Defiant Obama offers liberal agenda he knows will go nowhere in Congress

President Obama's State of the Union speech was a throwback – a rehash of liberal ideas and dreams over the last 40 years that have no chance of passage and will never even see the light of day in committee hearings on the Hill.

Then why propose them?  Jay Cost at Weekly Standard has some thoughts:

Rather than acknowledge the new Republican majorities, and try to find common ground, the president insisted on policies he knows the GOP will never accept. Tax, spend, regulate, then repeat -- as if this is 2009 and Nancy Pelosi, not John Boehner, is sitting behind him.

Why? I think it’s because this president’s number one priority is always to appear unbowed.  He must imitate Jake LaMotta taunting Sugar Ray Robinson at the end of Raging Bull: “You never knocked me down, Ray!”

If Obama were to respond to the midterms as Bill Clinton did -- defending liberal values while working on problems with Republicans where the two sides basically agree -- he’d appear to be capitulating. By insisting on ever more government, he’s LaMotta: you never knocked me down, Boehner!

So, we get two more years of no action -- even on issues where there could be agreement -- because God forbid this president appear to lose.

In fact, in an hour of speaking, the president pretended that November never happened – that the wave that swept so many Democrats into the dust bin of history wasn't even a ripple.

Byron York:

Perhaps the most striking thing about the 2015 State of the Union address was not the president at the podium but the audience in the seats. The joint session of Congress listening to President Obama Tuesday night included 83 fewer Democrats than the group that heard Obama's first address in 2009 — 69 fewer Democrats in the House and 14 fewer in the Senate. The scene in the House Chamber was a graphic reminder of the terrible toll the Obama years have taken on Capitol Hill Democrats.

Not that the president would ever acknowledge that. Indeed, in more than an hour of speaking, Obama never once acknowledged that there was a big election in November and that the leadership of the Senate has changed. Obama's silence on that political reality stood in stark contrast to George W. Bush's 2007 State of the Union address, in which he graciously and at some length acknowledged the Democrats' victory in the 2006 midterms. Bush said it was an honor to address Nancy Pelosi as "Madam Speaker." He spoke of the pride Pelosi's late father would have felt to see his daughter lead the House. "I congratulate the new Democrat majority," Bush said. "Congress has changed, but not our responsibilities."

If one cannot imagine Obama saying such a thing — well, he didn't.

As Steven Dinan points out in the Washington Times, Obama actually made a mockery of that election:

President Obama spent much of Tuesday’s State of the Union calling for civility in politics — then taunted Republicans over his two election victories, after many of them applauded the looming end of his political career.

Mr. Obama issued a broad call for “a better politics” that began with common principles, and said his agenda isn’t political, pointing out “I have no more campaigns to run.”

That drew rousing applause from the GOP side of the aisle, which had sat on its hands as Mr. Obama had ticked off partisan proposals he wanted to see, and threatened vetoes of bipartisan bills Republicans are trying to pass.

The applause was too much for Mr. Obama, who punctuated his declaration that his campaigns are over by saying, “I know, because I won both of them.”

Democrats roared with delight, while red-faces Republicans grimaced.

Petty, small-minded, arrogant to the last.

Ron Fournier, writing before the address, wrote of 5 things to watch to see if Obama had changed:

The tone: Close your eyes, set aside your opinion of Obama, and objectively listen to a chunk of the address. Does he sound like a college professor—dismissive, dour, arrogant, and argumentative? Or does he sound like a preacher—inspirational, inclusive, optimistic, and humble? The latter approach is the mark of a great leader.

The president wasn't much of a college professor, either, but he sure sounded like one.

The shellacking: It wouldn't hurt to acknowledge the inconvenient truth that his leadership is the single biggest reason why Democrats lost the midterm elections in November. What lessons did he learn from the drubbing? How did those lesson shape his agenda? My colleague George Condon notes that every president of the past 100 years has been forced to address midterm defeats. Most have handled the situation with grace. Can Obama?

Surely you jest.  And don't call me Shirley.

The sacrifice: Among George W. Bush's greatest mistakes was not asking Americans to sacrifice in the aftermath of 9/11.  He put the nation on perpetual war footing without demanding new taxes or national service. Obama inherited the so-called war on terrorism and doubled down on the mistake of thinking Americans are too cynical for sacrifice. He gives lip service to national-service programs. In his hands, proposals for higher taxes smack of class warfare rather than shared sacrifice. Can he appeal to our better angels?

If that was an example of Obama appealing to our "better angels," I'd hate to see what he considers an appeal to our devils.

None of this is a surprise, of course – except people like Fournier, who has become one of Obama's leading critics on left, expecting anything different.

President Obama's State of the Union speech was a throwback – a rehash of liberal ideas and dreams over the last 40 years that have no chance of passage and will never even see the light of day in committee hearings on the Hill.

Then why propose them?  Jay Cost at Weekly Standard has some thoughts:

Rather than acknowledge the new Republican majorities, and try to find common ground, the president insisted on policies he knows the GOP will never accept. Tax, spend, regulate, then repeat -- as if this is 2009 and Nancy Pelosi, not John Boehner, is sitting behind him.

Why? I think it’s because this president’s number one priority is always to appear unbowed.  He must imitate Jake LaMotta taunting Sugar Ray Robinson at the end of Raging Bull: “You never knocked me down, Ray!”

If Obama were to respond to the midterms as Bill Clinton did -- defending liberal values while working on problems with Republicans where the two sides basically agree -- he’d appear to be capitulating. By insisting on ever more government, he’s LaMotta: you never knocked me down, Boehner!

So, we get two more years of no action -- even on issues where there could be agreement -- because God forbid this president appear to lose.

In fact, in an hour of speaking, the president pretended that November never happened – that the wave that swept so many Democrats into the dust bin of history wasn't even a ripple.

Byron York:

Perhaps the most striking thing about the 2015 State of the Union address was not the president at the podium but the audience in the seats. The joint session of Congress listening to President Obama Tuesday night included 83 fewer Democrats than the group that heard Obama's first address in 2009 — 69 fewer Democrats in the House and 14 fewer in the Senate. The scene in the House Chamber was a graphic reminder of the terrible toll the Obama years have taken on Capitol Hill Democrats.

Not that the president would ever acknowledge that. Indeed, in more than an hour of speaking, Obama never once acknowledged that there was a big election in November and that the leadership of the Senate has changed. Obama's silence on that political reality stood in stark contrast to George W. Bush's 2007 State of the Union address, in which he graciously and at some length acknowledged the Democrats' victory in the 2006 midterms. Bush said it was an honor to address Nancy Pelosi as "Madam Speaker." He spoke of the pride Pelosi's late father would have felt to see his daughter lead the House. "I congratulate the new Democrat majority," Bush said. "Congress has changed, but not our responsibilities."

If one cannot imagine Obama saying such a thing — well, he didn't.

As Steven Dinan points out in the Washington Times, Obama actually made a mockery of that election:

President Obama spent much of Tuesday’s State of the Union calling for civility in politics — then taunted Republicans over his two election victories, after many of them applauded the looming end of his political career.

Mr. Obama issued a broad call for “a better politics” that began with common principles, and said his agenda isn’t political, pointing out “I have no more campaigns to run.”

That drew rousing applause from the GOP side of the aisle, which had sat on its hands as Mr. Obama had ticked off partisan proposals he wanted to see, and threatened vetoes of bipartisan bills Republicans are trying to pass.

The applause was too much for Mr. Obama, who punctuated his declaration that his campaigns are over by saying, “I know, because I won both of them.”

Democrats roared with delight, while red-faces Republicans grimaced.

Petty, small-minded, arrogant to the last.

Ron Fournier, writing before the address, wrote of 5 things to watch to see if Obama had changed:

The tone: Close your eyes, set aside your opinion of Obama, and objectively listen to a chunk of the address. Does he sound like a college professor—dismissive, dour, arrogant, and argumentative? Or does he sound like a preacher—inspirational, inclusive, optimistic, and humble? The latter approach is the mark of a great leader.

The president wasn't much of a college professor, either, but he sure sounded like one.

The shellacking: It wouldn't hurt to acknowledge the inconvenient truth that his leadership is the single biggest reason why Democrats lost the midterm elections in November. What lessons did he learn from the drubbing? How did those lesson shape his agenda? My colleague George Condon notes that every president of the past 100 years has been forced to address midterm defeats. Most have handled the situation with grace. Can Obama?

Surely you jest.  And don't call me Shirley.

The sacrifice: Among George W. Bush's greatest mistakes was not asking Americans to sacrifice in the aftermath of 9/11.  He put the nation on perpetual war footing without demanding new taxes or national service. Obama inherited the so-called war on terrorism and doubled down on the mistake of thinking Americans are too cynical for sacrifice. He gives lip service to national-service programs. In his hands, proposals for higher taxes smack of class warfare rather than shared sacrifice. Can he appeal to our better angels?

If that was an example of Obama appealing to our "better angels," I'd hate to see what he considers an appeal to our devils.

None of this is a surprise, of course – except people like Fournier, who has become one of Obama's leading critics on left, expecting anything different.