I was sitting in the gallery watching Obama’s State of the Union speech on Wednesday, not far from first lady Michelle Obama and her guests from Fort Hood.
Watching how Congress, the Joint Chiefs, and the Supreme Court justices reacted to Obama’s speech live gives you a different perspective from watching the show on television.
The overwhelming impression I got was that this was a petty, intensely partisan speech, devoid of inspirational national goals, but chock full of recriminations, finger-pointing, and petty partisan attacks.
There was plenty of red meat for Democrats, especially when the president blamed his predecessor for coming into office with a $200 billion budget surplus and leaving office with a one-year deficit of more than $1 trillion. However, Obama made no mention of the fact that his own administration expanded deficit spending by more than $1.3 trillion in just nine months, the biggest expansion of government spending in U.S. history.
While there is nothing new about the House chamber splitting along partisan lines in its applause of the president, last night’s speech was met by uncomfortably long silences from both Democrats and Republicans, as the president failed to inspire even his own partisans.
And it included several direct taunts of the Republican minority, including a defiant call for Republicans to come up with their own legislative proposals if they didn’t like those of Democrats.
The only problem is, Republicans have come up with alternatives to Democrat proposals on healthcare, energy independence, deficit reduction, and job creation, but have seen their proposals rejected on strict party line votes.
Obama confirmed that he will “address” the Republican Conference legislative retreat in Baltimore on Friday. But whether he will stay long enough to actually listen to Republican proposals is less clear.
While Obama pledged to make “tough decisions about opening new offshore areas for oil and gas development,” as the Republicans are demanding, the only decision his administration has made so far has been to loan $2 billion to Petrobras of Brazil to drill offshore of Rio de Janeiro.
Shortly before the Ex-Im Bank announced the $2 billion giveaway to Brazil last August, George Soros revealed that his New York-based hedge fund, Soros Fund Management LLC, was buying 5.8 million of the Brazilian company’s U.S.-traded preferred shares, which offer higher dividends than common shares, raising questions whether Soros had advance knowledge of the upcoming U.S. loan.
“The pathway to energy independence is an all-of-the-above strategy,” said Republican Conference Chairman Mike Pence. “If you’re wondering if that’s going to come up in our conversation with the president on Friday, don’t wonder,” he told Newsmax.
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