He saved the worst for last.
Seven years into his presidency — widely considered the most partisan in history — President Obama decides in his last State of the Union address the nation needs to end its partisan ways and restore “trust” between citizens.
Who’s exactly been running the country since 2009? Who campaigned on unity and bipartisanship and scrapped that optimistic idea soon after taking over the Oval Office?
“That’s been one of the few regrets of my presidency,” he said in a rare acknowledgement of error.
Obama in fact has turned almost every issue he faced — from terrorist shootings to health care to the budget — into a chance to score political points and blame Republicans.
But he failed miserably in getting American voters and Congress to work together and drop the partisan rhetoric.
So it’s head-shaking to hear him try to resurrect the promise of unity now, on his way out the door, and give a speech that sounded like a throwback to 2008. It was “hope and change” all over again.
“I want to focus on the next five years … I want to focus on our future,” he told Congress.
Shouldn’t you have been doing that five years ago, Mr. President?
And despite Obama’s promise of talking about the future, there was plenty of gloating about his accomplishments and partisan motivations in this speech.
The Master of Me mocked climate change deniers and those who question the strength of the economy as “peddling fiction.” And he went after Donald Trump, slamming those who insult Muslims. Those who say America is getting weaker were full of “hot air.”
“That’s not telling it like it is,” Obama said.
The president, of course, knows that by targeting Trump he’s elevating him, which is what the Clinton campaign wants.
And his renewed interest in electoral reform and voting rights is obviously timed to help Democrats in 2016.
Just seconds after saying he was going “to go easy” on his list of priorities, he rattled off a series of issues from gun violence to raising the minimum wage, drawing loud applause from fellow Democrats.
All you had to do was look at the House chamber and the cutaways of grim-faced GOP lawmakers to see that Obama has failed miserably in getting Congress and voters to unite and work together.
And there’s good reason for Americans to be angry and fearful.
The president’s speech came on the day that Iran detained 10 American sailors and just six weeks after one of the worst terrorist attacks on U.S. soil since 9/11. Syria is a disaster and ISIS has not been stopped. That’s on Obama’s watch.
But that wasn’t in the speech.
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