The President staked out no new ground, no new ideas, and no new sense of cooperation; no specific areas where he was ready to deal, in English class they called it ‘glittering generalities’. The President, in fact, retreated to six year old issues that have failed to resonate. As he stands today, 63% of Americans question his ability to make the right decision for the country. It has taken a majority of those folks five years to understand that Conservative warnings of where we would be are exactly where we are. The President does not want to “refight old battles’ in the context of Health Care but in reality that was what much of what this speech was about; he, of course, wants to be able to choose the old battles to fight, like Gitmo. The President simply returned to his rhetorical comfort zone.
My favorite moment was at the beginning of the speech when Democrats ‘missed’ two early applause lines, when they caught up it was tepid and quickly extinguished. The Democrats, however, caught their rhythm and by the end of the speech were doing their best impression of an aging Pop Up Book. But seriously; the tepid early applause was punctuated by the number of Senate Democrats facing re-election, that were prepared to express ‘disappointment’, in the President’s speech. “Warp 10 Mr. Sulu, get us out of here.”
The President, as has been his pattern has excuses, but few solutions that resonate beyond the party faithful. The Bing pulse charting showed a nearly unbelievable confluence between Republicans and Independents as the President spoke. Not good news for Democrats or the President. This year’s SOTU was, in the main, a rehash of old issues, old rhetoric and old ideas.
As far as the TV cameras allowed, reactions were informative. Beyond the fact that Speaker Boehner appeared to have had a sesame seed caught in his teeth, when the President announced, once again, that we would be out of Afghanistan by the end of the year there, was no applause from the Military brass. They know that the Administration’s failures in Iraq are on the verge of being repeated in Afghanistan.
Foreign policy continues to bedevil the President as he justified his Iran deal, regardless of Iranian insistence that they have not agreed to anything of consequence. A peace deal with the Palestinians is not going to happen and Mr. Kerry is more than a little delusional over the issue, being rejected by all sides of the argument. The commitment to support Syrian moderates presupposes that he can actually find organized moderates still drawing breath. Jim Baker is still looking for Iranian moderates thirty years down the road and the same dynamic is happening in Syria.
Somehow this economy is not of the President’s doing; he deftly admitted failure and at the same time rejected responsibility for his role and his policies. Some of what he asks for, like job training, is sitting on Leader Reid’s desk, passed long ago by the House. The President’s plan for the economy is economic small ball; he looks like he doesn’t know what to do beyond his exhortation to “give em a raise”! In this environment a minimum wage increase for an incredibly small number of people is the answer. His desperation over the issue was reflected in his call for States and businesses to do the minimum wage job for him. His disjoined perception of problems and challenges was further reflected in the fact that there was no mention of national debt, spending or the Keystone. No a single mention.
The President claims an ‘all of the above’ energy strategy in his speech. The reality is that he’s doing a fairly good job of taking coal off the table. At the same time he committed to taking even more public land off the table for exploration and development.
He justified ObamaCare with an anecdote and quoted sign up numbers that are not to be believed which is exactly where his problems lies; credibility.
The President did his best to soar but his flight plan is being rejected. That Conservative rag, NBC finds that the top descriptions Americans use to describe where we are; troubled, divided and deteriorating. This year’s State of The Union did nothing to dispel those perceptions.