Thursday, January 28, 2010

SOTU Reaction and Review

My wish did not come true.

Perhaps I did not have the 'audacity' to hope.

President Barack Obama began his speech with his requisite historical references about former statesmen of our great Republic as well as some of the pointed accomplishments of the 20th century. As a student of history, I always appreciate such historiography's. However it did not take long before Mr. Obama started with his ubiquitous, and often misleading, finger pointing.

Barack Obama cited all of the excessive spending from George W. Bush's administration and finished with "and this was all before I walked in the door," referring to the large deficit he inherited. Obama must not look in the rearview mirror. As John F. Kennedy once said:

"Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democrat's answer, but the right
answer. Let us not seek to fix blame for the past. Let us accept our own
responsibility for the future."

Continuous blame of the previous administration wears thin after you hear it for twelve months or more. No, my wish was for the president to sprinkle in a lot more contrition regarding his own failures as a leader. Indeed, George W. Bush was never contrite about the wrongheadedness of the Iraq war - especially the embarrassment after Hans Blix and company could not find any evidence of weapons of mass destruction.

Why would Obama want to juxtapose his credibility alongside W's? When you are wrong, you are wrong - it's that simple. And the people get that.

And besides, the fact that Obama came out swinging right away about the need to create jobs only solidifies his mismanagement of the previous year. During his inauguration speech in January, 2009, Obama reminded us that his unwavering "priority" was that of the economy and job creation. To now say "it is my number one priority for 2010," rings hollow. This commitment is woefully late.

President Obama did manage to articulate a few nice surprises, however. For example, his allusion to building nuclear plants and raising the specter of off-shore oil drilling was definitely a surprise. Likewise, Obama's position on capital gains tax relief for small business and other tax cuts will surely stimulate the job engine that is small business.

However, the most egregious comment of the night was when he politicized the recent Supreme Court ruling [Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission] that was only a week or so old. With Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr and the balance of the Supreme Court facing Obama in the first row of the congressional chamber, he all but threatened to quickly reverse the de-facto nature of the ruling by professing he would create legislation to counter the effects of the court's ruling.

To be sure, there is absolutely nothing wrong with debating or commenting negatively about Supreme Court cases; however, the SOTU address was not the time and place.

The President here-to-fore needs to posit a mea culpa and apologize to the Supreme Court forthwith.

Mr. Obama's tone seemed to wander back and forth, appeasing the progressive wing of the Democratic Party and then blaming the very same Dems for not putting the country before their own interests.

The President of The United States had a difficult task tonight. He had to find a way to close the credibility gap that he's created over the last twelve months. His task was daunting. He's damned if he addresses Wall Street and bankers in a pejorative tone; and, he's damned if he doesn't realize the overall importance of big banks for the good of the nation's economy.

Sadly, he resorted to too much finger pointing, excuses and a continued insistence of polarization between the two parties. One-party rule begets legislation that is bad for the Republic.

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