Articles on FrontPagemag.com and other sites have picked apart President Obama’s latest State of the Union address, both in terms of substance and tone. The speech dragged on and on, with language recycled from his previous State of the Union addresses. The rhetoric was highly partisan. The economic proposals consisted of a laundry list of progressive, anti-private enterprise, big government ideas and so on. However, beyond the specific deficiencies in Obama’s speech, his address was more of an exercise of a state of denial than an honest accounting of the State of the Union.
The most glaring example of Obama’s state of denial was his self-righteous chastisement of others for what he has done himself:
[A]nyone who tells you that America is in decline or that our influence has waned, doesn’t know what they’re talking about.
Remember, Obama’s barbs at others is coming from the same man who felt that America had to be fundamentally transformed from the kind of political and economic system that has come down to us from the Founding Fathers.
Moreover, Obama himself has put down America on several occasions while representing the United States abroad. Perhaps it is time for him to admit that he didn’t know what he was talking about when he leveled all his criticisms of the United States in front of foreign audiences. For example, on his very first trip overseas, in Strasbourg, France, Obama said the United States had “failed to appreciate Europe’s leading role in the world” and that “there have been times where America has shown arrogance and been dismissive, even derisive.”
In addition to his apologies and put-downs of America, Obama has downplayed the idea of American exceptionalism. When asked in France what he thought of America’s claim to an exceptional position among nations, he quipped that “I believe in American exceptionalism, just as I suspect that the Brits believe in British exceptionalism and the Greeks believe in Greek exceptionalism.”
By extension of Obama’s logic, since every country would most likely think of itself as exceptional, the idea that America truly is a unique example of freedom, economic dynamism, and goodness to the rest of the world has no meaning. This is moral relativism at its worst, compounded by Obama’s embarrassing habit of bowing to world leaders.
Moreover, as a result of some of his own policies, Obama is helping to bring about a decline of American power and influence, if they are not soon reversed. He is planning to hollow out our military with drastic budget cuts. He is ceding economic power to China. His so-called reset policies with Russia have played into Russia’s hands. Iran is ever closer to developing a nuclear bomb while Obama’s engagement policy has cost us crucial time. The list goes on and on.
A second example of Obama’s state of denial in his State of the Union address involved energy. He still believes the sun and wind gods, with a big dose of government funding, are the answer to our nation’s energy problem.
Because of federal investments, renewable energy use has nearly doubled. And thousands of Americans have jobs because of it.
Somehow, the Solyndra fiasco didn’t make it into Obama’s speech. American taxpayers were the losers to the tune of $500 million. So were the Solyndra employees when the company went belly-up. The only winners in the case of Solyndra were Obama’s campaign contribution bundlers who were lobbying for the Solyndra government loan guarantees.
Obama’s inexplicable decision to block the Keystone pipeline for crass political reasons didn’t make it into his speech either. Obama is inexcusably playing political games to hold on to his environmental base through the election, with good jobs for Americans and increased energy independence cast aside as the sacrificial lambs. Even Obama’s own jobs council has recommended building more pipelines. But then again, Obama rarely listens to the critical recommendations of his own councils and commissions such as his bipartisan deficit reduction commission.
Obama needed some villains to aim at during his speech. When he wasn’t castigating the rich, he went after the oil companies.
It’s time to end the taxpayer giveaways to an industry that’s rarely been more profitable, and double-down on a clean energy industry that’s never been more promising. Pass clean energy tax credits and create these jobs.
Aside from the recklessness of doubling down with taxpayers’ money on “green” energy, Obama attacked one of the most significant sources of private sector R&D investments in alternative energy technologies – the oil industry.
A third example of Obama’s state of denial in his State of the Union address involved his repeated calls for “fairness.” He wants everyone to play by the same rules:
We can either settle for a country where a shrinking number of people do really well, while a growing number of Americans barely get by. Or we can restore an economy where everyone gets a fair shot, everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same set of rules.
Was Treasury Secretary Timothy Geitner playing by the same rules as the rest of us when he was rewarded with a top cabinet post even though he had failed to pay $34,000 in Social Security and Medicare taxes for at least four years? Obama called this multiyear lapse by the man whom he nominated to oversee the IRS as simply an “innocent mistake.” Meanwhile, under the separate set of rules applicable to us ordinary folks who pay these taxes on a regular basis, what’s the chance we would get away with making such an “innocent mistake” without severe consequences?
Did the Solyndra executives play by the same rules as the rest of us when they were able to persuade Obama administration officials to agree to a sweetheart deal under which, in the event of default, private investors were placed ahead of taxpayers for a $75 million loan?
Finally, in a shameless attempt to bookend his State of the Union address by using the U.S. military’s great sacrifices and teamwork as a prop to buttress his call for political consensus on his terms, Obama dishonored his position as commander-in-chief.
Obama made a point of describing the Navy Seal mission against Osama bin Laden as a sterling example of teamwork and acting in unison as Americans, not Democrats or Republicans. He was right about that. But then he piously called for the same sort of teamwork and unity at home, when he has been going around the country for months with spiteful attacks on Republicans and the so-called top 1%. He has divided Americans into classes and constituency blocs, pitting Americans against each other.
Recall, for example, when Obama said that Republicans should be treated as the “enemies.” Astoundingly, in addressing Latinos about policy differences on illegal immigration, the president of the United States referred to Americans who disagree with him as “our enemies.” Apparently, he forgot that the military over which he presides as commander-in-chief is fighting to protect the right of all American citizens to freely express their opinions, whether or not they agree with the president.
President Obama cannot hide from the fact that his actions conflict with his professed beliefs in American exceptionalism, all Americans playing by the same rules and non-partisanship that he tried to sell the American people in his State of the Union address. His state of denial is getting old and no longer fooling the American people.
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