Last night President Obama delivered a State of the Union Address that left some listeners scratching their heads, and many who felt like they were choking because most of what he said was pretty hard to swallow. After listening and then reading the transcript of the speech, I finally realized that the White House has hired Jonathan Gruber as the President’s new speech writer. Perhaps instead of calling this the State of the Union Address, it should be the State of the Gruber Address.
The speech, which lasted just under an hour, set a conciliatory tone by immediately threatening Congress with vetoes if they passed bills he didn’t like and describing things he refuses to allow Congress to do. Over the course of the speech the President went to great lengths to describe how robust our economy has become; he had to describe it because most Americans aren’t seeing it. Virtually all of the 11 million new jobs he spoke about went to immigrants, and the jobs Americans have been able to get are lower paying with fewer hours. He made no mention of the changes to the median income of American families.
We also learned that his tough leadership has put the brakes on ISIS, stopping their advance through the Middle East. The news comes as welcome relief to Israel, where ISIS is threatening their border with Syria and the first confirmed ISIS sleeper cell was discovered, to Egypt where ISIS is making gains on their territory, to Saudi Arabia where ISIS has been making threatening gestures towards Mecca, to Japan who has just received a ransom demand of $200 million for the release of two of their citizens, and to Afghanistan where ISIS has now established a presence. As the dust settles in France from the ISIS inspired attacks there, now they at least know they have a friend. Now that ISIS has been stopped, the President called on Congress to authorize the use of force to stop ISIS.
Perhaps one of the more mystifying parts of the speech came when the President said: “We gave our citizens schools and colleges, infrastructure and the internet — tools they needed to go as far as their effort will take them”. Who is “we”? Did he have a mouse in his pocket? Was he taking credit for the internet? Somebody should tell Al Gore. The President seems to forget that the government is “We, the people”.
President Obama also called for a country where “everyone plays by the same rules”, and he wants to accomplish that by raising taxes on the rich and giving away free stuff to everybody else. He calls for paid time off from work, higher wages and free college as though these things don’t have to be paid for by “we, the people”.
Jonathan Gruber was unable to recall how much he was paid to write the speech.