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“One year ago, I took office amid two wars, an economy rocked by a severe recession…” Blah Blah Blah

January 29, 2010

I think Jonah Goldberg has it right when he writes that listening to Wednesday’s SOTU address you had to conclude that Obama “seems to think [Washington] is run by someone other than him”. Obama likes to put the blame on real and imaginary protagonists and he did so again (and unsurprisingly) in his first State of the Union speech. The President’s message to Americans who aren’t starry-eyed worshippers of him was: “I feel you, you unsophisticated rural people of whose dwelling places I name a few in this speech as proof for my understanding your ways. But your anger and frustration needs to be directed at the Republicans and their hideous leader Bush, or at least against ‘Lobbyists’ (who are not the people I give specials deals to), not against Moi!”

The second message was basically that, not only do Americans err in their assessment of who is responsible in Washington since last January, but also in their refusal to embrace Obama’s policies. “Listen, you rubes”, Obama said, “nobody’s said that Change is gonna be easy. And since you evidently don’t recognise the genius of my way of governing and the greatness of my persona and of my politics, then all I can tellya is BOHICA. You didn’t want the bailouts, you got it anyway. You didn’t want the stimulus, you got it anyway. You didn’t want record-breaking deficits you got them anyway. And here’s a prediction: You don’t want ObamaCare you’ll get it anyway.”

If personally the French Cowboy found the way Obama said everything awful, not everything was awful about what he said. The announcement of tax cuts and an expansion of oil, gas and nuclear power are welcome. Yet I’ll refrain from cheering until I see it happening. And that attitude of a game show host advertising prizes Obama took on was pretty annoying. He reminded me of a Roman emperor declaring a season of bread and games to the masses while his reign is crumbling as a result of bad governance. And his lip service to furthering international trade was half mixed with plans to wage trade wars.

Shamefully lacking were meaningful comments on foreign policy, especially on Iran and terrorism. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were mentioned mostly to talk about the return of the troops and Veteran affairs.

All in all it was vintage Obama: condescending, narcissistic, light on substance; a row of arguments against enemies who don’t exist except in Obama’s rhetoric. There are the Thosewhosay, the Somewillargue, the Theytoldme, the Pessimists, the Obstructionists, the Naysayers and the “Washington”. And when Obama told his audience that “we can’t wage a perpetual campaign” he was downright comical.

Obama’s speech didn’t reveal much about the state of the Union. But it showed that the attitude of his administration is pretty much unchanged compared to a year ago and that sitting through the lengthy address wasn’t worth this piece of unsurprising intelligence. The French Cowboy has grown rather tired of Obama speeches and hopes that the President will take a prolonged holiday from speech-giving until, say, when he’s no longer president and we can safely ignore them.

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