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SOTU: Obama dodges big issues

Like Mickey Kaus, I didn’t watch the president’s campaign speech State of the Union last night and am finding the text actual quite “boring” with standard Obama tropes repeated so often, you’d think his speechwriters merely cut and paste passages from previous addresses into this one, adding a few references to events of the past year.

Instead of reading the entire speech, I searched instead for a few words, like “obstruction.”  Sure enough, it’s there, “But I intend to fight obstruction with action, and I will oppose any effort to return to the very same policies that brought on this economic crisis in the first place.”  There you go again, Mr. President, Republicans aren’t proposing to return to those policies which created the crisis.  That’s just another one of your false choices.

When I searched for other words like “cut”, “Medicare”, “Social Security” and “entitlement”, it became clear that the Democrat has no plan to address some of the nation’s pressing fiscal issues.  As Jennifer Rubin asked, “Where is his entitlement reform? Where is his tax-reform plan? He can’t be bothered with actual governance.

Sure, he says “we’ve agreed to cut the deficit by more than $2 trillion.”  But, he didn’t specify how he plans to “cut through the maze of confusing training programs” nor identify particular domestic programs he wishes to scale back.

He even proposed new government programs, offering only to fund them through higher taxes on millionaires.  If you’re trying to cut the deficit, you should use any revenue you bring in to pay that off rather than any new liabilities.  As William W. Beach put it in National Review’s symposium on the speech:

. . . among the litany of programs he announced, he promised little action on the driver of economic decay: the blooming debt of governments at all levels, but particularly the government that President Obama runs. Total government debt is chewing away at innovation and economic growth by squeezing credit markets for private borrowers; it is spreading fear and uncertainty among investors about this country’s future; and it is condemning an entire generation to an economic life well below their potential.

The president did indeed say, he was “prepared to make more reforms that rein in the long term costs of Medicare and Medicaid, and strengthen Social Security, so long as those programs remain a guarantee of security for seniors.”  Interesting his language there, saying he’s prepared to make reforms, but not offering any of his own.  Guess that’s what they call leading from behind.



  1. Typical SOTU speech for recent Presidents; all bullet-points and no specifics, no grand images nor broad vistas. Just a few boring facts sprinkled with “who cares?” anecdotes about the “little people”.

    And the GOP response? While better stage-management, yet-again uninspiring and tedious.

    Comment by Ted B. (Charging Rhino) — January 25, 2012 @ 12:56 pm - January 25, 2012

  2. Ted B. – “And the GOP response? While better stage-management, yet-again uninspiring and tedious.”

    It was, Mitch Daniels, surely you weren’t expecting otherwise?

    Comment by Richard Bell — January 25, 2012 @ 2:02 pm - January 25, 2012

  3. Well I’m glad to see not everyone here was mesmerized by Daniels. For the record, I have not seen either speech and I have no intention of doing so. I’ll do something enjoyable instead.

    Comment by Serenity — January 25, 2012 @ 4:38 pm - January 25, 2012

  4. Was I the only one to see Obama sweat when he meandered into the fact that he has tax breaks he doesn’t need or want and then try to move on to another subject? I kept waiting to hear him to say “And just to show I’m serious, I’m returning the tax breaks I don’t need or want RIGHT HERE!”

    Yeah, I’m a dreamer.

    Comment by Dottie Laird — January 25, 2012 @ 7:01 pm - January 25, 2012

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