The president’s speech counted in at over 7,000 words. It was a laundry list of past policy positions previously rejected by a Congress of both Democrats and Republicans. It served as a reminder that states of the union addresses are boring and Barack Obama gives few memorable speeches off the campaign trail.
John F. Kennedy said, “Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country.”
Obama’s State of the Union was all about letting you know that government is going to do everything for you and, when it can’t keep its promises, it will take from the successful and give to the unsuccessful. Anyone who engaged in drinking games, taking a drink each time the president used the word “fair,” would have died of alcohol poisoning before the president even used Warren Buffet’s secretary as a prop for class warfare -- an event occurring toward the end of the second third of the speech.
One thousand days without the Democrats passing a budget, the president barely hinted at it. Then there’s health care. The president spent two sentences -- a mere 44 words -- talking about his greatest legacy, now headed before the Supreme Court, five justices from which sat in front of him during his speech. The first reference didn’t come until 39 minutes into his address. I thought he was proud of it?
The first half of his speech was about centralized power in Washington and the second half was about devolving power to the states and deregulation -- trying to be all things to all people. But his actual proposals were one-size-fits- all federal fiat with sops to unionization and swing states. He must be really worried about North Carolina given how many shout outs that state got. He must always be aware that he only polls well these days on national security. He started and ended his speech reminding everyone he got Osama bin Laden. The deceased terrorist got more mentions than either Steve Jobs or Buffet.
The administration’s policy goals, recycled again and again, reflect a failure of social engineering at the federal level, i.e. federal control of infrastructure, federal control of technology, federal control of education, federal deconstruction of fossil fuel energy dependence in favor of federally subsidized “clean” energy, etc. These issues have been raised in each of Obama’s States of the Union addresses. Each time Congress has rejected them.
When not lamenting our (still) crumbling roads and our (still) lack of rural broadband access and our (still) lack of wind and solar energy three years into his Solyndra subsidizing spending spree, Obama lamented the high cost of college education and proclaimed he would make it illegal for high school students to drop out of high school, and in the process devalued a high school diploma and overvalued a college diploma.
Obama largely embraced the title of Food Stamp president that Newt Gingrich has given him. He wants a public and business community dependent on Washington. He wants the American dream out of reach of its citizens except through government dependence, subsidy and programs.
Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, in his Republican response to Obama’s speech, aptly called the president’s agenda “pro-poverty.”
The happy class warrior is off to ensure fairness not at the starting line, but by punishing those who cross the finish line first or with more than others. But “teachers matter,” he got Osama bin Laden, and kids won’t be able to drop out of school anymore -- they’ll just clog the system.
Erick Erickson is a CNN contributor and radio talk show host in Atlanta.