(Disastrous) State of the Union

Some blogosphere reactions to Obama’s State of the Union speech:

Jim Geraghty of National Review writes:

Man, was that a long speech. Sixty-five minutes of speaking, and he started late. And it felt even longer for being terrible. I mean, terrible in the sense that you and I kept rolling our eyes at the insinuation of blame, the proclaiming of fantastic results, the grandiose promises, and everything else from this president that grows ever more tiresome. I figure Obama might see a bump in his numbers from this speech, because he basically said he can deliver utopia in exchange for some tax hikes on millionaires.

It’s not often that “confrontational” is an adjective used to describe a State of the Union address, but that’s what the Los Angeles Times goes with


By using his State of the Union speech to draw sharp contrasts with Republicans on such high-profile issues as taxes and the housing market, President Obama opened an election-year debate on the role of government that could be more intense than any in decades. Warning Congress that “I intend to fight obstruction with action,” he painted a confrontational picture that stands in sharp contrast with the conciliatory approach taken by the last Democrat to seek a second term, Bill Clinton.

Our old friend Mark Hemingway observes


Obama’s State of the Union might be most notable for what was not said. There were 44 words dedicated to health care reform. There was no mention of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, aka stimulus bill.

That is rather telling, considering that these are Obama’s two largest policy achievements. . . .

As for the rest of the speech, it was bookended by some strong military metaphors (even if they were an unpleasant reminder that the president wants to gut the armed forces budget). That leaves over an hour of something something building wind turbines with American workers something something still won’t cover our $30 trillion Medicare shortfall. Snooze.

Clark Judge of the White House Writers group wrote:

But let me get this straight: 1) banks will be punished (do I understand this right, by a committee headed by Eric Holder?) if their lending is too risky, 2) and they will be required (by the same committee) to give more home loans (meaning, it must be, to people who would otherwise not qualify for the loans, or else the government would not have to be involved) at lower rates (which means rates that do not compensate them as much as the market says they need to be compensated for the risks they are taking, all of which sounds like a new edition of the policies that brought on the financial collapse), 3) which must mean that they will have to pull back on risky lending someplace other than homes, 4) the only place that most banks would be able to pull back on riskier customers would be loans to small and new businesses, 5) but these are the businesses that have created just about all the jobs over the last 20 years and he said early in the speech he wants to encourage them, 6) so maybe their growth capital will come from selling stock to the kinds of people who invest in new and small businesses, 7) but through the Buffet Rule he’s going to double the tax rate on investment income for those people, meaning that, like the banks, they can’t be fully compensated for the risk of backing small and new businesses, 8) so they will not invest more in small and new companies but in big established firms, 9) so more of those small and new firms will have to turn to the government for capital, 10) which luckily he said would up its investing in early stage businesses with “the best” ideas, 11) “the best” ideas meaning, I guess, as with Solyndra, ideas that advance his agenda through companies whose owners support his candidacy), 11) or maybe it would be companies that agree to invite unionization (since the unions have failed to organize the new and dynamic sectors of the economy, which is why they have been shrinking), 12) but then with the big businesses, he wants to punish American companies if they invest overseas, 13) and he wants to increase exports, 14) but being competitive in the global markets often means having part of your production near your markets, which is why many companies have opened production facilities abroad and many foreign companies (BMW and Honda, for example) have opened their facilities here, 15) so he’ll make these companies less competitive, meaning less able to export anything that might be paired with some other product the company makes abroad in order to attract buyers, 16) and it also means he’ll have the U.S. ignoring many of the international trading rules of which we have been the principal sponsor since the end of WWII, rules that have led to an incredible growth in widely shared wealth all over the planet, 17) which means that, if he follows through, he’ll blow up the post-WWII global economic system, 18) which in the very short run may help the uncompetitive American labor unions but in the not-so-long run would devastate every economy on earth, 19) but it would also mean he would be in a position to decide where big companies could invest, and when, just as he’ll be in control of all new and small businesses, too, 20) meanwhile he is going to tell states and localities what their budget priorities should be, 21) and make them adopt his policies for running their schools, leaving me to wonder, when he’s through, what won’t he control?

And Keith Koffler of White House Dossier found this:

If there was any question whether President Obama’s State of the Union address was actually a prettied up campaign speech, Obama himself answered it with an email to supporters just before his appearance asking them to contribute to his campaign.

The email, titled “Before I speak,” was sent by “Barack Obama” through the campaign email system and signed, “Barack.” Here’s the full text:

I’m heading to Capitol Hill soon to deliver my third State of the Union address.

Before I go, I want to say thanks for everything you’re doing.

Tonight, we set the tone for the year ahead. I’m going to lay out in concrete terms the path we need to take as a country if we want an economy that works for everyone and rewards hard work and responsibility.

I’m glad to know you’ll be standing with me up there.



Support President Obama. Make a donation today.

The last sentence in the email includes a link that brings recipients to a page where they can make their donation.

Also telling is Obama’s remark that the speech will “set the tone for the year ahead.” When you say to your political supporters that you are setting “a tone,” it seems a pretty clear reference to a campaign theme, not a list of serious proposals that might pass Congress and help the economy.

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