As I was browsing the news and blogs this morning, I was not at all surprised to see no end of “responses” to the State of the Union speech given last night by President Obama. We could all probably do without another such “response”, but bear with me for a few minutes as I weigh in on the speech and what the President had to say. The first thing that struck me as I watched the speech was how he referred to the United States as a democracy. He did this at least twice, the first time being about six or seven sentences into his delivery. Maybe I am being picky, forgive me if I am, but we are a republic and there is a difference. I will give him those little slips of the tongue and even go so far as to say he did a good job of delivering the speech. He usually does, especially when he is speaking at such a venue and as long as it is not off the cuff. So there, I enjoy a good speech as well as the next person, and Obama did a good job. When you start dissecting the speech and really looking at what he actually said, well that’s a different story and where I start disagreeing with the President.
There were a few points on which I must take exception with the President. He made a great effort to appear that he wants to bring the deficit under control, saying he wants to freeze federal spending. At the same time, he proposes spending more and more money on things like high-speed rail and of course, clean energy. He proposed reforming the corporate tax system and at the same time, he took a swipe at the oil companies, saying we need to eliminate the “billions in taxpayer dollars we currently give to oil companies”, that they were making it just fine on their own. He also aimed a shot at the Bush tax cuts, saying we couldn’t afford a permanent extension for the wealthiest 2% of Americans. Moving on down the list, he said he would veto any bill that came to his desk with earmarks inserted. If I am not mistaken, we have heard that before. He also talked some about bipartisan approaches to the problems our country is facing, but in the past two years, we have seen everything but such an approach. For all of the claims coming from the Democrats about the Republicans being the party of no, the fact remains that the Democrats refused to allow the Republicans much of a voice in any legislation that came before Congress. Talking about bipartisanship now is a slap in the face to the Republicans.
There is much more I could say about the State of the Union speech and what it contained, things like embracing the Republican idea of reforming the medical malpractice system. If the President were serious about such reforms, why did the Democrats not allow the idea to move forward during the debate over health care reform? Little things like that raise some very big red flags to me. You can read more of a fact check on what the President had to say at The Washington Post, but I think you get my point. The man is saying one thing and doing something else entirely and he is clearly already running for reelection in 2012. I don’t begrudge him that, we could probably expect to see that from any politician, but I do so wish he would stop talking out of both sides of his mouth.