Thought of the DayJanuary 28, 2010
As I was out to dinner, I missed part of the President’s speech. While he seemed relaxed – there appeared to be more than the usual applause interruptions – I thought his forceful posture seemed somewhat contrived. Perhaps I am wrong. He is a masterful speaker and offered something for everybody, including, apparently from the camera shots, a sleeping pill for Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid. I do wish that the cameras were able to show the President and not the puppet-like, nodding and smiling heads of the Vice President and Speaker of the House sitting behind him.
Though he called for fiscal responsibility, there is little question he continues to believe in a bigger role for government, which, definitionally, means more spending. He said, “Let’s leave behind the fear and division”, and then went on to bash his predecessor. It is little wonder that he has become the most polarizing President in recent years. With the Supreme Court justices sitting twenty feet in front of him, he dissed them for last week’s decision – an unusual rebuke during a State of the Union speech.
Jobs, as expected, were the core of the speech, but he continued to push for his trade-mark policies – cap-and-trade and healthcare. His poll numbers will likely rise, as is often the case in the immediate aftermath of such a speech. The important thing will be the follow-up, especially for positive proposals like building nuclear plants, eliminating capital gains taxes for small business and extending tax credits, based on mew hires, for small and mid-size businesses.
The President is a gifted orator and one can be seduced by his words, but in the end it is the actions that he and Congress take that become important. The contrast between Mr. Obama’s seventy minute speech and Governor Robert McConnell’s ten minute response was clear, not only in terms of style, but in content when Mr. McConnell said: “The circumstances of our time demand that we reconsider and restore the proper, limited role of government at every level.”
I am off again, for a few days in the sun, this time with my wife, returning on February 8. Now that I have a MacBook Air, I won’t be totally out of touch, perhaps to the regret of some, but, I hope, not most.