No one, least of all “mainstream” media and “moderate” Republicans, have come close to a correct read of President Obama’s State of the Union address January 20.
The most important aspect of his speech can be expressed in two words: he won.
He earned the right to play the lead power role for the next two years.
(Maybe beyond, given that he said in the speech: “It’s now up to us to choose who we want to be over the next 15 years, and for decades to come.” Given his success in circumventing the U.S. Constitution, he may be planning to build a framework that would allow him to run for president for a third term, or be proclaimed king for life.)
He would be a shoo-in if he ran again and would face no credible opposition if he proclaimed his lifelong rule.
He finally was able to silence critics who have said that a person whose chief qualification for president was experience as a community organizer shouldn’t be president.
Giving away other peoples’ money is what community organizers do.
His message was astounding, bold and persuasive and it seems to have captured the essence of what he has been striving to do for the past six years: Heping (sic) people through actions of the government.
The most instructive aspect of the SOTU, though, may have been news outlet photos of the event, especially two photos that accompanied articles.
One photo shows Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell standing behind the president, his eyes intent on the president.
Another photo is of House Speaker John Boehner standing behind the president, his eyes casting a sidelong intensive glare toward the president.
McConnell’s countenance can only be described as beaverish. (Indeed, he is often lovingly referred to by moderate Republicans and some Democrats as “The Beav.”)
Boehner’s countenance reflects his favorite moniker: “Pope John.”
Boehner’s look seems to say: “I love that man.”
In the next two years, Boehner will continue to show his love by leading Republicans in a chorus proclaiming long and loud opposition to whatever the president proposes.
Then, after a suitable time, giving the president most of what he wants.
In the Senate, McConnell promises to emulate former Majority Leader Bob Dole, famous for killing or watering down any conservative bills that might have gotten through the House.
His look conveys the message already evident: “Mr. President, believe me that I am only blowing Kentucky smoke when I criticize you. It is only for the conservatives in my party.”
It is both literal and symbolic, physically and philosophically, that McConnell and Boehner stand behind the president.
It is part of the even stronger bipartisanship exemplified by Republicans in the new Congress than was practiced during Obama’s first six years office, for it is difficult to name a measure that did not turn out largely in the president’s favor since he took office in 2009.
L.E. Brown, Jr. is a columnist based in Magnolia, N.C. Email him at [email protected]