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Victor Davis Hanson | Obama’s SOTU speech: Déjà vu all over again





Sadly we know the Obama boilerplate speech by heart, and so the inaugural address was by now unfortunately straw-man psychodrama. Five years ago, the well-delivered script caused fainting, now it should earn mostly yawns: Fault the well off; invest more borrowed money in more federal programs that have no demonstrable record of success; blame the bad news on others; ignore the $1 trillion-plus annual borrowing; threaten to use more executive orders; demonize the opposition; take bad news abroad and declare it good, and fluff everything up with the hope-and-change cadences that address the trivial and avoid the fundamental.

1.“Them”: We start out in normal fashion: good news (e.g., strong stock market, more oil and gas production on private land) is, of course, due to the president; bad news (e.g., the economy shrank last quarter, unemployment is higher after we borrowed $5 trillion) is due to Bush’s “rubble of crisis” or due to structural impediments “for more than a decade.” In the new math, not having one month below 7.8 percent unemployment (in comparison with the prior administration’s not having one month above that figure) means after “shedding jobs for more than ten years, our manufacturers have added 500,000 jobs over the past three.” Adding some jobs matters; losing more of them doesn’t.  

2. Class War: Then we go to the familiar race/class/gender warfare tropes: “No matter where you come from, what you look like, or who [sic] you love”; “make sure government works on behalf of the many, and not just the few”; “asking nothing more from the wealthiest and the most powerful”; “the 1 percent of Americans”; “well off and well connected”; “billionaires with high-powered accountants”; the tired old Warren Buffett secretary rerun.

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