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The president’s environmental bloc had to wade through some throw-away lines. For example, his boast that the country relies “less on foreign oil than in any of the past sixteen years” has a lot to do with low demand caused by a beleaguered economy. And when he noted that “We don’t have to choose between our environment and our economy,” he failed to mention that when given the opportunity—in the form of the Keystone XL pipeline—he chose the environmental lobby rather than economic recovery.
When he finally got on message, he got on a roll. “Renewable energy use has nearly doubled,” he declared. “I will not walk away from the promise of clean energy,” he gushed. And putting our money where his mouth is, he unveiled plans to “allow the development of clean energy on enough public land to power three million homes.” He then announced his decision to dragoon the Department of Defense into the quixotic effort by directing it to “make one of the largest commitments to clean energy in history,” thus turning America’s shrinking Armed Forces into the R&D arm of his green agenda.
With lines that sounded strangely anachronistic, he rallied another important bloc of his coalition, declaring that “Women should earn equal pay for equal work.” He then vowed that he would not allow America to “go back to the days when health insurance companies had unchecked power to…charge women differently from men.”
That brings us to the crescendo of his State of the Campaign Address: the obligatory class-warfare rhetoric.
In the span of about 40 minutes, the president took credit for the automaker bailout that saved “a million jobs”—but happened to be launched in the waning hours of the Bush presidency—and then lambasted the bank bailouts.
“No bailouts, no handouts and no copouts,” he said in ripping into banks, Wall Street and a financial system that “was allowed to play by its own set of rules.”
He spoke of giving banks “a chance to repay a deficit of trust,” tried to shame Congress into ending the “tax break for the wealthiest 2 percent of Americans” and decried “the corrosive influence of money in politics.”
In a speech full of eye-rollers, that last one may take the prize. After all, it was the Obama campaign that raised millions from undisclosed donors in 2008. As Newsweek reported at the time, tens of thousands of dollars poured into the Obama campaign from “individuals” with names like “Doodad Pro” of Nunda, New York, and “Good Will” of Austin, Texas. “Good Will,” Newsweek observed, “listed his employer as ‘Loving’ and his occupation as ‘You,’ while supplying as his address 1015 Norwood Park Boulevard, which is shared by the Austin nonprofit Goodwill Industries.” Moreover, it is the Obama campaign that’s now boasting about raising $1 billion dollars for 2012.
By this time next year, we’ll know if the president’s promises have held his coalition together.
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