- Like last year, Obama's address was empty rhetoric, signaling
business as usual with a twist - more than ever embracing reactionary extremism,
promising harder than ever hard times on Main Street.
- Last year, an earlier article discussed his first State
of the Union address, accessed through the following link:
- Results again this time were predicable. Democrats loved
it. Time magazine called the Republican response "frosty," saying
"Stand-up comics call it a tough crowd."
- Released prior to the address, Rep. Paul Ryan's response
stressed "work(ing) with the President to restrain federal spending,"
saying "(o)ur debt is out of control. What was a fiscal challenge
is now a fiscal crisis."
- His message was clear - reward the rich, soak working
Americans, and fund America's war machine generously, an agenda enjoying
bipartisan support, very much so by Obama clearly signaled in rhetoric
- Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell's response following Obama
was also predictable, saying:
- "What government should not do is pile on more taxation,
regulation, and litigation that kills jobs and hurts the middle class....Today
the federal government is simply trying to do too much....The circumstances
of our time demand that we....restore and proper, limited role of government
at every level."
- Like Ryan and Obama, he's pro-business, pro-elitist,
pro-war and anti-populist, but so are most Democrats - together responsible
for harder than ever hard times for working Americans they plan to worsen,
- Predicable Media Response
- Newsweek editor Jon Meacham said, "There (were)
least three moments where (Obama) expressed explicit humility." He
and ABC News host George Stephanopoulos called his speech Reaganesque.
NBC's Matt Lauer and Washington Post columnist Tom Shales also stressed
humility, Shales saying, "Obama does have the ability to snatch humility
from the jaws of hubris." He also mentioned his "directness,
candor (and) neighborliness."
- MSNBC's Chris Matthews caalled Obama "seductive"
while Rachel Maddow said his address was "more of a CEO-style pep
talk/prayer to the free market, to the nation building in our own nation."
She added that he defined the political center "not so much by what's
wrong with both sides, but by what Mr. Obama likes from each party's wish
list." Other MSNBC hosts and analysts also expressed strong support.
- So did Washington Post columnists Anne Komblut and Scott
Wilson headlining, "State of the Union 2011: 'Win the future,' Obama
- "President Obama sought to rouse the nation from
complacency....urging innovation and budget reforms that he said are vital
to keep the United States a leader in an increasingly competitive world."
- WP columnist Eugene Robinson headlined, "Hard to
argue with Obama's State of the Union address," calling it "eloquent,
post-partisan, (and) unit(ing)-not....divid(ing)."
- A New York Times editorial headlined, "The State
of the Union," saying:
- "Mr. Obama's speech offered a welcome contrast to
all of the posturing that passes for business in the new Republican-controlled
House....At times, (he) was genuinely inspiring with a vision for the country
to move forward with confidence and sense of responsibility. Americans
need to hear a lot more like that from him."
- Nation magazine writer John Nichols headlined, "Obama's
'One Nation' Speech: A Little FDR, A Little Reagan, A Lot Like Ike,"
- While he wasn't entirely progressive, he was "far
less deferent to conservative demands than had been predicted just a few
days ago," stressing "One Nation" unified "behind a
'winning the future' agenda."
- In contrast, Fox News hosts and guests panned his address,
as well as through Fox Nation's live chat while he spoke, sharing largely
critical Twitter comments.
- A Wall Street Journal editorial raised doubts about a
business friendly president, saying:
- His address "can't erase the fact that in his first
two years (he) has overseen an historic expansion of government,"
including increasing federal spending "to as much as 25% of the economy
from a modern average between 20% and 21....A better economy requires policies
that reward work and innovation, while letting capital flow to the companies
and individuals with the best ideas."
- Writer Robert Scheer's assessment was accurate, saying:
- "What is the state of the union? You certainly couldn't
tell from that platitudinous hogwash (Obama) dished out Tuesday evening....he
was mealy-mouthed in avoiding the tough choices that a leader should delineate
in a time of trouble....He had the effrontery to condemn 'a parade of lobbyists'
for rigging government after he appointed (JPMorgan Chase's) top"
one as new chief of staff."
- His speech "was a distraction from what seriously
ails us: an unabated mortgage crisis, stubbornly high unemployment and
a debt that spiraled out of control while the government wasted trillions"
bailout out rogue bankers that caused the economic crisis. Our nation is
"divided between those who agree with Obama that 'the worst of the
recession is over,' and the far greater number in deep pain" he's
- A Reality Check
- As a candidate, Obama promised change, a new course,
progressive reforms, addressing people needs, ending US imperial wars,
assuring a better future for working Americans, and much more he reneged
on in office.
- As a result, hope became disillusion, frustration, and
anger for growing millions facing harder than ever hard times, including
lost homes, jobs and futures knowing what pundits and politicians won't
say - that Obama (like most Democrats and Republicans) represents business
as usual, a reality speeches can't change.
- State of the Union rhetoric aside, his agenda embraces:
- -- power and elitism over popular needs;
- -- austerity and harder than ever hard times for suffering
millions, including middle class Americans targeted for destruction;
- -- the worst of predatory capitalism, including freeing
business from regulatory restraints;
- -- generous tax cuts for corporate America and the rich;
- -- rewarding Wall Street and other corporate favorites
at the expense of Main Street;
- -- cutting Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and other
- -- sacrificing full-time high-paying good benefits jobs
for part-time low-paying ones without them;
- -- increasing unemployment, homelessness, hunger, and
despair for growing millions getting little or no government aid;
- -- crushing unions;
- -- destroying public education by making it a business
- -- letting oil giants and other corporate predators pollute
- -- continuing America's imperial wars;
- -- planning more perhaps to divert public anger from
dire economic conditions at home; and
- -- letting public need reach levels unseen since the
Great Depression, pretending he cares when he doesn't.
- That's the real state of the union. For growing millions,
it's dire, desperate, worsening, and repressive with no public agenda for
progressive reforms and promised change because bipartisan support rejects
- Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at
firstname.lastname@example.org. Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com
and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the
Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays
at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs
are archived for easy listening.