TAMPA, February 12, 2013 — Pundits are already atwitter over tonight’s annual exercise in political posturing. The question many are asking is whether Obama will stay on the attack against his Republican opponents or attempt to use the speech to identify areas where he can work with them.
The real question is whether the president will make a single remark that bears any resemblance to reality.
The State of the Union address (SOU) has always been little more than a nationally televised stump speech. As all presidents believe that anything happening anywhere in the country is a direct result of their policies, none have ever wanted to paint a less than rosy picture about the supposed “state of the union.” After all, if it’s in a bad state, it must be their fault.
The speech is interminably long, but let’s look ahead to the main areas it will cover and try to separate fantasy from reality.
The president will remind us that he inherited an economy in shambles, which is true. He will hope that listeners draw the inference that his predecessor was wholly at fault for this, but that isn’t close to true. Every president since at least Teddy Roosevelt contributed to the problem, with the largest contributions coming from Democrats.
It will really turn bizarre when Obama starts talking about “the recovery” that’s underway. We’ll be told that while we’re not out of the woods and there is still “a lot of work to do (i.e., more government meddling to accomplish),” new jobs are being created, new industries are flourishing and things are generally looking up.
In reality, the United States is in a depression, just like the one in the 1930’s, and it’s being prolonged for all of the same reasons. The official numbers say that unemployment has been hovering around 8 percent, but that’s only because they’ve changed the way unemployment is measured. If they measured it the same way that they did in the 1930’s, unemployment would be the same as it was in the 1930’s.
As an aside, there isn’t any substantive economic distinction between “recession” and “depression.” Politicians just decided to stop calling them depressions to con the public. After a while, they started believing their own bovine waste products.
Obama will move on to foreign policy, where he will trumpet his wonderful accomplishments. We will be told that he successfully concluded the Iraq War and is now bringing Afghanistan to a similarly successful conclusion, with Afghani forces gratefully assuming the responsibility of providing security under the authority of a democratically-elected government.
In reality, the entire U.S. adventure in the Middle East has been an abject failure, as has been U.S. foreign policy in general for over a century. To the extent that it’s still not in total chaos, Iraq is now a radical Islamist state with strong ties to Iran and more anti-American sentiment than ever (Can you blame them?). Similar results have been achieved in other Middle Eastern countries where the U.S. has intervened on the side of revolutionaries.
The U.S. puppet government in Afghanistan is not only one of the most corrupt in history, but is openly disloyal to its U.S. benefactor. Those Afghani soldiers that U.S. troops are supposedly training have taken to killing their trainers whenever they get the chance. They lament that their commanders restrain them from killing more.
When the U.S. leaves Afghanistan, it will do so under the same circumstances as the British and Soviets did, in defeat. The president may declare victory, but then again, so did the Soviets.
Finally, we’ll hear that all of this wonderful success is due in part to the fact that America is different (better) than any other nation in history. We’re just so darn special that we can overcome anything fate throws our way. We’ve made the world a better place and our former prosperity is just around the corner.
This is the most painful delusion of all. Yes, America was special, but not for the reasons that Obama or his Republican opponents believe. What made America different from every other nation in the world was its Bill of Rights, the set of amendments to the Constitution that told the U.S. government what it may not do, regardless of polls or elections. If only there were a hundred amendments instead of ten.
Those precious impediments have been under attack since the ink was dry on the document, but they were particularly ravaged during the Bush administration. With the Patriot Act and related legislation, Americans could be searched without warrant, detained without due process and tortured. The government could read their e-mails, tap their phones and spy on them with cameras.
Obama just applied to the coup de grace, publishing a memo explaining his procedures for killing American citizens without due process. Whatever was different about America from the worst banana republic is now gone.
Enjoy the speech.
Tom Mullen is the author of A Return to Common Sense: Reawakening Liberty in the Inhabitants of America.Click here for reuse options!
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