Politics

State of the Union: Fifth verse, same as the first

State of the Union: Fifth verse, same as the first

You can click here for a full transcript of President Obama’s State of the Union address, but if you didn’t see it, and don’t want to take the time to read it, I can save you the trouble: most of it was recycled material from earlier speeches, right up to the President’s impassioned call for… closing the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay.

To no one’s surprise, the victims of ObamaCare were utterly invisible.  The President did not have a single word to say to the millions who lost their insurance, or the countless people who can no longer see their preferred doctors.  He offered no fresh insight on why the launch of the Affordable Care Act was such a historic disaster, or why he hasn’t held a single person responsible, or why he never bothered to keep tabs on his signature initiative during the three and a half years it was burning up millions of taxpayer dollars and snowballing into an epic disaster.  He was not interested in naming any of the people who lost their insurance, or telling their personal stories.  All of those people got the rhetorical middle finger from this President, exactly as expected.  Through his refusal to acknowledge their very existence, they were told to drop dead, buzz off, shut their pie-holes, and disappear.  We got a couple of shout-outs to people Obama did want to talk about, and another demand that we submit to a failed health care plan we’re no longer allowed to debate or vote against, ever.

There was some claptrap about all the zillions of jobs Obama has created, delivered just minutes before he demanded more unemployment insurance.  After doubling the deficit, Obama boasted of cutting it in half.  There was a surreal passage on Iran that couldn’t be more out of touch with events on 2014 Earth if Obama had delivered the speech from Alpha Centauri.  The hoary and utterly false factoid about women earning 77 cents on the male dollar was trotted out again, because Democrats really need to keep that “War on Women” thing going, and Obama knows nobody is going to line up his female employees and ask them who gets equal pay.  (If that ever happened, the results would be super awkward for the President.)  More nonsense was peddled about Head Start, an expensive child-care program disguised as an educational initiative that Democrats just can’t stop pouring money into, even thought study after study shows its benefits evaporating before the children get to third grade.  We were invited to contemplate the wonders of the fabulous government-designed wonder city of the future known as “Detroit.”  And Israel can rest assured that Barack has their back, just as soon as they make their country a bit smaller.

It wasn’t so much the State of the Union as the State of What Obama Needs You To Think About The Union.  You have to believe he just arrived in Washington yesterday, and is responsible for absolutely nothing that has happened since 2009.  Some useless slug has been squatting in the Oval Office for five years, but forget about that guy, because Action Man is here at last!  This will be a year of ACTION, so you’d best strap yourselves in and enjoy the thrill ride.  Did I mention that Obama’s finally going to close Gitmo?

None of which is terribly surprising, and as mentioned, much of his boilerplate was rusty and had the year “2009″ stamped on it.  He’s given five minor variations on the same speech now, perpetually assuring America that recovery is right around the corner.  He says almost exactly the same thing about immigration reform every single time.

Somewhat new – well, not really, but receiving a new degree of emphasis – is Obama’s vow to shove Congress aside and act, act, act on his own.  You haven’t seen this kind of solo action since Wolverine went to Japan.  The President will give those slowskis in Congress one more chance to get it in gear and Do Stuff For The People – who are doing better than ever, mind you, never mind all that stuff about workforce collapse, economic stasis, or ObamaCare panic, but at the same time Americans are doing better than ever (in your face, China!) they’re also hurting worse than ever.  Those high-rolling prosperous world-beating titans of the middle class have never had it so good as they do under Barack Obama, but they’re simultaneously in the worst pickle they’ve ever been in, and if Congress isn’t going to save them, His Majesty will start issuing decrees.

The core problem with all of Obama’s talk about “opportunity” – which he sees as a boon government distributes to its beloved citizens – is that most of his platitudes and bromides concern things that are none of the President’s business.  It is profoundly unseemly for the Constitutionally-limited chief executive of a free republic to lecture private citizens on who they should be hiring.  He keeps laying out agendas that have nothing whatsoever to do with the powers of his office, or the responsibilities of the federal government.  Easily eighty percent of his speech would have left the Founders gasping in shock and horror, wondering how it ever fell within the purview of the President to decide what is good for society, and force it down society’s throat.  Obama even cracked some “jokes” about how the people who still have jobs in his shrunken workforce would be super happy and supportive of business owners if they gave out nice big pay raises voluntarily… before Obama forces them to do it.

He talked about how pay raises would do wonders for employee morale.  It’s actually quite a bit more complicated than that, as anyone who has ever run a business could explain to President Obama.  But when the heck did the White House gain the responsibility of judging our “morale,” or telling us how to improve it?

Here’s the “ShamWow” passage from the address, where Obama dropped in a little in-line advertising for his flailing health care scheme:

And if you want to know the real impact this law is having, just talk to Governor Steve Beshear of Kentucky, who’s here tonight. Kentucky’s not the most liberal part of the country, but he’s like a man possessed when it comes to covering his commonwealth’s families. “They are our friends and neighbors,” he said. “They are people we shop and go to church with…farmers out on the tractors…grocery clerks…they are people who go to work every morning praying they don’t get sick. No one deserves to live that way.”

Steve’s right. That’s why, tonight, I ask every American who knows someone without health insurance to help them get covered by March 31st. Moms, get on your kids to sign up. Kids, call your mom and walk her through the application. It will give her some peace of mind – plus, she’ll appreciate hearing from you.

How utterly patronizing and unseemly.  Sign up for overpriced health insurance, kids, and remember to call your mom and badger her about it, too.  Obama’s minions were dispatched to turn Thanksgiving dinner tables into political battlegrounds and ObamaCare harangues at Christmas, but that still wasn’t good enough.

There’s really nothing creepier than politicians telling us what we “deserve.”  Once you accept them as the arbiters of what you’re entitled to, you have little power to object when they decide what you don’t deserve.  And does Governor Beshear of Kentucky really think people with ObamaCare don’t go to work every morning praying they don’t get sick?  Because they’re looking at gigantic deductibles if they do.

As is his custom, the President declared his eager willingness to work with those who have different opinions… provided their different opinions involve spending trillions of taxpayer dollars.  He doesn’t necessarily think his vision of unlimited government has all the answers; he’s curious to know if your vision of unlimited government has something to offer.  “We all owe it to the American people to say what we’re for, not just what we’re against,” Obama declared.  In other words, stop asking to restrain the size of government.  You will not be left alone.  What the State has taken, it will never return, although Obama is open to new ideas about the best way to mismanage its vast resources.

Who really knows what to make of State of the Union addresses any more?  This one seems even more likely to be quickly forgotten than most, especially since so much of it was pre-forgotten material recycled from previous unmemorable speeches.  It didn’t seem like there was quite enough red meat to get the Democrat base worked up (are they really supposed to be excited by Obama promising to close Gitmo again?)  There was enough Unitary Executive bluster to harden Republican resolve, and enough fibs to keep the fact-checkers busy.  The fluff designed to shore up Obama’s approval ratings was too discordant with the world voters can see outside their windows.  If Obama wasn’t a Democrat, he’d be pilloried tomorrow morning for how out-of-touch he sounded.

And all that Democrat applause for their party leader is going to evaporate in the cold reality of terrified red- and purple-state incumbents fleeing in terror when Obama shows up in their districts, as Senator Kay Hagan of North Carolina has already done, and Wisconsin gubernatorial candidate Mary Burke will be doing this week.  Perhaps Obama will get a little personal poll bounce for telling voters that he thinks they deserve pay raises, but it’s hard to see anything in this State of the Union address proving terribly helpful for imperiled Democrats, who applauded Obama’s declaration that he planned to make them irrelevant with executive orders.

There was one truly memorable part of the speech: its conclusion, which renders proper honors to an extraordinary soldier.  It was too big a finish for such a small speech, but terrific taken on its own.

I first met Cory Remsburg, a proud Army Ranger, at Omaha Beach on the 65th anniversary of D-Day. Along with some of his fellow Rangers, he walked me through the program – a strong, impressive young man, with an easy manner, sharp as a tack. We joked around, and took pictures, and I told him to stay in touch.

A few months later, on his tenth deployment, Cory was nearly killed by a massive roadside bomb in Afghanistan. His comrades found him in a canal, face down, underwater, shrapnel in his brain.

For months, he lay in a coma. The next time I met him, in the hospital, he couldn’t speak; he could barely move. Over the years, he’s endured dozens of surgeries and procedures, and hours of grueling rehab every day.

Even now, Cory is still blind in one eye. He still struggles on his left side. But slowly, steadily, with the support of caregivers like his dad Craig, and the community around him, Cory has grown stronger. Day by day, he’s learned to speak again and stand again and walk again – and he’s working toward the day when he can serve his country again.

“My recovery has not been easy,” he says. “Nothing in life that’s worth anything is easy.”

Cory is here tonight. And like the Army he loves, like the America he serves, Sergeant First Class Cory Remsburg never gives up, and he does not quit.

The President should have delivered a five-minute speech in which he told Cory Remsburg’s story, offered him as proof that “the state of our union is strong,” dropped mike, and walked away.

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