On SOTU, Obama could learn a lot from Washington (George, that is)

January 29, 2014

As this column goes to press, the 44th President of these United States is putting the final touches on his 5th State of the Union address. And while the exact text is not known, it is a certainty that while there will be much talk of “fairness”, “opportunity”, “hard work”, “education”, and “income-inequality”, there will also be one thing glaringly missing: honesty.

Honesty in that the Congressional inaction Mr. Obama so rails against is as much a fault Harry Reid running the United States Senate as his own private fiefdom as any Tea Party “extremist”. Except for his ramming through the historic filibuster blow up, Reid has kept bill after bill from ever seeing a vote on the Senate floor.

Honesty in that the “income inequality” the President now says is the critical issue of our day has grown more under his own policies than the predecessor he still attempts to blame for one self-inflicted failure after another.

Honesty in that while the President’s latest executive action, raising the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour for new federal contractors, may sound good, the reality is the action just further increases the cost of government services to the very taxpayers the President claims he wants to help.

Honesty in that for all the rhetoric of wanting “job creation”, the one thing that could immediately create thousands of good paying, quality construction jobs AND bring in millions of additional tax revenue to federal, state and local coffers, the Keystone XL pipeline, still sits collecting dust at the request of the President’s left wing base.

We’ve harnessed the atom, we’ve sent men to the moon and back, and our scientists today receive regular updates from a robot on Mars but we still find ourselves helpless when it comes to getting this President’s rhetoric to match the truth of his reality.

And the reality of the state of the union today is that Mr. Obama’s truth is catching up to him.

The latest Washington Post-ABC News poll reveals that a full 63% of America does not trust him to make the right decisions for the country, and no matter which poll is used, the larger number in his approval/disapproval ratings is on the disapproval side.

America would have fared far better last night if instead of rehashing the same divisive themes, the President would have instead incorporated the tone of the first state of the union.

When George Washington delivered the first State of the Union address he opened simply with “Fellow-Citizens of the Senate and House of Representatives: I embrace with great satisfaction the opportunity which now presents itself of congratulating you on the present favorable prospects of our public affairs.”

He encouraged Congress to take up the issue of education and closed with a humble: “The welfare of our country is the great object to which our cares and efforts ought to be directed, and I shall derive great satisfaction from a cooperation with you in the pleasing though arduous task of insuring to our fellow citizens the blessings which they have a right to expect from a free, efficient, and equal government.”

While much has changed since Washington’s time, what makes a “great” President has not: honesty, humility and a respect for the Constitution and its checks on Presidential power are still the traits that transcend party and stand true to time.

Mr. Obama is quite fond of quipping: “the American people deserve better”. And while that is most certainly true, until he speaks them to the man in his mirror a “better” state of the union is a long way off.

Publisher’s Note:  A version of this column first appeared in the January 29th, 2014 print edition of the Joplin Globe.

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One Response to On SOTU, Obama could learn a lot from Washington (George, that is)

  1. […] dumps honesty, channels Caesar for 2014 State of the Union January 29, 2014By Geoff CaldwellAs my print column for the Globe predicted, Obama’s 5th State of the Union address had a lot of feel good words […]


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