Over the last day or so, I’ve tried to turn off the TV and radio, as pundits of all stripes are undoubtedly applauding or assailing President Obama’s State of the Union Address. Long gone are the days when a president of either party used the address to give a particularly honest state of affairs of our union. Instead, the occasion is often used to rally the Oval Office occupant’s political party or prospects for re-election.
Listening to the president Tuesday evening I was struck by how little he has accomplished over the previous year. Call for an increase in the minimum wage? We heard that last year. Ditto also on calls for equality of pay between men and women, measures to address global climate change and reforming our immigration system. Same goes for his push to increase manufacturing hubs across the country.
Ironically, it took Mr. Obama nearly 40 minutes to reference what we were told was his signature legislative accomplishment: the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare. Once proud to tout the measure that bears his name, the president made only a passing reference to “insurance” reform during his State of the Union Address.
Put another way, the president was unable to account for any meaningful progress with any domestic or foreign policy objective he announced to the Congress the previous year. Why would the president offer a nearly identical set of priorities to the country in 2014 that he had largely done in 2013? He is unable to govern the country by working with the Congress.
Detractors will immediately decry “Republican Obstructionism” or “Tea Party instringence.” Nonsense. Please pick up and read a copy of the Constitution of the United States. Our Framers intended for there to be equality and parity amongst the three branches of government. This is particularly true in dealing with the Executive Branch—the notion of a monarch imposing their will over the populace was a horror they sought to avoid at all costs. Hence, the Constitution explicitly provides that the House of Representatives must untie the purse strings of the federal government—the chamber closest to the people themselves. Mr. Obama should realize by now that Republicans were swept into power in 2010 to put the brakes on what many Americans viewed as an over-reach by the president and his democratic allies in the Congress.
Accordingly, the president’s defiant statement that he had a pen and a telephone he intended to use to circumvent the Congress only illustrates how he has no idea how to govern effectively to enact his articulated priorities. Contrast this to his predecessor in office who Mr. Obama likes to blame for his own inadequacies.
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