The big finish to President Obama’s State of the Union address involved saluting Army Ranger Sgt. Cory Remsburg:
I first met Cory Remsburg, a proud Army Ranger, at Omaha Beach on the 65th anniversary of D-Day. Along with some of his fellow Rangers, he walked me through the program – a strong, impressive young man, with an easy manner, sharp as a tack. We joked around, and took pictures, and I told him to stay in touch.
A few months later, on his tenth deployment, Cory was nearly killed by a massive roadside bomb in Afghanistan. His comrades found him in a canal, face down, underwater, shrapnel in his brain.
For months, he lay in a coma. The next time I met him, in the hospital, he couldn’t speak; he could barely move. Over the years, he’s endured dozens of surgeries and procedures, and hours of grueling rehab every day.
Even now, Cory is still blind in one eye. He still struggles on his left side. But slowly, steadily, with the support of caregivers like his dad Craig, and the community around him, Cory has grown stronger. Day by day, he’s learned to speak again and stand again and walk again – and he’s working toward the day when he can serve his country again.
“My recovery has not been easy,” he says. “Nothing in life that’s worth anything is easy.”
Cory is here tonight. And like the Army he loves, like the America he serves, Sergeant First Class Cory Remsburg never gives up, and he does not quit.
SOTU addresses traditionally include such recognition of America’s heroes, and no one can dispute that Sgt. Remsburg deserves the honor. This earned Obama a pass for using the Ranger’s story to buttress the political themes of his speech. If anything, critics noted that the President might have done himself no favors by using such an unforgettable story of heroism and sacrifice to cap off such a forgettable speech. But here’s what came next:
My fellow Americans, men and women like Cory remind us that America has never come easy. Our freedom, our democracy, has never been easy. Sometimes we stumble; we make mistakes; we get frustrated or discouraged. But for more than two hundred years, we have put those things aside and placed our collective shoulder to the wheel of progress – to create and build and expand the possibilities of individual achievement; to free other nations from tyranny and fear; to promote justice, and fairness, and equality under the law, so that the words set to paper by our founders are made real for every citizen.
The America we want for our kids – a rising America where honest work is plentiful and communities are strong; where prosperity is widely shared and opportunity for all lets us go as far as our dreams and toil will take us – none of it is easy. But if we work together; if we summon what is best in us, with our feet planted firmly in today but our eyes cast towards tomorrow – I know it’s within our reach. Believe it.
No one familiar with Obama’s rhetoric, much less his policies, can believe for one instant that he actually sees America this way. This was the fallen nation he set out to transform, remember? His wife famously said that his election was the first time she was ever proud of her country.
Socialists are very good at appropriating the language of individual achievement and freedom – but he just had to slip that creepy reference to “our collective shoulder” in there, didn’t he? The entire point of Obama’s political career is that individuals are helpless without the government. This is the politician who just got finished bragging about all the jobs he created, without mentioning the even larger number of jobs he wiped out, and then told us America is in such wonderful shape that we need another emergency extension of unemployment benefits. This is the man who thinks private citizens engaged in voluntary commerce can’t be trusted to manage health insurance. Last year he told small business owners they weren’t responsible for their own success; last night he told them to give all their employees a raise, something they’re too blinkered and greedy to do unless the President instructs or forces them. Not a single program he has ever advocated would exist if he actually believed in “equality under the law,” and that’s before we get into his troubling habit of personally ignoring laws he finds inconvenient.
So drafting Cory Remsburg into service as a totem to fool the American people into thinking he respects them is disingenuous at best. At least one Obama cultist, NBC News reporter Mark Murray, took it a step further and made it downright offensive: “Obama’s ending on Remsburg wasn’t just a story about America – it also was a story about Obama. Nothing has ever come easy.”
Yes, Obama’s endless struggle to find just the right spot for sunbathing on his Hawaiian vacations, or shoot under par at the more challenging golf courses he frequents, is just like a war hero surviving a horrific attack. More broadly, the notion that Obama ever endured any great suffering in his life is a fantasy his rabid fanboys indulge to both justify his current life of fabulous luxury, and keep his reputation for empathy alive, even as they’re watching him dismiss millions of suffering Americans as non-entities because he finds them politically inconvenient. The key to Obama’s appeal – judging by the exit polls, nearly the only reason he won re-election – is the sense he’s walked in his supporters’ shoes, and understands their lives.
It’s not surprising that his more degenerate cultists would hear the Remsburg story, or any other story of heroism, and immediately think of how it reflects on the magnificence of their God-king. Obama himself did not draw that comparison. In fact, taking his subsequent words as offered, he’s saying the exact opposite: he was offering an insincere encomium to the independence and can-do spirit of an America he actually thinks should be in a government-managed crib with very high rails. But of course when his supporters hear the word “struggle,” they think immediately of political struggles.