Back in September, during President Barack Obama’s last speech to a joint session of Congress, South Carolina Congressman Joe Wilson set the tone for a particularly partisan and contentious end of 2009 by screaming “You Lie!” at the president after he falsely denied that the health care reform bills being drawn up by the House and Senate would provide coverage for illegal immigrants.
That next weekend, in her typical sensationalist, partisan and race-obsessed fashion, New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd read a racist remark into Wilson’s outburst, insisting that she heard him say “You Lie, Boy!” despite nothing of the sort coming from the congressman’s mouth.
With Barack Obama’s first true State of the Union address coming tonight while I’m in class I cannot help but wonder whether, rather than hearing “You Lie, Boy!,” Dowd and her colleagues in the left-leaning mainstream press will instead find themselves saying, “Boy, is this guy lying!” Because he will be. That much we know.
Anybody who pays more attention to American politics than American Idol already knows what President Obama is going to say. In fact, I’d venture to offer that picking out the most prominent themes of his speech before it has been disseminated or delivered would be just about as easy as opening up the Old Testament to the Ten Commandments, traveling to Capitol Hill, and circling the commandments as you see them being broken.
Still, of everything that President Obama has to talk about–the rising rate of unemployed Americans, the unconstitutional ex post facto tax on executive bonuses, the unbelievable governmental restrictions on executive pay, the automobile companies each American has a piece of, and so much more–the part of Obama’s State of the Union address receiving the most advance press is the plans by the White House to have the president call for a three-year freeze on non-defense discretionary spending.
Before even considering this administration’s habit of employing eloquent but empty words to pave the way for undesirable programs and legislation through populism and pandering, consider the nature of the spending freeze as a whole. Looking at the big picture, the spending freeze which will figure so prominently in Barack Obama’s speech underscores the common sense appeal of traditionally conservative ideas rather than the Keynesian mumbo-jumbo peddled so often by what passes for the Democratic Party.
Liberal ideas in general run afoul of common sense, so in the context of a nationally-televised prime time speech or even an effectively nationalized election, Democrats superficially adopt traditionally conservative terminology to hide their own motivation. Look no further than any statement on national security delivered by this president; if the safety and security of the American people were truly a top priority for this president, he would cease and desist with regard to his plans to bring 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed to trial in Lower Manhattan, he would have signed off on enhanced interrogation techniques for Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, and he would give his detente-at-all-costs approach to foreign policy a rest — instead, however, Obama talks tough publicly, often sounding less like his own administration and more like the previous administration he so vehemently campaigned against. Simply put, liberal ideas cannot stand on their own. Hence the spending freeze.
Aside from it simply being disingenuous, the spending freeze will be ineffective as well. In other words, it’s just more empty rhetoric. Non-defense discretionary spending accounts for only anywhere between one-eighth and one-sixth of the U.S. economy, and freezing it for the next three years would save only about $250 billion over the next decade.
Furthermore, the freeze would not affect the money still to be spent from the $787 billion “stimulus” package, not to mention the pending $150+ billion “jobs” bill (wasn’t the stimulus package supposed to be jobs bill?) or even the looming $900 billion health care reform bill. Therefore, any budgetary savings this administration finds, forces or fabricates would be offset by the off-budget costs of things like fiscal stimulus and health care reform.
This president needs to explain tonight that he is going to cut discretionary spending rather than simply freezing it, that he is going to suspend payment of any portion of the American Recovery and Investment Act which doesn’t directly relate to shovel-ready job creation, and that he will take any remaining funds in the Troubled Asset Relief Program–a slush fund if I’ve ever seen it–and use those returned funds to directly pay down the nation’s outstanding debt.
In other words, this White House is the equivalent of an everyday American family which, struggling to stay positive in this downturn and pay creditors relatively on time, finds $1000 in the sofa cushions but instead of using that money to pay down debt goes to buy a flat-screen television. A spending freeze isn’t enough. We need budget cuts and a reduced tax and regulatory burden used to facilitate growth and revenue — instead, this president is giving us the highest budget deficit in our nation’s history, not to mention higher taxes and other reasons for industry and business to flee the country.
And tonight, he’s going to address the country with the spin machine working overtime. Like in September, nearly every phrase which comes out of his mouth will include a misstatement of the facts or omission of reality. We’re recovering, says the president whose country is hemorrhaging jobs and currently has a real unemployment rate of roughly 17 percent. We’re working overtime to keep you safe, says the president who makes it a matter of policy to treat terrorists like citizens and citizens like terrorists.
Still, this is a different America than a year ago, or even back in September. Since Barack Obama’s last speech to a joint session of Congress, we’ve seen gubernatorial victories in New Jersey and Virginia, and a downright miraculous testament to true hope and change and common sense conservatism in Massachusetts with the election of Scott Brown to Ted Kennedy’s former Senate seat.
The Democratic Party supermajority is gone. Health care is down to backchannel negotiation and passage. Back in September, it took a brave Palmetto State powerhouse to remind the rest of the country that, sometimes, a president of the United States will massage the truth. Tonight, I get the feeling that misrepresenting facts and reality will be the norm, with truthfulness the anomaly.
NOTE: Because I’ll be in class, I will not be liveblogging the speech. With any luck, though, I’ll be able to watch it when I get home at about 10:30 p.m., and should some sort of reaction here at America’s Right in the morning. I can’t promise anything too comprehensive, like after the speech in September, because State of the Union speeches are looooong and I don’t expect anything different tonight (somebody–Obama–has some ‘splainin to do), and because I may have to report for jury duty early tomorrow morning, so late night hours are out. — Jeff