Rep. Tom Marino (R-PA) is not looking forward to President Obama’s final State of the Union address tonight. He spoke to Townhall hours before what he expects will be nothing more than another empty speech.
We began by asking Marino which of the president’s policies he believes has done the most damage. He didn’t know where to start.
Regulatory reform, he said, has been wholly neglected, for Obama “thinks the government should run people’s lives.” Marino then referenced the lack of jobs and the administration’s misleading unemployment rate. The administration, for instance, does not count people who have stopped looking for work and at times even equates part-time work as full-time employment. Marino also noted that wages have become stagnant and Obama has added $9 trillion to the national debt. To these failures, Marino added the disaster of Obamacare, which the president will undoubtedly hail tonight as a success.
Terrorism is also expected to be a major topic tonight. After speaking with Americans across Pennsylvania and several other states, Marino has concluded the country has little confidence in Obama’s ability to defeat terrorism.
“My constituents are afraid,” he said. “Not only my constituents. I go around the state and speak and get around the country. They have no confidence in the president because he is sticking his head in the sand and ignoring this issue. This is a president who had the opportunity to make a significant impact on foreign affairs and he chose not to. He could have completely wiped ISIS out when they were leaving Syria, headed for Iraq.”
Instead, Marino reminds us, the president called the expanding terror group a “Jayvee team.”
“He lets his ideology get in the way and people are afraid.”
The administration announced there will be an empty seat at tonight’s State of the Union to recognize the victims of gun violence. This empty gesture, Marino said, is more evidence of the president’s failed anti-terror strategy.
“It’s clearly an empty gesture,” Marino said. “What that symbolizes to me is, an empty seat is saying to the terrorists, I don’t take you seriously even though you’ve killed people in the United States, even though you continually preach the fact that you’re going to destroy Americans. That’s just him flagging to the terrorists he’s really not taking this seriously and what he should be doing is saying we need to kill every single member of ISIS and that seat up there is for the people who were killed by terrorists and not only in this country but around the world.”
The president, he surmised, seems more apt to address climate change.
“I have never been more afraid for my children’s future.”
Along with Obama’s designated empty seat are a lot of empty promises.
“I don’t believe anything that comes out of his mouth,” Marino fumed. “He’s in this for himself. He is a narcissist.”
Which uninvited guests, we wondered, should have been granted seats at tonight’s speech? Without hesitating, Marino said the family of Kate Steinle, the young woman who was tragically killed by an illegal immigrant in the sanctuary city of San Francisco last summer.
“He should have invited her family,” Marino insisted. "And tell the American people this symbolized his devotion, his intent, to deal with people who are here illegally. He’s not dedicated to that at all.”
Marino concluded our conversation by offering a few words to summarize Obama’s eventual legacy.
“He had an opportunity to create a good legacy, but he chose to place himself above the country.”
It’s going to be a long night – not only for Marino, but countless Americans who feel left behind after seven years of broken promises.