here at home.
There’s never been a better time to build, especially since the construction industry was one of the hardest hit when the housing bubble burst. Of course, construction workers weren’t the only ones who were hurt.
Gee, if only we had spent some money on infrastructure during Obama's reign...like the $800 billion stimulus package that was passed !!! That was sold to us as "shovel ready projects" to rebuild our infrastructure, but it seems our infrastructure was NOT rebuilt with that money. Unbelievable.
Here's another example of Obama adopting a faux Republican stance in a pretense of bipartisanship:
There’s no question that some regulations are outdated, unnecessary, or too costly. In fact, I’ve approved fewer regulations in the first three years of my presidency than my Republican predecessor did in his.
LOL. Obama as a regulation reducer ??? Not hardly. Here are the facts:
The report says the Obama administration has "imposed 75 new major regulations costing more than $380 billion over ten years." In addition, the report says there are 219 more "economically significant regulations" in the works which will cost businesses $100 million or more each year -- for a minimum cost of $21 billion over ten years. The number of pages in the Federal Register, in which such rules are recorded, is increasing rapidly, the report says, and "pages devoted to final rules rose by 20 percent between 2009 and 2010, and proposed rules have increased from 2,044 in 2009 to 2,439 in 2010."
But the biggest laugh-out-loud line of all from the Great Prevaricator was this one:
I’m a Democrat. But I believe what Republican Abraham Lincoln believed: That government should do for people only what they cannot do better by themselves, and no more.
Ho-ly crap-salad. I can't believe he said that. Is this the same guy who has increased federal spending by $900 billion per year in only three years on the job ? Is this the same guy who created the largest new entitlement since Medicare ? Is this the same guy who passed an $800 stimulus ? Is this the same guy who proposes new federal spending for everything imaginable, and is running up record debt because of it ? Allow me to explain what liberals believe people cannot do for themselves. Liberals believe people can't feed themselves, house themselves, obtain medical care, save for their own retirements, choose a school for their kids to attend, choose what food to eat, choose a mortgage, pay for college, pay their energy bills, understand credit card terms, find a job without the government's help, invest wisely, etc, etc. I could go on and on. About the only thing liberals believe people CAN do for themselves is pay taxes. Outside of that, they think we're a bunch of helpless children who wouldn't know enough to come in out of the rain without the loving assistance of Big Brother.
If you want to know the true state of the union, you'll get a much more accurate picture from the Republican response to Obama's speech, from Gov. Mitch Daniels: