Didn't you think the president gave a marvelous State of the Union address? He was so, you know, civil.
Americans may crave civility, but they crave honesty more.
Are you going to argue that he was dishonest?
Not entirely, but certainly insincere. The disconnect between his rhetoric and his actions has produced a deep-running distrust in the voters -- as we saw in November. When (for instance) a philandering drunk of a spouse casts trust away, it's difficult to earn it back.
So you don't think Barack Obama has learned the lesson of the November elections and become a moderate? Following the president's speech, when asked if he had moved to the center, Nancy Pelosi said, "I think that's where he's always been."
Mrs. Pelosi was simply reaffirming her own incoherence. Obama campaigned as a reassuring man of the middle. In his first two years, he performed as an extreme government interventionist.
But in the lame-duck session, he extended the Bush tax cuts, showed himself as business-friendly, and came out for regulatory reform. In a relaxation of his expressed sentiment a year ago, he now is committed to keeping American troops in Afghanistan until 2014. Oh, and he ended the stimulus program.
In the nearly two years before the lame-duck session, during which time Democrats controlled both houses of Congress, he -- let's see: enriched Big Labor with leftover TARP funds, rammed through an $862 billion package intended to stimulate job-growth (on the contrary, 2.1 million non-farm jobs were lost), effectively nationalized Chrysler and General Motors, and socialized American medicine.
Still, in the same period, unemployment soared from 7.8 percent to 9.4 (and almost reached 10), Obama and his Democrats added $3.4 trillion to the deficit, Obama imposed 132 new regulations, and -- with Obamacare -- he signed a measure calling for 16,000 additional IRS agents to compel taxpayer compliance.
But he spoke eloquently and repeatedly of the need for bipartisanship -- as he did again Tuesday night.
Earlier, he also termed Republicans "enemies" and said they would have to "sit in back." Do you call that civil rhetoric or bipartisanship? In urging bipartisanship now, he is (a) asking Republicans to practice what he periodically preached but emphatically failed to practice during his first two years in office. And he is (b) asking a divided Congress to do what a lopsidedly Democratic Congress refused to do.
Yet in his speech --
Ross Mackenzie lives with his wife and Labrador retriever in the woods west of Richmond, Virginia. They have two grown sons, both Naval officers.
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