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It’s the fourth quarter of a very big game.

January 21, 2015

It seemed only fair to at least listen to the 2015 SOTU speech by the President before commenting on it. Done.

In general the speech followed the roadmap already leaked by the White House and the press, which was essentially a retread of “we are the party of free stuff and getting even with rich people.” At times, some of the victory laps did seem premature, if not fanciful.

The President took full credit for lower gas and oil prices, while conveniently forgetting that the credit for that rightly belongs to the Saudis, who are engaged in a global version of the gas price wars of the ’70’s, and American oil development on private property with private funding. Oh yes, and the lower unemployment rate, although that number is due in no small part to the number of people no longer actively seeking to be part of the workforce.

For anyone who missed the last five SOTU speeches, Mr. Obama is an unapologetic social progressive far left liberal. Nothing in this speech indicates that he is planning to change.

The labels don’t really matter, the ideology does. He is an unabashed champion of all-big-government-all-the-time governance, and hoping that he is going to change is about as productive as trying to chisel another face onto Mt. Rushmore using an ice pick.

To most of the world, the idea that you can keep dividing the same pie into smaller and smaller pieces and somehow come up with a larger pie is so obviously wrong that they have a tough time believing that the President really feels that way. They seem to think that if they can just show him the error of his logic, he will suddenly see the light, as if by divine revelation.

Believe it. This isn’t about logic, it’s about the man. He truly, passionately and single-mindedly believes in creating the world he thinks we should live in and in his place in history as the chief architect of that world. In his world, all good flows from government, the great equalizer.

Why should anyone have to worry about working to save up for their kid’s college education?  Obviously the government has more money, so why shouldn’t it pay for college?  For those people who put up roadblocks by selfishly using their own money on educating and providing for their own kids, why not make that impossible by taxing them until they too are living at a subsistence level?

If you are Barack Obama, that makes perfect sense. He made it crystal clear that to him working with Congress means getting it to pass the legislation he wants, and if they should be so obstreperous as to fail to do that, then it they are the bad guys.

The more interesting, if not exactly enlightening, part was the Republican response. Granted, in seven minutes there isn’t much time for substance, but by choosing one of the newly elected Republican faces, a vet and a woman, the party was sending a clear message that they were going to utilize new approaches.

Indeed, and perhaps in keeping with the retread feel of the SOTU, Senator Ernst’s presentation didn’t attack or even refer to any specific SOTU statement. The response was delivered in the vein of OK, you heard him, now here’s what we’re going to do. Like it or lump it.

Make no mistake, the country is not solidly in the Republican corner. Given the level of frustration with our government, the party’s window of opportunity to show they can effectively oppose the President is only going to be open for a short time.

The time for platitudes and promises of future success is over. No one cares about what might happen in two years. They want to see progress now. For many people, that visible marker means passing the Keystone legislation over the inevitable veto.

If the Republicans want to have a shot at the top spot in 2016, Congress is going to have to pass and send legislation to the Oval Office that not only clearly defines their platform, but proves they have earned the right to compete for a chance to implement it on a national scale.

If that happens, the President will have to haul out the veto stamp a lot more often, making the differences in the basic ideologies easier to define.

On the other hand, even the far right needs to be cognizant of the suspicions of the people. In theory, reducing the corporate tax rate is a tried and true tool for growing business investment.

Where that premise falls short is that the general public doesn’t believe that’s going to benefit them. They are fully aware that businesses are and have been sitting on stacks of cash. To them, they are being held hostage in a fight that never results in the ransom being paid or the hostages freed.

Unless the right can find a way to compel businesses to put some of their stash back into the average American pocket, giving breaks to big business will not be a vote-getter in two years.

If the only alternative for the voters is either free stuff from the government or no stuff at all, it isn’t too hard to see where the country will vote in two years.

Two years isn’t much time to reverse six years, or even several decades of liberal tax and spend policy, but that’s the reality of this fight. Hopefully, America wins in this one.

From → op-ed

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