SOTU, Past and Present
On the bright side, it's his last address.
In January 2009, Hope ‘n’ Change™ was still fresh, and Democrats and many Americans were looking forward to a new start and a real recovery from a tough recession. As Barack Obama prepares to deliver his final State of the Union Address tonight, however, the shine is tarnished, and he has no one to blame but himself. Looking back to his first address to Congress in 2009, Obama said things that would make us laugh out loud if they weren’t so serious. He renewed his call for a “recovery plan” (a.k.a. the $800 billion “stimulus”) though he insisted it was “not because I believe in bigger government — I don’t” and “not because I’m not mindful of the massive debt we’ve inherited — I am.” He also declared we have a “responsibility to ensure that we do not pass on to [our children] a debt they cannot pay.” When Obama gave that speech, total national debt was $10.8 trillion. It’s quickly approaching $19 trillion. So he was mindful, alright — as he whipped out the nation’s credit card to pay for redistribution to Democrats’ favored constituency groups, thereby setting a new minimum level of spending that would be very hard to cut. He’ll come very close to doubling our national debt over his (insufferably long) eight years.
In terms of his other numerous initiatives and promises, he delivered on ObamaCare (though it was built on a foundation of lies and is not at all the success he claims), climate change regulations (via the EPA, not Congress), withdrawing from Iraq (we all know how that turned out), homosexuals serving openly in the military, raising taxes on the top two income brackets, and a handful of other things that grew government, increased debt or advanced leftist social engineering. Fortunately, however, Republican wins in 2010 and 2014 slowed his progress. Intentionally declining to tackle immigration reform with Democrat congressional majorities, Obama eventually made a show of executive action and decreased enforcement to keep the issue as a political wedge. But he did not succeed in achieving his idea of reform. Likewise, he has failed to do anything really meaningful to restrict gun rights, and he managed to become Gun Salesman of the Decade. The extent to which he was able to raise taxes was limited, as was the trajectory of federal spending. His current boasts of cutting the deficit are both disingenuous and empty — he nearly quadrupled it first, and it’s only falling because Republicans blocked many further increases.
So tonight we can expect a typically petulant man to take aim at his opponents, painting them in the worst possible light as he blames them for his failures. On the bright side, it’s his last State of the Union.