In tonight’s State of the Union Address, President Obama will no doubt make an eloquent case for his second-term agenda. There’s just one problem: The President’s credibility has been shattered.
Indeed, on issue after issue, we see a massive gap between rhetoric and reality.
The most obvious example is health care. President Obama repeatedly said that, under his signature health law, people who liked their existing insurance could keep it. Instead, Obamacare has forced millions of Americans to lose their preferred coverage. The President repeatedly said Obamacare would reduce premium costs. Instead, millions of premiums have skyrocketed. He repeatedly said his law would guarantee “universal health care.” Instead, the Congressional Budget Office has projected that Obamacare will leave upwards of 30 million people uninsured in 2023. The President said his law would bring a greater sense of certainty to the U.S. health-care system. Instead, Moody’s recently slashed the credit rating of America’s health insurers, citing the uncertainty generated by Obamacare. He said the federal Obamacare website would be safe and secure. Instead, cyber experts have warned that its security is worse today than it was a few months ago.
Obamacare’s trail of broken promises has caused enormous pain and anxiety among millions of Texans and other Americans. That’s why Republicans remain committed to dismantling the law entirely and replacing it with patient-centered alternatives.
Unfortunately, the President’s credibility problem extends well beyond health care.
Take the economy. After raising taxes by $1.7 trillion, adding $6.6 trillion to our national debt, and presiding over the weakest economic recovery and the longest period of high unemployment since the Great Depression, President Obama wants us to believe that the best strategy for job creation is… to raise taxes and raise spending. He continues recycling the failed economic policies of his first term despite the fact that (1) our labor-force-participation rate among those aged 25 to 54 is still significantly lower than it was at the height of the recession, (2) another 347,000 people dropped out of the workforce in December alone, and (3) nearly 4 million people still in the workforce have now been jobless for more than six months.
Think of it this way: If the Obama economic recovery had been as strong as the Reagan recovery in the 1980s, we’d currently have millions more private-sector jobs. And yet, the President keeps advocating the same misguided policies that Democrats shoved through in 2009 and 2010. Meanwhile, despite his professed commitment to job creation, he refuses to approve the Keystone XL oil pipeline, which would create thousands of well-paying U.S. jobs, including many jobs in Texas.
In short: President Obama shouldn’t be surprised that most voters disapprove of how he’s handled the economy.
Likewise, he shouldn’t be surprised that trust in the federal government has fallen to historic lows. After all, the Obama Administration has repeatedly ignored or “waived” laws that proved inconvenient, from Obamacare and immigration to welfare reform and nuclear waste. It has conducted disturbingly intrusive monitoring of journalists’ phone records. It has fostered a culture of intimidation and punished whistleblowers in scandals ranging from Benghazi to “Fast and Furious.” And despite promising “the most transparent Administration in history,” it has persistently obstructed Congressional investigations.
This is not the record that President Obama will discuss tonight. But it’s the record that has destroyed his credibility with the American people.
Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) is the Senate Republican WHIP and a member of the Senate Finance and Judiciary Committees.