All I can say is that I would need to be a professional blogger to comment on all the statements, opinions, and rhetoric that I heard during this speech. Literally, 15 minutes into the speech and I already have a page and half of notes for things I feel I should comment on. By the 30 minute marker, I had abandoned all hope of being able to cover the speech with any semblance of granularity and decided to just cover the topics I felt most important.
First off, let me state, that was one hell of a campaign speech Mr. President, but gave us little information pertaining to the real State of the Union. I liked the ideals of job creation, restoring the economy, establishing improved benefits for current and returning soldiers, and the overall tone of “America First”; however, the speech left me with more questions than when you started, as most campaign speeches do. The biggest question being, HOW??
To recover funds distributed during the bank bailout, you propose a fee on the biggest banks to recoup the remaining monies outstanding, but what will that fee amount to? In addition, you mock the banks stating:
If these firms can afford to hand out big bonuses again, they can afford a modest fee to pay back the taxpayers who rescued them in their time of need.
However, have you forgotten the pay increases that have went to government bodies within the last year. Why not focus on decreasing the increases, upwards of 541%, that have occurred within capital hill during your one year in office? Do you not remember, that it wasn’t at the will of the people that the banks were rescued, but via an unpopular policy expansion decision by your administration. You berate the banks by stating,
“We can't allow financial institutions, including those that take your deposits, to take risks that threaten the whole economy”
but it must be a short memory that allows you to forget that it was the Democratic policy, pushed by Barney Frank, Chris Dodd, and others, that forced the banks to make those risky decisions. Thru the Community Reinvestment Act, banks were forced to loosen credit criteria and make loans to people unqualified, and ill prepared, to handle such loans. Banks were further encouraged by Fannie May and Freddie Mac to participate in these subprime loans by increasing the scope of these “flexible” credit standards in which these government entities would guarantee. In addition, you talk of using the $30B repaid by banks from the bailout to invest in community banks. How will that money be invested and doled out? What steps will be taken to ensure that the money given to the smaller banks will not be used in the same, fraudulent manner that the large banks used those funds? What steps taken to ensure that the funds are split equally and not just to community banks in areas supportive of you?
You talk of job creation, you pat yourself on the back for the “amount of tax cuts you have enacted”, you even point out the Republican side for not applauding you for those tax cuts. The reason they did not clap is due to the fact that the policies you wish to enact will increase taxes on most American Families. They did not refuse to clap out of spite, but because they knew that you are misleading in your statements. Again, with this knowledge, how do you propose to create jobs? You talk of the millions of jobs saved, but is that number before or after the counting of jobs in ghost districts that do not exist, or the double counting of jobs for people that worked temporarily only to be displaced within weeks? With policies proposed like cap and trade, the health care bill, and others that will, by the CBO’s accounts, raise taxes and further hurt the American family, by what method will this reverse the double digit unemployment that plagues us now? The same unemployment rate the stimulus bill was to keep under 8% if enacted immediately? How is your new, proposed “job bill” going to succeed when your first attempt was an adjunct failure?
You talk of building trust with the American voter again thru transparency and accountability. Again I ask you, how? Will it be via more broken promises to ensure that the health care debate will be publicized on C-SPAN, but instead spent the majority of time in back rooms closed to the public resulting with shady deals to buy votes, such as the Cornhusker compromise or the Louisiana Purchase? Will it be via your promise that the Economic Recovery act will be removed of earmarks and pork barrel spending, but actually resulted in billions to pet projects and activities that had little to no impact on the recovery of our economy? How then Mr. President, do you plan on rebuilding the trust? How do you tout accountability, when Congress has complained that they have no idea to where stimulus or TARP funds are being distributed? How can you restore accountability when TARP funds were not used to buy up toxic assets, as promised to the American people, but instead used to buy stock and pave the way for a government take over of the banking system?
You ask for bipartisan support in congress, but in a direct rebuke to the Republican leadership, you stated:
Just saying no to everything may be good short-term politics, but it's not leadership. We were sent here to serve our citizens, not our ambitions.
This sounds great in a campaign speech, but it seems that you are the one that needs to be reminded that you were elected to serve the citizens. You have ignored the voice of the people since you were elected. You proceeded with the bank bailouts, even though you state that you hated it. You proceeded with the auto bailout, even when the citizens protested. You push forward with cap and trade, despite the fact that it will raise energy prices and taxes on American families. You gloss over the election of Scott Brown in Massachusetts, who ran on a promise to defeat the health care bill that you continue to try and ram down our throats, as a sign that people were angry at George Bush. Regarding health care, your own leader, Nancy Pelosi, stated after your address:
If the gate is open, we will go thru it. If the gate is closed, we will climb the wall. If the wall is too high, we will pole vault over it. If we can’t jump high enough, we will parachute behind it. We will get healthcare passed for the American people.
Her statement is a slap in the face to the American voter who has shown via polls, tea party movements, and the election of Scott Brown that they do not want this health care bill passed. So my question is how will you foster this bipartisanship that you request? Will you finally see that the Republicans aren’t just saying no to Democratic policies, but instead following the dictates of the people. When will you realize that Americans do not want this healthcare? When will you allow the Republicans to bring their viable, patient oriented ideas to the table and stop this government take over of our health care system,? You asked, “If anyone has a better idea, let me know”, but yet you’ve dismissed the Republican party to the sidelines and ignored their proposals of better ideas. When will the government get out of our banking, auto, and energy industries? With all of your talk of “I will”, “I came”, “My administration”, “My goals”, “My direction”, you forget the most basic of principals, which is there is no “I” in “Teamwork”, Mr.. President. When will you lead by example and begin to listen to the American people?
You stand before Congress and the American people and preach about the evils of the gridlock within our political system. You defiantly declare that you came to Washington to change the way our political process works. My question to you is how? Need I remind you that you had complete control of Congress for the last year? That with proper leadership, you could have enacted any change you so wished, but instead, we just received more of the same. The same back room deals, the buying of votes, and the expansion of big government. Even with “the largest majority in history”, your party has defied your promises and made you look like a fool. So how will you change the gridlock that is paralyzing our political process when you are unable to even control your own party? You cannot place the blame on the Republicans because, as stated, your party held unprecedented control.
You speak of campaign reform, admonishing the Supreme Court for “reversing a century of law that you believed would open the floodgates of special interest, including foreign corporations, to spend without limit in our elections”. A admonishment to which Justice Alito responded by mouthing “Not true”. Not a Joe Wilson moment, but I wish it would have been. You lied Mr. President. You stood before your people, and your country, and lied. Even as you stand there and lecture our Supreme Court, you forget the amount of foreign aid that was funneled into your campaign financing. You forget the investigations that showed the Nigerian man, who within his own border, raised over “$900,000” for you, the infamous “Mr. Doodad” that was also illegally contributed to your campaign, or the other $3.38M in questionable contributions that your agency refuses to reveal. So again Mr. President, how do you plan to reform when the very practices you preach against helped finance your way into office? How can the American voter believe you when you stand before us and lie to place the blame on the Supreme Court for something you took part in and was partially responsible for your election?
You speak of your desire to enhance the security of this country. While I like your ideas regarding the increasing of care and support for our returning and active veterans, I worry that your promises are empty based on your efforts so far. When you take actions, such as the cancelling the development of the next air superiority fighter jet, I worry if you honestly have the security of this nation, and it’s soldiers, in mind. You speak of your will to crack down on terrorists, but again I ask how? You all but ignored your commanding general in Afghanistan in his pleas for more troops, else “We risk defeat” for months, then only giving him a fraction of his ask. You bring terrorists within our borders for trial, rather than putting them before military tribunals as appropriate. You grant terrorists Miranda rights, affording them the same rights of the citizens they wished to harm, thereby increasing risk that they may go unpunished. You place blame on our military system, declaring to the world that the US tortures it’s detainee’s, when it’s been proven over and over again that this is yet another lie. So how can the people trust that our national defense lies at the top of your priority list, when your past year has shown evidence to the contrary?
Lastly, you condemn both sides of the aisle, by stating:
Sadly, some of the unity we felt after 9/11 has dissipated. We can argue all we want about who's to blame for this, but I'm not interested in re-litigating the past.
Issuing a call upon this statement, to again work on repairing the “trust deficit” that the American people have with our government. Again, I ask you how? You have defined your first term in office by re-litigating the past, as you put it. Even this speech itself, was bloated with condemnation and blame placed upon the prior administration. You take no responsibility for your own actions, but instead, push the fault on to those before you. You accuse the past President for the overwhelming deficit over his 8 year term, but make no mention how your administration quadrupled that deficit within one year. You posture that Bush was responsible for the housing bubble, but ignore the fact that it was the policies of your own party, against the advice of Bush’s administration, that were the cause. So while eloquent, your statements drip with hypocrisy when every day you place the blame for failure on everyone but yourself. The American people are tired of the excuses. We’ve grown weary of your blame without personal responsibility for your policies. You were elected under promises of change, but your personal agenda of socialism is not the change that people want.
Maybe the best recourse would be for you to sit and truly listen to your own words, rather than just reading them off a teleprompter. It’s time to stop with the rhetoric and begin with action. Take control of you party, stop the lying, and start listening to the American people. It’s time become the leader you were elected to be and follow the promises you made. You are one year into your Presidency, so time to stop placing the blame on the past and realize that your destiny is now in your hands alone. Your campaign slogan has lost all meaning President Obama. You are no longer “Change we can believe in”, but instead “Change we fear”. You have only three years to reverse the damage done. It’s time to stop preaching to those in Congress and for you to step up as our President. Only you can determine how history will remember you. If this speech serves as foreshadowing, you will be remembered as the President big on campaign promises, but lacking in actions.