Friday, January 31, 2014

THAT SOTU ADDRESS



After considering some of the inflammatory verbal comments at Council meetings and those sent as comments to my blog; I would hope that any remarks I make about President Obama and the SOTU will not be considered by anyone as racist.


Yes I found his 2014 SOTU speech uninspiring and disappointing. 

The fact is that it may be so because I have been disillusioned by the Presidency of the man, that convinced that the United States had come of age, I voted for in 2008; and somewhat reluctantly again in 2012 because then I had felt that he had not taken full advantage of his golden opportunity to collaborate and advance the benefits of this nation’s religious, ethnic and political diversity in a time of great social and economic upheaval.


It seemed that much of his actions have tended to isolate himself from those who did not agree 100% with him.


But that is not the avowed subject, “My take on his SOTU address”.


Due to television the annual SOTU has become just a presentation of well-organized pageantry. It matters not what the political party the President belongs to; on cue during the speech all the members of his party stand up and applause and all the opposition sit stone-faced. There are exceptions when such icons as “God”, the country as a whole , or an individual that the President recognizes as a particular example for a point s such as a wounded veteran is pointed out; then the entire chamber stands.


Of course the Vice President always stands and claps at the right time, while the speaker of the house if belongs to the opposition sits and scowls. In Bush’s days that was Nancy Pelosi. 


The circus does not change, but this year’s speech was marked by promises to do by executive order what Congress refuses to act upon.



The first media commentary that I could read came from Great Britain’s third largest paper, the Manchester Guardian.  Excerpts from its comments sum up the speech:

"The primary focus of President Obama's State of the Union was to position his 2014 agenda around wielding the power of the presidency through the use of executive actions.


It's a (perhaps overdue) reflection of political reality and a contrast to the way he's implored Congress to act on his legislative priorities in previous SOTUs -- typically coming up empty-handed. With his own approval ratings down and base-driven midterm elections on the horizon, Obama has disabused himself of the prospects of enacting grand bargains here and bipartisan comprehensive solutions there.


"America does not stand still – and neither will I," Obama declared in the thesis-defining lines of his speech. "So wherever and whenever I can take steps without legislation to expand opportunity for more American families, that’s what I’m going to do”

“His plan to sidestep congressional opposition by governing through executive action has drawn predictable howls of "tyranny" from the opposition.”

“The most publicized action that the White House unveiled on Tuesday was to raise the minimum wage among federal contract workers to $10.10. The practical effects of this change - how many federal contract workers are earning minimum wage, exactly? - may be minimal. The move does set up a marker for the Democratic midterms, though, on which a legislative proposal to raise the minimum wage for all workers to $10.10 is becoming the banner campaign item - along with immigration reform, the other issue where Democrats hope to box in Republicans”


Obama has been accused of violating the Constitutional principle of separation of the Administrative, Legislative, and Judicial branches of our Government.


"By the numbers, Mr. Obama has so far been restrained in his use of executive power. He has signed just 168 executive orders, and the 147 he issued in his first term were the fewest of any President over a similar period going back at least a century. In their first terms, George W. Bush signed 173 executive orders, Bill Clinton 200 and Ronald Reagan 213." (the Times)


Yet as that Reactionary Senator from Texas has written; “the numbers matter less than the scope of the ones that are signed. Mr. Obama has unilaterally deferred deportation of younger illegal immigrants, delayed enforcement of his health care law and declined to defend legal challenges against the Defense of Marriage Act, a law barring federal recognition of same-sex marriages”. of course in the WSJ.


And the most important one exempted the members of the Congressional staffs from complying with the mandatory provisions of the ACA.


The speech was a vague threat that in the end may not stand up in court to Constitutional challenges.

Unfortunately unless there is a sudden change in policies in all of Washington we are going to be doomed to a year of pre-election posturing with the only action being one that benefits the re-election campaigns.


Yes the SOTU presentation was just once again only a part of Washington’s annual “show and not tell.”



  

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