Half the story.
If you actually spent an hour and five minutes watching the State of the Union address last night, you heard very little – about five minutes’ worth – that actually addressed the state of the union. You heard a lot from President Obama trying to make the case that everything is fantastic, which you might well believe if only know the part of the story he told.
If you know the whole story, you are not so misled.
I would sum up the speech in three ways. First, it was aspirational. He talked about things and ideals we would like to achieve, ideals that we would like to ideals and goals we would all like to reach. That’s aspirational. That’s what leaders are supposed to do. But the second thing a leader should do is provide inspiration. President Obama didn’t do that at all. He didn’t make the opposition or the general public feel like they wanted to jump up and down to achieve those. Why? Because he has lost their trust. People follow aspirational leaders when they believe in them.
Third, it lacked motivation. When there is no inspiration, there is no motivation. To most Americans, it’s just another speech. The bottom line from my perspective is that the state of the union – according to the speech the president gave – is unchanged from a year ago, or five years ago.
And during the rare portions when he touched on the things people were most interested in, he really didn’t give you all the facts.
He told us we have the lowest unemployment rate in five years, but he didn’t tell you how high it got because of his policies, or that it’s only gone down because we have the lowest labor force participation rate in years. He also didn’t tell you they doctored the numbers.
He told you we have a rebound in the housing market, but he didn’t tell you it’s very slight and existing inventory is being depleted while Baby Boomers look for homes.
He told you manufacturers are adding jobs, but he didn’t tell you how many of them are still leaving money offshore because of his policies that punish overseas earnings.
He told you we’re producing a lot of oil, but he didn’t tell you it’s because the private sector is overcoming obstacles being thrown up by the government, which is doing everything it can to stop oil production in this country.
He told you our deficits have been cut in half, but he didn’t tell you that he led the spending blowout that ballooned them to $1.2 trillion a year in the first place, nor did he tell you that the one-year reduction to $600 billion (which is no great number, by the way, since it still adds that much to our debt) is a one-time event as recently agreed-to budget deals indicate the deficit is going to start soaring again.
And of course he had to take his swipe at Republicans, who he blamed for shutting down the government without telling you that Democrats refused to negotiate on spending or ObamaCare, thus leaving the Republicans with a choice between total capitulation or standing firm and seeing the government shut down – knowing full well the lamestream media would blame them for it.
Weirdly, after all the talk about how good things are, Obama then insisted we have to do something immediately because inequality has deepened and upward mobility has stalled. Which is it? Are things great or are we beset with inequality and a pox on upward mobility?
The truth is that things are tough, because of Obama’s policies, which is why the last thing we need is to embrace his prescriptions.
And with all this, he calls for this year to be a “year of action.” Why weren’t the last five? Oh, right, because Republicans won’t work with him. Of course, he defines working with him as giving him whatever he wants – no matter how flawed his ideas are. We need action, all right, but not the kind he wants.