Monday, January 30, 2012

SOTU 2012: chasing the great ideal

Obama delivered his State of the Union address last Tuesday.

Mr. "It's all Bush's fault" cited the difficulties he inherited, but the era of the big ideas like 'hope and chance', is long gone. If there is one big idea, which could be elicited from a litany of small fry it is "fairness". That is what 'hope and change' slogan was ultimately about - fairness.

How does 'fairness' Obama talked about differ from that guaranteed by the Constitution? If you get a paycheck from the government every month, or 'hope' to get one - you already know. If, on the contrary, you pay taxes - you won't understand.

The above 'explanation' of fairness is the key to understanding why Obama's address again rated at an 8th grade comprehension level on the Flesch-Kincaid readability test — the third lowest score of any State of the Union (SOTU) address since 1934.

The address was not mean to be comprehended logically, but grasped emotionally. Obama revealed this type of 'logic' in a debate in 2008, when he was would raise capital gains taxes in the name of fairness, despite the fact that doing so would decrease government revenue. Obama calls such redistribution for its own sake the 'Buffet Rule', named after a 'useful idiot', to borrow Lenin's terminology. Lenin was also in a big fan of chasing the big idea of 'fairness', like some great white whale. opined that "Obama's use of simple language is in part a reflection of his audience: the American voter in an election year". This seems like political spin by a left-leaning news organization - Obama's previous two addresses also used simplistic language. I would finish their statement with a different conclusion: "Obama's use of simple language is in part a reflection of his audience: the American voter ... (i) is being treated like a dummy (ii) actually is dumb."

Fortunately, some statistic suggest it was like it to the former. As the viewers heard Obama's 2012 SOTU recycling old lines from 2010 and 2011, 27% turned away after the first 5 minutes.

Mitch Daniels' rebuttal of SOTU 2012 brought up the inconvenient truth of the impact of Obama's policies over the last three years: “The President’s grand experiment in trickle-down government has held back rather than sped economic recovery.  He seems to sincerely believe we can build a middle class out of government jobs paid for with borrowed dollars.  In fact, it works the other way: a government as big and bossy as this one is maintained on the backs of the middle class, and those who hope to join it."

Associated Press described Obama's 2012 SOTU address "a wish list, not a to-do list". Furthermore, the conclusion of their fact check of his proposals was "Obama pushes plans that flopped before". "It sounds as if the president is doubling down on his already-failed policies of central management of the economy, higher taxes on job producers, and radical environmental policies which are costing us tens of thousands of jobs," said Dwight Weidman, chairman of the Franklin County Republican Party. "It was a campaign speech, and not something one would expect from a leader."

I beg to differ - captain Ahab was a leader, too. The only problem was that he led his ship and its crew to their doom. It would be more appropriate to call captain Obama a demagogue, who's leading us to the edge of a cliff. But he is leading. We need to work on that this November.

Captain Obama, chasing 'fairness'
I would like to finish by making a small adjustment to a great article by Charles Krauthammer on the SOTU 2012. The great columnist finished his article with: "If the Republicans can’t beat that [Obama's horrible record] in November, they should try another line of work." Charles is correct, of course, but what would the country gain from kicking the GOP? It's reminds me of a comical paraphrasing of a pizza ad "Your is pizza delivered in 20 minutes or ... it's cold." The relevant point, which Krauthammer was too polite to write is: "If Republicans can't beat Obama in November, we're screwed".

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