A Disgraceful Performance

The President wanted SOTU to cheer us up this year, and it did me in the sense that he looked weak and defeatable.

But it was an even worse speech qua speech than last year's (though it was almost the same speech, but we'll get to that). No premise, no argument, no supporting evidence, no sustaining theme, no narrative arc, no memorable lines: just a list of assertions and promises. A loooong list of assertions and promises.

It's not even worth portion by portion analysis. I'll just make four points.

1. He did not so much as mention the deficit and run-away spending, THE crisis looming over our heads. Imagine if Roosevelt had given a SOTU without mentioning the war. WEAK.

2.This man is King Canute without the self-awareness. Canute "commanded" the tides to illustrate the limits of power, but Obama thinks the world will change if he just pronounces things earnestly and encouragingly enough.  He plans to solve teen truancy by making it illegal. (which reminds me of nothing so much as the website #thereIfixedit) He plans to stabilize the economy by cheerleading:
Tonight, my message to business leaders is simple:
Ask yourselves what you can do to bring jobs back to your country, and your country will do everything we can to help you succeed.
Except, you know, change any policies. By "your country" he means "I," and by "everything we can" he means "cheerleading:" those jobs'll come back because I said so.

Or my favorite line of the night:
We can do this!
As Mary Katherine Ham tweeted, apparently "Yes we can!" is going to keep getting more and more emphatic. Note to President: this is not what is meant by "fake it til you make it."

3. Lies. He credits his immigration program and not the bad economy with the slowing of illegal immigration. The man had the gall to invoke Lincoln to the effect that Government should do for people only what they can't do better by themselves as his guiding principle in a speech that did nothing but invent new regulations and federal programs as the solution to everything. Because federal jobs training makes jobs, not employers wealthy enough to hire people; the Lord knows adding a new government teacher training program every year is making public education better and better. He proposed more regulations to regulate the regulations we already have and called it "getting government out of the way." And a federal truancy law for the love of all that is holy!

4. This was actually creepy. At the open and close, the President praised the military, citing unit cohesion as an example for civilian life.

These achievements are a testament to the courage, selflessness, and teamwork of America’s Armed Forces. At a time when too many of our institutions have let us down, they exceed all expectations. They’re not consumed with personal ambition. They don’t obsess over their differences. They focus on the mission at hand. They work together.
Imagine what we could accomplish if we followed their example. 
That's just Obama wishing he could command civilians the way he does the military. Life would be so easy for him if we'd just do as he says. It's chilling, actually. As Bill Kristol asks,
Is martial virtue the highest stage of progressivism? 
Behind all sophomoric appeal to "coming together" and "putting aside our differences" (great speech, Mr. Valedictorian) lies a complete refusal to face reality. Kristol nails it here too:
What Obama doesn’t say is this: It’s not just that you look out for the person next to you, or the mission fails. It’s also that you endure tough and demanding training, or the mission fails. You subordinate your own wishes, or the mission fails. You wash out many of those who wish to serve, or the mission fails. You insist on fitness and discipline and good character, or the mission fails. You do away with any sense of entitlement, or the mission fails. But Obama isn’t interested in the truth about why a mission succeeds or fails. He’s interested in using the prestige of the military to justify the nanny state.
 It's heartening, though, that when the leader of the free world is about to become Greece, President Obama has our backs with a national truancy law. It means he is completely and utterly weak and will be soon defeated.

(Unless the feckless GOP chooses his opponent.)

Finally: I didn't like this speech the first time I heard it. During Last year's SOTU:
He didn't mention entitlement spending last year, either. And all he changed this year was swapping out high speed rail for federal truancy. Oh, and publicly jonesing for us all to be under his command.