President Obama’s final State of the Union address was 59 minutes in length and brilliantly delivered.
Now, the bad news.
My technique is to not watch Obama speak but rather read the speech or have it on in the background and focus on the words. My assessment is that Obama spoke much about nothing that is pertinent to where we find ourselves today in America. His defined policy objectives were criminal justice reform, heroin abuse, our immigration system (meaning amnesty for illegals), gun violence, equal pay, paid leave, and raising the minimum wage.
President Obama talked about giving everyone a "fair shot" at opportunity in a new economy. First of all, who defines what a "fair shot" is? It appears that this is just more coded language for government-guaranteed equality of outcomes. The “every kid gets a trophy mentality” is not what America is about. That ideology is what gave us Carter's Community Reinvestment Act, and eventually, the financial crisis and meltdown. Government decided that it was their mandate to give a "fair shot" to everyone who wanted to buy a home, and it did not end well. Government works best when it creates the policies that advance individual sovereignty so individuals may pursue their own defined dreams, the pursuit of happiness. Anything else, as we have seen and as President Obama champions, is antithetical to who we are.
Somehow, President Obama failed to address the 40-year low workforce participation rate and the fact that more Americans have been dropped from the workforce under his "fair shot" policies. Obama said nothing about a national debt that threatens the future of America. The poverty and food stamp rolls have exploded in these past seven years. That is not the best of America. It is certainly not the best that we can do. We must grow this economy and we can do so, along with reforming government spending, and eliminating crony capitalism and corporate welfare.
Obama's vision of the future is centered on an ideological agenda that puts in peril the hopes and aspirations of our children and grandchildren. They will have less economic freedom and certainly less liberty if the Islamic terrorists prevail.
I have additional concerns from President Obama's final SOTU address. First of all, if our military was so very strong then why did we have 10 U.S. Navy Sailors detained by the Iranians because the engines on two riverine assault boats malfunctioned? That makes no real sense to me. Nor have we taken care of our Veterans. I wear a ring on my salute hand trigger finger to remind me about the 22 Veterans a day who are committing suicide in America. While we know there are problems in our VA system, no major reform has been made and many perpetrators of this heinous wrong still hold their positions.
Obama said nothing about the Taliban's resurgence and their hold on more territory than any time since 2001. It was just last week that the Taliban had an American Special Forces team trapped in Helmand province, yet Obama cannot bring himself to refer to this as "combat." Obama's own former acting CIA Director Mike Morrell testified Tuesday during a House Armed Services Committee that ISIS affiliations have grown far more Al Qaeda’s and that they comprise a legitimate strategic threat to the world and our homeland. There was no mention of ISIS’ most recent attacks in Baghdad and Istanbul. Again, Obama just could not bring himself to say Islamic terrorists or jihadists. In Obama's mind, they are just “killers and fanatics,” and shutting down GITMO will reduce their recruiting efforts. No, Mr. President, your fecklessness and exhibited weakness emboldens ISIS and their allies which are growing from Boko Haram in Nigeria to Abu Sayyaf in the Philippines. Obama asked for Congress to vote on an Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) but first we need a strategic plan to defeat ISIS. He could have articulated that but chose more lofty rhetoric and lecturing instead.
Russia has expanded and is in Crimea, Ukraine and Syria. China is building manmade islands by destroying reef systems and landing planes on these islands. Where are the environmentalists? China is also about to open up its first military base in Africa in Djibouti, as we have announced we are departing. The Iranian nuclear deal is a failure and has only served to empower and fund the number one state sponsor of Islamic terrorism. Iran is now exploiting their new-found strength and becoming a regional hegemony. Hence, the very open schism between Iran and Saudi Arabia.
President Obama talks about "protecting the American people" yet we had the biggest Islamic terrorist attack since 9-11 on his watch, San Bernardino. Before that it was Ft. Hood. And in the U.S., the enemy attacks our men and women in uniform with impunity, such as at the Naval Reserve Support Facility in Chattanooga. In the last week, we have arrested former refugee ISIS supporters in Sacramento and Houston. And who can forget the video of the horrific attempt to assassinate Philadelphia Police Officer Hartnett by an admitted Islamic jihadist. The American people are kind and willing to open up our arms to embrace those fleeing persecution, such as the Assyrians, Chaldeans, Coptics, and Yazidis, but those were not mentioned by President Obama. What the American people will not allow is what is happening in Germany and the rest of Europe. We will not allow a war on our women, as we are seeing there due to a clash of civilizational values, principles, and morals.
I can only wish that President Obama saw the enemy for who it is, and not the ideologically driven “threat” of climate change.
I, too, believe we should work together for the greatness and exceptionalism of America. However, telling people that "I have a pen and a phone" is not “working together.” It is ruling by edict. Our system of governance in this Constitutional Republic is about separation of powers, coequal branches of government, and checks and balances. It is about rallying support based upon the strength of ideals deeply rooted in the fundamental principles of this Nation. If we want to secure a better future for America, that must emanate from a government that respects the constraints of the Constitution at the federal level. We need to have a government that will be fiscally responsible and value our defense. The government must respect the sovereignty of the individual thereby empowering individual economic success, achievement, investment, innovation, and ingenuity. Those are the ingredients of a strong, free enterprise economy. And lastly, it is about the preeminent responsibility of the federal government to provide for the common defense.
I truly believe the greater days of America are ahead. Those will come, not from speeches enshrined in lofty rhetoric, but from a restoration of the American Republic. It will come from recommitting to the foundational principles that make America the greatest nation the world has ever known. Sadly, last night we got lots of optics and more talk and not a lot of substance.