President Obama’s historic sixth State of the Union address last night ended up not so historic after all. In what most critics are charging as more of the same old, tired rhetoric, and vain sermonizing, Obama’s remarks to Congress offered, at best, new packaging for old Democrat ideas.
Peppered throughout the speech were calls for civility and an end to partisan politics, which echoed the same theme with which he began his presidency.
Seasoned political analyst Fred Barnes ripped Obama’s address to shreds in his Weekly Standard column today, “On this subject [of economics] and many others in his address, Obama is blowing smoke. He claims wonderful things have happened in his presidency, now entering its seventh year. But most of his claims are false or weren’t the result of his policies.”
ABC’s Rick Klein doused Obama’s rhetorical fire, “This speech was never designed to present bills that have actual shots at being enacted by Congress.” And NYT’s Peter Baker added, “For all of Mr. Obama’s confident demeanor, the question raised by the speech was whether advancing initiatives with little or no hope of passage constituted an act of bold leadership or a feckless waste of time.”
Even CNN’s Wolf Blitzer chimed in on Obama’s hyperbolic statements about our successes against global terrorism, “He also seemed to suggest that the U.S. is really winning on this war on terrorism. Here I think he was on more questionable ground, to be sure, because it looks right now that ISIS in Iraq and Syria still very powerful. Al Qaeda in the Arabian peninsula, in Yemen, still very powerful. And these other Al Qaeda groups whether going forward in Somalia or elsewhere in Africa, North Africa, they seem to be very formidable. Represent not only a significant threat to people in the Middle East and North Africa, but Europe and potentially here in the United States as well.”
What was expected to be a bold line in the sand from the White House that would challenge Republicans in Congress to respond to a broad-based call for action ended up being an over-hyped campaign speech aimed, ostensibly, at an attempt to revive the president’s image.