Beware the word “investment.” If there were ever a code word for more spending and higher taxes, “investment” is the king of hill. Barack Obama used the word thirteen times in his State of the Union address on Tuesday night. Eleven of those thirteen came before he ever uttered the word “debt.” That contrast pretty much sums up the speech. While the Republican response and the Tea Party speech both focused on the topics that were at the heart of voter discontent (big government and too much spending), Obama was off in a different direction.
Let me start by noting that the speech was dull, dull, dull. Some pundits described it as “flat,” and that’s an apt description. Even when Obama was driving the country into massive debt and taking over banks and auto companies, he was doing it with oratory that was becoming legendary. That was then. After a rebuke by the American people to his left wing agenda, he has been left loopy and unsure. You can see it. It’s obvious. In order to be reelected, he has to become a politician. But he is an ideologue, and when he tries to sell “middle of the road,” when he is off to the left, the conflict and lack of confidence are clear.
On a positive note, I would be remiss if I did not mention the one part of the speech that caught my attention and that I really liked. No, it wasn’t a cut or a tax break or a reduction in spending or anything like that. (We will get to those items in a minute) This was a general feeling. For the first time that I can remember, Obama actually said nice things about America. How refreshing! He’s usually praising other countries or talking about how America must make up for some wrongs it committed or rebuild friendships or not be so mean or on and on. Instead, Obama used lines such as:
* We are the first nation to be founded for the sake of an idea – the idea that each of us deserves the chance to shape our own destiny.
The future is ours to win
What we can do – what America does better than anyone – is spark the creativity and imagination of our people.
Other than that, it was the same old, same old. Americans are concerned about the size of government, its overreaching power, and the incredible debt we find ourselves in. No president has contributed to the debt more than Barack Obama. Yes, he talked about cutting spending, but how do you do that when you talk about “investments” (i.e. spending) thirteen times? He talked about freezing “annual domestic spending for the next five years” and said it would “reduce the deficit by more than $400 billion over the next decade.” Hello! That’s about $40 billion a year, for a budget that is over a trillion dollars! In other words, he has every intention of continuing to spend using money America does not have.
Then, there was the part that made me laugh out loud. Did you catch it? Do you already know what I’m going to say? Here it is, and yes, Obama delivered it with a straight face:
And because the American people deserve to know that special interests aren’t larding up legislation with pet projects, both parties in Congress should know this: if a bill comes to my desk with earmarks inside, I will veto it.
I had absolutely no idea that Tuesday was April Fool’s Day. Surely Obama doesn’t think we are all fools, right? EVERY bill has earmarks in it. So, that means he will be vetoing every single bill. That means nothing will get passed. Hmmm… actually, I kind of like that, so I wish him well.
In another “are you kidding me” moment, Obama said:
New laws will only pass with support from Democrats and Republicans. We will move forward together, or not at all – for the challenges we face are bigger than party, and bigger than politics. At stake right now is not who wins the next election – after all, we just had an election. At stake is whether new jobs and industries take root in this country, or somewhere else.
So, it’s not about the next election. Oh, by the way, following his speech, Obama was headed to Wisconsin, a top battleground state, in order to campaign… oops… I mean pitch his programs.
All in all, Obama showed that he does not understand the will of the American people. As you can see from the speeches below, conservatives won because they understand that we cannot continue down this path. We need to cut taxes and cut government and pay down our debt. We need an economy that focuses on jobs but letting companies grow, not putting more people on the federal workforce. The Republican and Tea Party responses hit on these topics. Obama talked about clean energy, education spending, and health care spending… I mean “investments.”
Here is Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) giving the Republican response:
Here is Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) giving a response at the request of the Tea Party Express:
Paul Ryan did an outstanding job of summing up the mood of the American people:
Americans are skeptical of both political parties, and that skepticism is justified – especially when it comes to spending. So hold all of us accountable. In this very room, the House will produce, debate, and advance a budget. Last year – in an unprecedented failure- Congress chose not to pass, or even propose a budget. The spending spree continued unchecked. We owe you a better choice and a different vision. Our forthcoming budget is our obligation to you – to show you how we intend to do things differently … how we will cut spending to get the debt down… help create jobs and prosperity … and reform government programs.
The more Obama pushes government as the solution, the more the American people will push back. America was founded on a spirit of the individual, not the government. We must return to that ideal. With that as our goal and the Constitution as our guide, the rest becomes obvious.
What did you think of the speech? Did Obama change course or was it more of the same?