Here are my 14 observations of President Obama’s 2014 State of the Union address delivered on Tuesday night.
1. Early on in the speech, Obama said, “Our deficits – cut by more than half.” In what country has Obama been living in for the past five years?
2. Obama took a not to subtle dig at New Jersey Governor Chris Christie when he spoke off “unclogging our commutes.”
3. When speaking about energy policy, Obama said the following about solar:
Every four minutes, another American home or business goes solar; every panel pounded into place by a worker whose job can’t be outsourced. Let’s continue that progress with a smarter tax policy that stops giving $4 billion a year to fossil fuel industries that don’t need it, so that we can invest more in fuels of the future that do.
I guess this means President Obama would rather use that $4 billion so we can create more Solyndras.
4. When further discussing cleaner energy, Obama said, “But the debate is settled. Climate change is a fact.” It isn’t a question of whether climate change is a fact. It is a question of whether we use $4 billion to finance more Solyndras.
5. President Obama did make an effective case for extending unemployment benefits by telling the story of Misty DeMars, a mother of two who lost her job a week after she and her husband bought their first home. Now her unemployment insurance has run out. Unless Republicans can come up with a compelling reason why Mrs. DeMars and millions like her shouldn’t have their benefits extended, President Obama will prevail on this question.
6. Didn’t Vice-President Biden look absolutely thrilled when Obama said his assignment for this year would involve overhauling America’s job training programs?
7. Obama said it is an “embarrassment” that women earn 77 cents for every dollar a man earns. He went on to say “when women succeed, America succeeds.” That’s all very nice, but wasn’t the Lily Ledbetter Act supposed to take care of the question of equal pay for equal work?
8. Obama spoke at length about the minimum wage and praised John Sorrano, the owner of Punch’s Pizza in Minneapolis, for giving his employees a raise to $10 an hour. The President then said, “Tonight, I ask more of America’s business leaders to follow John’s lead and do what you can to raise your employees’ wages.” Well, maybe Punch’s Pizza is doing good business, but the same can’t be said for every pizza joing in America. The costs of Obamacare are such that many employers are more likely lay off their workers instead of hiring workers much less giving them raises. Just ask Papa John.
9. Which brings me to Obamacare. Well, I see Obama managed to find the one person in America who managed to sign up for Obamacare. While I am glad that Amanda Shelley got the medical care she needed, the fact is that America has fewer people with health insurance than we did on October 1, 2013. As long as the White House is fudging the Obamacare enrollment numbers, President Obama is in no position to tell Republicans, “Let’s see if the numbers add up.
10. When discussing the windup of the War in Afghanistan, Obama said, “For while our relationship with Afghanistan will change, one thing will not: our resolve that terrorists do not launch attacks against our country.” That’s cold comfort to the four Americans who died in Benghazi. If only President Obama had the resolve not to blame terrorist acts on an internet video.
11. I cannot stand it when Obama justifies negotiations with Iran on the basis of Presidents Kennedy and Reagan talking with the Soviet Union. First, the Soviets already had nukes and Kennedy and Khruschev weren't exactly sitting at the negotiating table. We’re sitting at a negotiating table ostensibly trying to prevent Iran from getting them. Second, there’s a reason that Reagan spoke with Gorbachev and not Brezhnev, Andropov or Chernenko. Gorby made genuine efforts to reform the Communist system. There are no such efforts by the Mullahs to reform the Islamic Republic.
12. With further regard to Iran, Obama rejects new sanctions because “we must give diplomacy a chance to succeed.” How much time is the Obama Administration prepared to give to Iran? Enough for Iran to develop a nuclear weapon?
13. President Obama led Congress in applauding Sergeant First Class Cory Remsburg. Yet it was this same President and this same Congress who saw fit to cut the pensions of veterans like Sgt. Remsburg in their latest budget deal. It makes their applause nothing more than an empty gesture.
14. All in all, President Obama was less petulant and prickly than usual and seemed more at ease than he has been in public in awhile. I think we’ll see an upward tic in Obama’s poll numbers. But any spike in the President's popularity will be short-lived when the cold reality of a stagnant job market and more people losing their health insurance hits us right between the eyes. As usual, President Obama's words bear very little resemblance to the world in which we have to live.