Tonight, President Obama will use the pomp & circumstance attending the State of the Union to try to jump-start his flailing presidency. No doubt there will be much high-minded rhetoric, peppered with plenty of "let me be clear" and numerous allusions to "folks."
The question is whether anyone will be listening. There are two reasons for the growing indifference for the innumerable speeches that issue from the President's mouth: First, the public has figured out that President Obama is either unwilling or unable to work meaningfully with Congress, so little of lasting import is likely to happen. Second, with an approval rate of 41%, he's clearly squandered the enormous reservoir of public good will he enjoyed at both of his inaugurations, (compared to a whopping 69% approval at the start of his first term; a respectable 53% at the time of his second inauguration).
No doubt the President is going to try to put a good spin on his record. But the facts look much different. Here's life in America after five years of the Obama presidency:
- Income inequality has grown faster during Obama's presidency than under those of the three previous presidents.
- The debt stands at a record $17 trillion dollars.
- 20% of households were on food stamps in 2013 -- another record. Worse yet, for the first time, the majority of the households on food stamps are made up of working age people
- The poverty level has broken a 50-year record (after $20 trillion spent).
- After throwing 4.7 million Americans out of health plans in order to help the uninsured, only one in nine of new registrants for ObamaCare are the previously uninsured. And another 25 million are likely to lose their plans this year.
- Energy prices are spiking, yet the President has dithered for five years over the Keystone Pipeline, even though it could provide 800,000 barrels of crude oil per day to the US and create (sorely needed) jobs.
And that's just at home. Abroad, the news is no better.
- Liberated at dear cost in American blood and treasure, Iraq is falling back into al Qaeda-generated terror.
- Iran continues its march toward a nuke, completely undeterred by the supposed "breakthroughs" in negotiations with the US.
- Putin continues to outmaneuver and dominate Obama completely, whether it comes to Iran, Syria or the NSA leaks.
- China is extending its influence in Asia and as hostility grows between China and Japan, both are ignoring the US.
- And relations with our greatest friend in the Middle East, Israel, have continued to deteriorate.
Finally, keep in mind that under Obama, America has become a place where:
- Conscience rights (for clergy, for the military, for healthcare providers and business owners) are trampled as a matter of policy.
- A President and his administration feel free to attack private citizens for political reasons.
- The IRS targets the President's political opponents (including some in Hollywood) -- without any penalty (after an investigation led by an Obama donor) -- and with public encouragement from prominent Democrats.
- Campaign finance laws are selectively enforced -- against a prominent Obama critic.
- A president who has railed against "an ethic of greed" , denounced inequality, and called for "shared sacrifice" eagerly embraces the opportunity for himself and his family to live like the ultra-rich, taking full advantage of the taxpayer-subsidized perks of the presidency and enjoying the high life -- while less-fortunate Americans struggle, as the statistics above demonstrate.
If a Republican president had racked up this hideous record, members of the media would be running through the streets screaming as if their hair were on fire.
But whatever the president says tonight, Americans know the score. And they know that there is far too much in America that is terribly, terribly wrong. That, sadly, is the real state of our union right now. And it is up to us to fix it.