As I watched the State of the Union speech last Tuesday, I found myself almost sucked in by the president’s words, as he, on the surface, struck what was for him a somewhat conciliatory tone. He even seemed to throw conservatives a few bones, such as tort reform, a potential corporate tax cut, and, now that Don’t Ask Don’t Tell has been repealed, a call for campuses across the country who banished military recruiters and ROTC programs to welcome them back. Unfortunately, we don’t need to scratch far below the surface to know that the speech was largely a sham. And that’s a shame.
Despite all the recent talk about civility, working together for the good of the country and so on, it’s clear that despite his veneer of willingness to work with Republicans on the national debt and deficit spending, Obama’s real intentions are to give those things lip service at best. Cuts of a mere $400 billion over 10 years represent the proverbial drops in the ocean. And, as David Limbaugh eloquently noted in his recent op-ed, the premise of Obama’s “investments” is his fundamental lack of confidence in the private sector and free market, as well as his commitment to faith in government as the primary engine for economic growth. Clearly, examples such as grain ethanol, solar panels and windmill power show how disastrously wrong this premise is.
Since the speech, Obama has been in the full campaign mode so typical of the last two Democrat presidents, whose intentions always trump real accomplishments (or damage) according to their supporters in the mainstream media. Events in Egypt have put a temporary dent in his re-election campaign efforts, and, depending on how he handles the situation, these events and others in the cauldron that is the Middle East could yet have a more significant impact on his presidency as time goes on. Whatever the impetus for the unrest in Egypt, we should have reasons to believe that radical Muslims, whether or not they are heading the protests and violence, are poised to take full advantage of a government overthrow. And it’s tough to have a great deal of confidence in the Obama-Clinton-Biden foreign policy team to deal effectively with this situation. What we could be seeing is the beginning of the end of so-called “moderate” Arab states such as Egypt, Jordan and perhaps even Saudi Arabia. This does not bode well for our interests in the region, including our continued dependence on foreign oil, the price of which will almost certainly skyrocket as the uncertain political situation continues.
Obama is banking on both the short memories of the American people and the general desire to want to believe his (or anyone’s) sunny forecasts for the future, even if only to avoid facing the reality of what the future may really hold. It appears, from a recent Time magazine front-page feature, that Obama is modeling himself now, stylistically if not politically, after Ronald Reagan, hoping that he can gain re-election after taking a beating in the mid-term elections. The faulty premises are numerous, but the biggest is that Reagan’s midterm loss in 1982, due to a bad economy, in any way resembles the self-admitted “shellacking” Obama took a couple of months ago because he tried to govern way to the left of what the country wanted. Besides the clear political differences, however, there are a couple of other reasons why even one as slick as Obama may not be able to pull this off. First, Reagan had an undeniable connection to the American people—real people from coast to coast—that Obama can never hope to have. Second, Obama will never have the credibility outside of his media minions that Reagan had—he’s simply told too many bold-faced lies. Hint to whomever the Republican 2012 candidate might be—just roll the audios and videos that catch the president in any number of lies and contradictions, and you can beat him with his own words.