President Obama attempted to lower himself enough to actually see the suffering of the people. It seemed strange, and unnatural, and in the end it rang hollow.
The President sought to taunt the Republican opposition into cooperating with an agenda that neither they, nor the American people believe in, and threw them a few bones in the process. Obama’s most significant offering was to offer an end to the capital gains tax on small businesses. Of course, he could do this knowing full well that a Congress packed with Democrats will never pass such legislation.
Obama did the same on energy. He tantalized the Right with the idea of new offshore drilling, but coupled it with a push for his Cap and Trade Bill. So, in essence, Obama offered the Right a chance to drill for oil that they would not be allowed to burn.
The President also, in a most peculiar turn, attacked Washington D.C. as the source of our problems. It is certain that this is a populist theme, but the concomitant fact is that Obama has been President for a year now, and has shown a penchant for wallowing in the worst of the backroom deals you might expect in D.C., and no sign he can rise above it.
President Clinton stopped by the White House this week to offer up some suggestions to the young President. Some of it was evident in tonight’s State of the Union speech. It was clear that President Obama was trying to emulate Clinton’s ability to “feel our pain”, but regrettably Obama is just too elitist for this approach to seem genuine.
At the same time, President Obama clung to his unpopular Health Care reform plan with a steely grip. The President tried to make us believe he heard the people’s voice, but refused to set aside the agenda that the people have vociferously decried.
So there were promises of tax cuts, green jobs, a clean environment, balanced trade, work for all, and spending for everything. All this would be great if it was indeed possible, but alas there are no unicorns waiting to take us to “green world.” You can’t spend your way out of debt, and rhetoric is not a substitute for action.