Obama SOTU: I Want a ‘Better Politics’

AP Photo/Mandel Ngan, Pool
AP Photo/Mandel Ngan, Pool

On Tuesday, President Barack Obama gave his completely non-awaited State of the Union address. Fresh off a humiliating midterm shellacking, President Obama demonstrated zero desire to change course, his usual unshakable arrogance regarding his fictional success, and his frustrating habit of playing verbal tricks rather than recognizing the reality of legitimate political debates.

Obama began by stating that America had now “turned the page”:

We are fifteen years into this new century.  Fifteen years that dawned with terror touching our shores; that unfolded with a new generation fighting two long and costly wars; that saw a vicious recession spread across our nation and the world.  It has been, and still is, a hard time for many. But tonight, we turn the page.

He added that everything was awesome about the economy (false), that we were bringing troops home (true, but we’re also cutting them out of the military altogether and leaving our allies in the lurch), and that now we could indulge in the magical navel-gazing exercise of determining “who we want to be over the next fifteen years and for decades to come.”

We can be unicorns, if we so choose. Unicorns who go to community college for free. Or transgender unicorns, since unicorns seem cisgender. Because the page has turned, folks.

Obama then launched into a litany of dichotomies, including the following choices:

Will we accept an economy where only a few of us do spectacularly well?  Or will we commit ourselves to an economy that generates rising incomes and chances for everyone who makes the effort?

Will we approach the world fearful and reactive, dragged into costly conflicts that strain our military and set back our standing?  Or will we lead wisely, using all elements of our power to defeat new threats and protect our planet?

Will we allow ourselves to be sorted into factions and turned against one another – or will we recapture the sense of common purpose that has always propelled America forward?

The Land of Oz is missing its strawman.

But that was just the start. Obama told the story of Rebekah and Ben Erler of Minneapolis, a cisgender, heteronormative couple who got married and had a kid. Then he lost his job. But they stuck together. Just like ‘Merica.

“America, Rebekah and Ben’s story is our story.  They represent the millions who have worked hard, and scrimped, and sacrificed, and retooled.  You are the reason I ran for this office,” Obama proclaimed. “You’re the people I was thinking of six years ago today, in the darkest months of the crisis, when I stood on the steps of this Capitol and promised we would rebuild our economy on a new foundation.”

To be technical, Obama was thinking more of the union leaders and massive donors he’d promised certain stimuli, but Rebeka and Ben make a better story.

Obama’s list of lies began in earnest after his episode of The Dating Game drew to a close. He took credit for America’s natural gas boom, even though he has attempted to stifle it. He took credit for America’s low gas prices, even though OPEC is flooding the market to stop fracking. He said our graduation rates in high school have hit all-time highs, which is because we have watered down education so much that a half-intelligent lemur could pass American high school. He said he had stopped taxpayer-funded bailouts (they were enshrined as law in Dodd-Frank) and said that he hadn’t “crush[ed] jobs” or “explode[d] deficits.” Of course, that’s precisely what Obama’s policies have done. The national debt was $10 trillion as of September 2008. It is now approximately $18 trillion.

But, said Obama, “the verdict is clear. Middle-class economics work.”

That’s code for Keynesianism. And no, they don’t work. This has been the least even recovery in American history according to fellow Keynesian Robert Reich.

He would also claim that “wages are finally starting to rise again.” After six years of stagnation. He claimed that small business owners planned to raise employees’ pay. Based on legislation, not necessity.

Obama continued by threatening veto after veto:

We can’t slow down businesses or put our economy at risk with government shutdowns or fiscal showdowns.  We can’t put the security of families at risk by taking away their health insurance, or unraveling the new rules on Wall Street, or refighting past battles on immigration when we’ve got a system to fix.  And if a bill comes to my desk that tries to do any of these things, it will earn my veto.

He’s the Individual Party of No.

He’s also Santa. He wants free stuff for everybody – at least those who aren’t picking up the vast majority of the tax burden:

That means helping folks afford childcare, college, health care, a home, retirement – and my budget will address each of these issues, lowering the taxes of working families and putting thousands of dollars back into their pockets each year….In today’s economy, when having both parents in the workforce is an economic necessity for many families, we need affordable, high-quality childcare more than ever.  It’s not a nice-to-have – it’s a must-have…. So I’ll be taking new action to help states adopt paid leave laws of their own.  And since paid sick leave won where it was on the ballot last November, let’s put it to a vote right here in Washington.  Send me a bill that gives every worker in America the opportunity to earn seven days of paid sick leave.  It’s the right thing to do….Of course, nothing helps families make ends meet like higher wages.  That’s why this Congress still needs to pass a law that makes sure a woman is paid the same as a man for doing the same work.  Really.  It’s 2015.  It’s time.  We still need to make sure employees get the overtime they’ve earned….I am sending this Congress a bold new plan to lower the cost of community college – to zero…. Let’s pass a bipartisan infrastructure plan that could create more than thirty times as many jobs per year, and make this country stronger for decades to come.

Ah, but the dreams grow: he also wants unicorn poop produced by the government (“converting sunlight into liquid fuel”), and cancer cures that appear despite his attempts to destroy the healthcare sector, and internet that is provided by ObamaNet, and a program to go to Mars (presumably using Russian technology).

Where will the money come from for the purchase of the Unicorn Lair from the North Koreans? The rich, of course!

As Americans, we don’t mind paying our fair share of taxes, as long as everybody else does, too.  But for far too long, lobbyists have rigged the tax code with loopholes that let some corporations pay nothing while others pay full freight.  They’ve riddled it with giveaways the superrich don’t need, denying a break to middle class families who do.

This is the same old class warfare horse manure Obama’s been shoveling for years. The top 1% of taxpayers pay 37% of federal tax revenue; the top 5% pay 59%. The bottom 50% of taxpayers pay 2.25% of income. The bottom 75% pay approximately 13% of taxes.

So, obviously, the solution is to soak the rich.

After dispensing with his ruinous domestic policy, Obama turned to his significantly more ruinous foreign policy. Here, Obama argued that he’s just too smart for the rest of us to understand. His brilliance may manifest in our enemies around the world on the rise. But that’s just because we can’t comprehend his genius:

When we make rash decisions, reacting to the headlines instead of using our heads; when the first response to a challenge is to send in our military – then we risk getting drawn into unnecessary conflicts, and neglect the broader strategy we need for a safer, more prosperous world.  That’s what our enemies want us to do.

Yes, they want us to fight and kill them, you see. What they’ll never expect is if we just give them what they want, while pretending to fight them:

I believe in a smarter kind of American leadership.  We lead best when we combine military power with strong diplomacy; when we leverage our power with coalition building; when we don’t let our fears blind us to the opportunities that this new century presents.  That’s exactly what we’re doing right now – and around the globe, it is making a difference.

Strong diplomacy. James Taylor diplomacy.

Obama said we “stand united with people around the world who’ve been targeted by terrorists – from a school in Pakistan to the streets of Paris.” Unless, of course, Obama’s sitting on his ass watching the NFL. Then they’re on their own.

He also said that we had learned never to go to war again. We’re pulling out of Afghanistan. We’re partnering (with Iran) instead of fighting (Iran). Obama threatened to veto sanctions against Iran (they’re currently planning an invasion of Israel and taking over Syria). He championed his kowtowing to Cuba (they haven’t loosened any of their restrictions). He said that we wouldn’t take additional action against Russia (Putin’s annexation of Ukraine continues apace). This, he said, was incredibly wonderful foreign policy:

That’s how America leads – not with bluster, but with persistent, steady resolve.

See, Obama never blusters. Never. He hates bluster more than any president who has ever lived, because he is super amazing.

Oh, by the way, Obama would like a resolution authorizing the use of force against ISIL. Oops.

Obama babbled about Ebola and internet hacking for awhile; he mused about maritime alliances and railed about global warming, smugly stating that the science was on his side. Giving the lie to the notion that the rise of the ocean would begin to slow if he won the presidency, Obama said, “The best scientists in the world are all telling us that our activities are changing the climate, and if we do not act forcefully, we’ll continue to see rising oceans, longer, hotter heat waves, dangerous droughts and floods, and massive disruptions that can trigger greater migration, conflict, and hunger around the globe.”


Once Obama dispensed with his laundry list specifics, he finally got down to expounding his philosophy. And it is a very frightening philosophy indeed:

There’s one last pillar to our leadership – and that’s the example of our values.

As Americans, we respect human dignity, even when we’re threatened, which is why I’ve prohibited torture, and worked to make sure our use of new technology like drones is properly constrained.  It’s why we speak out against the deplorable anti-Semitism that has resurfaced in certain parts of the world.  It’s why we continue to reject offensive stereotypes of Muslims – the vast majority of whom share our commitment to peace.  That’s why we defend free speech, and advocate for political prisoners, and condemn the persecution of women, or religious minorities, or people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender.  We do these things not only because they’re right, but because they make us safer.

Obama’s prohibitions on enhanced interrogation techniques do not make us safer; they make our enemies safer. Obama’s statement that he has placed restrictions on drones is nonsense, as Rand Paul can attest. Obama’s comparison of global anti-Semitism to people drawing cartoons of Mohammed is morally despicable, and his simultaneous embrace of free speech is simply Orwellian. As for defending women, or religious minorities, or LGBT folks – talk to all the Jews, women, and gays in Iran.

But all of this was a smokescreen. In the end, Obama didn’t want to talk policy, or even values. He wanted to talk about himself. As always. Because that’s what this entire presidency has been about, isn’t it?

You know, just over a decade ago, I gave a speech in Boston where I said there wasn’t a liberal America, or a conservative America; a black America or a white America – but a United States of America…. Over the past six years, the pundits have pointed out more than once that my presidency hasn’t delivered on this vision.  How ironic, they say, that our politics seems more divided than ever.  It’s held up as proof not just of my own flaws – of which there are many – but also as proof that the vision itself is misguided, and naïve, and that there are too many people in this town who actually benefit from partisanship and gridlock for us to ever do anything about it.

Nobody ever argued that Obama’s message in that speech was wrong. In fact, it’s what drove him to popularity. It was his lie that he even wanted to achieve his stated goal that disillusioned Americans in him. But Obama says that those who don’t buy that he is the messenger of his stated philosophy are mere “cynics.” And, as usual, the cynics “are wrong.”

I still believe that we are one people.  I still believe that together, we can do great things, even when the odds are long.

What are those great things? Obama cited one in specific: gay marriage, which he called a “civil right.” Yes, he’s uniting Americans, all right.

But the lecture about the Great Barack Obama by the Great Barack Obama wasn’t over. It had barely started:

So the question for those of us here tonight is how we, all of us, can better reflect America’s hopes.  I’ve served in Congress with many of you.  I know many of you well.  There are a lot of good people here, on both sides of the aisle.  And many of you have told me that this isn’t what you signed up for – arguing past each other on cable shows, the constant fundraising, always looking over your shoulder at how the base will react to every decision. Imagine if we broke out of these tired old patterns.  Imagine if we did something different…. A better politics is one where we appeal to each other’s basic decency instead of our basest fears.

Shortly after his call for a “better politics” – and just minutes after essentially arguing that his ideological opponents are idiots who hate brown people — Obama then said he’d run his final campaign. When the audience, knowing the idiocy of that statement, laughed, Obama shot back, “I know because I won both of ‘em.”

Way to unite the country and usher in a new era of bipartisanship, Mr. President.

It is Obama who is cynical. When he calls for unity, stating that Americans may not agree on abortion, but agree that “every woman should have access to the health care she needs,” we all know he’s including abortion under the “health care” rubric. When he says that we can agree that “it’s possible to shape a law that upholds our tradition as a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants,” we all know that he’s lying, given that he just enacted an executive order legalizing millions of illegal immigrants. When he says we can all agree “that the right to vote is sacred; that’s being denied to too many,” we all know that he’s attempting to dump on voter ID laws, and that nobody is being denied the right to vote. When he says we have “different takes on the events of Ferguson and New York,” but can all “understand a father who fears his son can’t walk home without being harassed,” we all know he’s defending the asinine comments of Bill De Blasio, calling the police racists.

That was Obama’s “better politics.” But as usual, there is no “better politics.” There is only Obama.

And the state of his union sucks.

Ben Shapiro is Senior Editor-At-Large of Breitbart News and author of the new book, The People vs. Barack Obama: The Criminal Case Against The Obama Administration (Threshold Editions, June 10, 2014). He is also Editor-in-Chief of TruthRevolt.org. Follow Ben Shapiro on Twitter @benshapiro.


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.