As expected, the State of the Union (SOTU) speech was delivered with the usual élan from the gifted orator, President Obama. Unexpected, for most, was the content of the speech. President Obama “doubled down” on policies soundly rejected by the American people.
For a candidate who was so politically adept, his tone deafness in office is startling. From Jonah Goldberg:
Since taking office, Obama has continued to see the presidency as the perfect perch from which to campaign for a job he already has. The solution to every problem the White House runs into is “more Obama.” Much of this stems from Obama’s own arrogance. When people disagree with his health-care proposals, it is because they don’t really understand them or because they are misdirecting their anger at him. When Rep. Marion Berry, D-Ark., warned the president that the 2010 midterms were shaping up to be a replay of the 1994 Republican tsunami, Obama reportedly told him that there was one important difference between then and now: “Me.”
Voters soundly rejected Obama’s programs in Virginia, New Jersey and Massachusetts. Additional support for this verdict continues in the form of declining poll numbers for both the President and Democrats in general. Yet, “like a drunk in a bowling shirt at the craps table who insists his losses don’t disprove his ‘system’ for winning, Obama stands behind his bet.”
The State of the Union was a chance for Obama to regain his mojo and demonstrate the political savvy he showed during his campaign. Instead, we got a surreal performance replete with inconsistencies and outright distortions, if not lies. For an out-of-touch ideologue, the speech might have made sense. For a political leader, however, it was a disaster.
Perhaps the best way of understanding the political foolishness of the State of the Union speech is to view it in terms of a Parole Board Hearing. In this setting, convicts usually come in to apologize for their past actions in the hope of early release. They express contrition, state how much they have changed and how they will become solid citizens if only given the chance.
In a way, the SOTU speech was Obama’s Parole Board hearing. The American public had “convicted” him. Now Obama had his chance to make a case for his “release.” Instead of providing a mea culpa and promising to adjust policies, Obama, in effect, defiantly announced that he was proud of his “crimes.” Furthermore, if released, he intended to recommit them. This performance was political insanity. It was the performance of a hard-core ideologue (“hardened criminal” that showed no understanding or remorse for his crimes). It revealed that he believed in what he had done, and public opinion be damned.
One has to wonder what or whether this Administration was thinking. The approach was not one that made sense in either a parole hearing or a political setting. Were they so arrogant to believe that the court of public opinion did not matter? Apparently they were.
The decision returned from the Parole Board read as follows:
“This person is self-consumed, arrogant and out-of-touch. His condition may be pathological. He is unable or unwilling to accept reality or advice. He has no intention of reforming his behavior. His idea of changing direction is to substitute the somewhat obscure Smoke and Mirrors for his previous shady modus operandi of Hope and Change. There is no evidence of remorse. There is no recognition that he understands that what he has done is wrong. Based on a full analysis of the relevant information, there can be no basis for assuming that he has been rehabilitated. On these grounds, the Parole Board of the American Public has no choice but to reject his request for release. Next earliest review date will be November 2010.”