If the State of the Union address Tuesday night is any indication, it appears President Obama's chief speechwriter has been replaced by a cliché-generator circa 1960. His erstwhile oratory was a melee of cringe-inducing lines ripped straight from a sit-in.Perhaps that's what one would expect of a university lecturer in constitutional law. It's easy enough to provoke sophomores into a pointless but profound-sounding discussion by unleashing a few Democrat cliches, and there may be opportunities to induce some semblance of critical thinking among the One-Ls in a similar manner. Even Democrat hacks get it.
Obama is not a liberal visionary with deep desires to institute a progressive agenda. If he is, he's a miserable failure. You need look no further than his own record (starting with foreign policy) and then Tuesday night's speech for evidence. Banalities and tropes are not a governing philosophy or a plan. The immigration piece was good, but hardly a profile in courage. After all, even the GOP wants immigration reform now. There is also the small fact that Obama promised to deal with immigration in his first term.The good news, though, is that the State of the Union show is ineffective.
The edict on climate change was despotic, not liberal. I believe climate change is a problem and humans contribute to it. However, 'either do what I say or I will just start issuing executive orders' that make green energy companies rich is not the kind of governing we should be lauding, regardless of party or ideological bent.
His plea on gun control was manipulative and empty. It worked thematically, but failed on substance. The only point was to make Republicans look bad, while simultaneously lecturing about compromise and the importance of working together.
It’s a worst-of-both-worlds form of political communication: All the pomp of a Speech from the Throne without any of the give-and-take of Question Period.Compare and contrast:
“Speech from the throne” is the term used (with certain variations) in Westminister parliamentary systems. The head of state reads a statement about what “my government…” will do in the coming year. Then once it, and the dignity of the Queen (or her representative in Canada and other Commonwealth Realms) pretending that the government speaks for everyone, is over, things go back to normal. And that normal involves the head of government being hissed and booed and subjected to harsh questions in parliament.Perhaps, under Question Time, a disgruntled Member of Congress would have the opportunity to demonstrate a lie, rather than yelling about it.
In this respect, the State of the Union is really the worst of both worlds. The head of state stands before the people’s representatives (oh, and the senators, too) and delivers something allegedly about the nation as a whole. But then, as head of government–and therefore a partisan leader–he (i.e. the same person, unlike in Westminster systems) never sticks around to answer tough questions and subject himself to ridicule for the absurdities he has just mouthed. Instead, the opposition has to send someone to a TV/radio studio to give an equally absurd speech that hardly anyone listens to, and thus an opportunity for the sides to engage each other when people actually are paying attention is squandered.