THE SPEECH – AT 8:32 A.M. ET: President Obama gave his State of the Union speech last night. Remember? No, neither do I. No speech fades faster than the SOTU. And there were no great quotes, a characteristic of Obama's eloquent but unmemorable efforts.
Victor Davis Hanson gives us his take on Mr. Obama's address:
After Obama spent 2009 ignoring jobs in order to focus on health care, he tells us that 2010 will be the year of jobs. So after a year of promiscuously talking about higher income, payroll, health-care, and inheritance taxes on “them,” Obama suddenly believes that small business is the engine of growth, and will therefore get new tax cuts and credits.
Likewise, after ignoring or negating his campaign promises about coal, gas, and nuclear power in his first year, suddenly Obama announces that we’re going to develop them!
Some choice Obama tactics, now getting tiresome:
He trotted out the usual straw men: “I was told by some,” “Washington has been telling us,” etc. And once these awful straw men are set up, our hero Obama answers defiantly, “I don’t settle for second place!” The straw-man ploy is now stale.
The “I didn’t ask for” trope: Obama acts as if he bravely endures persecution on our behalf, rejects the easy path, and presses ahead on the difficult path.
The “they did it” trope: So when Obama talks of “lobbying” and “horse trading” on health care, apparently some right-wing nut in the Senate started buying votes at $300 million a clip? The Washington insider who has the White House and Congress blames . . . Washington!
The “Bush did it” trope: So Obama’s deficits are the result of Bush’s spending and weak economy — but is a relatively quiet Iraq due to Bush’s successful surge? No. Obama himself will bring the war in Iraq to a close. He did not offer one word of praise for Bush in a speech calling for unity.
And a few others:
The above-it-all lecturing: After blaming Bush for 30 minutes and castigating the Republicans for “just saying no to everything,” Obama lectures on Washington’s partisan bickering.
The meaningless deadlines and promises: No speechwriter should invoke Iran and a deadline to comply on nonproliferation; no one believes Obama after the past four failed deadlines, and he should give it all a break.
COMMENT: By the way, most of the comment on Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell's GOP response has been favorable. McDonnell once again showed that he knows how to strike exactly the right tone, one of the things that got him elected governor by a landslide recently, in a state that at times seemed to be drifting toward blue. He also invoked Scott Brown, a gracious thing from a guy who may see Brown as competition for a presidential or vice presidential nod down the line.
January 28, 2010