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President Barack Obama’s 2013 State of the Union: All Promises and Hints; Few Results

President Barack Obama's 2013 State of the Union: Great Style and Obfuscating Substance

Talk about mirror-image addresses: President Barack Obama’s State of the Union speech and the response by Florida Republican Senator Marco
Rubio were the pinnacle of such opposites. The President’s was one of the most excellently delivered speeches I have ever heard, near-perfect in his elocution, with flawless pausing for effect, appropriate and compelling emphases, and general audience adaptation. It was peerless. But it was, as always, filled with promise and failure-guaranteed solutions with a few simply unarticulated reasons to anticipate success.

Sen. Rubio’s response, coming from what must have been a
well-protected site in a witness protection program, was sterile, dead-sounding
and embarrassing: he was alone in a spare room, as if he were hiding out from
authorities. He only had the water of the usual bread-and-water diet, and that
water he fetched during his speech was so far away that he should have said
“Timeout!” before fetching it. But his message was sound: no plan to grow the
government even more should have the expectation of solving the country’s
problems; the unaddressed debt problem is an unmet threat that continues to
worsen, raising taxes more and more isn’t the answer, and tough individualism
works and collectivism fails.

The President was all promise and few fruits of promise after four
years-plus on the job.

On the economy and domestic issues, he supported the old
"laundry list:" jobs back to America, climate change expenditures,
fixing infrastructure, and making high school education more job-related,
immigration reform...path to citizenship, while making borders secure, raising
the minimum wage, and enhancing the right to vote (by which he appeared to mean
supporting even earlier voting which could spare many citizens the arduous
chore of following a political campaign until its conclusion).

On foreign policy, the President said vaguely we shall keep
"pressure on [the] Syria regime," but even progressives [see
Richard Cohen in The Washington Post
] have accused Mr.
Obama of abdicating leadership, such as ignoring the problems in Syria, wherein
there have been about 500,000 thousand refugees and 70,000 deaths. The
President claims his efforts in counterterrorism have been "transparent to
the American people and to the world," but he ignores the dereliction of
his role as Commander-in-Chief in Benghazi.

On North Korea Mr. Obama says, pursuant to their testing a nuclear
device, that we shall isolate them further. How has that worked out?

On Iran he says, “We shall do what is necessary to prevent them
from getting a nuclear weapon.” That’s good, but what is the interim outcome of
our efforts -- what have we achieved thus far? We’re removing troops from
Afghanistan and will have completed such by the end of next year. How do we
know that Afghanistan will be stable? Is Iraq now stable? Success is not just
removing troops; success is leaving a stable state in place.

The President intends to forge gun control. What reason does his
speech give to make us infer that there will
be less violence and fewer killings if his program is adopted?

None.

What we heard was near-demagoguery on the claim that Gabby
Giffords and Hadiya Pendleton, both victims of violence, the latter a Chicagoan
fatality, "deserve a vote!"

To do what? To enact what policy that would have protected them,
how?

Mr. Obama's Second Inaugural showed him to be the anti-JFK and
anti-Reagan: government in all spheres is the answer.


It is the second term. The State of the Union should have more accomplishments and less promises. Maybe by the end of this term policies will have worked.


After all, the President did say, “We can get this done.”

When, Mr. President? How, Mr. President?


You need to tell us what has already worked.

----


Professor Vatz teaches political rhetoric and communication at
Towson University. He is the author of The
only Authentic Book of Persuasion,
Kendall Hunt, 2012, 2013.



 



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Steve February 14, 2013 at 09:50 PM
President Obama is tied with Lyndon Johnson in 14th place and moving up. By comparison his predecessor is ranked 39th out of 44. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Historical_rankings_of_Presidents_of_the_United_States
Sean Tully February 14, 2013 at 09:56 PM
Based on presidency up till this very moment, I'd put Obama past LBJ. LBJ has everyone except FDR beat on social programs, but Viet Nam will forever sink him. He just mishandled it.
Steve February 14, 2013 at 10:05 PM
I am reading a really good book now called "The Ex President's Club". It's about a not so secret club that is located across the street from the White House. It was founded by Herbert Hoover and Dwight Eisenhower and it details how the ex President's band together to help out the current President. That's how Bush I and Bill Clinton became such good friends.
Kongo February 14, 2013 at 10:11 PM
A lot of funny comedians on this thread. Needless to say, history will not be kind to the current huckster-in-chief.
Dave February 15, 2013 at 05:11 PM
Here's another term that parallels "flat earthers". It was coined by Paul Krugman. "A zombie idea is a proposition that has been thoroughly refuted by analysis and evidence, and should be dead — but won’t stay dead because it serves a political purpose, appeals to prejudices, or both. The classic zombie idea in U.S. political discourse is the notion that tax cuts for the wealthy pay for themselves, but there are many more."

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