By Kristie Marcinczyk, USDR Contributor
Tuesday night, President Obama became commander-in-cheerleader.
The 2015 State of the Union opened with numerous highlights, setting an uplifting tone to the president’s speech. He spoke about a blossoming economy, growing energy independence, and a termination of conflicts overseas. It was nonetheless refreshing and optimistic.
But it was more understandably cherry picking of facts as they exist. What was left out was the reality most Americans face every day.
NBC’s Richard Engel told Brian Williams that many of President Obama’s points were misleading, if not entirely fantasized.
“It sounded like the president was outlining a world that he wishes we were all living in but which is very different from the world that was just described,” he said.
What we have come to learn over the years, though, is that the State of the Union address is not so much its specifics, but whether it helps the president gain a few points in the polls. Since Obama’s approval numbers have recently gone up due to the economy, he judged his speech as a success. This is a clear representation of why Washington is so dysfunctional. The victorious nature of his speech speaks volumes about everything that is wrong with the president’s perception of reality.
Sure, economically speaking, things are better today than six years ago — but they are far from celebratory. The total number of Americans unemployed and underemployed, as well as those not counted by those categories, total in the tens of millions. On top of that, 158 million Americans currently find themselves in need of and receiving Government assistance.
It is a careful deconstructing of words and pivoting around the thorns of reality that the president truly excels at doing.
“So the verdict is clear. Middle-class economics works. “
The middle class is, in truth, suffering. Wages have stagnated. The middle class has shrunk tremendously, in addition to their savings and investments. On both local and federal levels, taxes have increased. The cost of health care has also grown.
But the most interesting aspect of the president’s speech was not the triumphalist tone with which he trumpeted the recent better economic news or his call for higher taxes, more spending, or his threats to veto any bills passed by a Republican Congress that he did not like. The most interesting things about the speech were the items that were left out of it. It was those absent acknowledgements of facts that gave the annual example of presidential theater a tone that was so divorced from the reality of Obama’s six years in office.
There were 83 fewer Democrats in the chamber Tuesday night than the previous State of the Union address. The notable rejection of both the president’s party and his policies in last November’s midterm elections was treated in the speech as if it had never even happened.
Despite the history of reminding his Republican colleagues that elections have consequences, the midterm elections not only were irrelevant to his assessment of the issues of the day, but he spoke as if the GOP had not increased their majority in the House and taken back the Senate.
The president also took on the notion of partisanship and gridlock. He insisted that “together we can do great things” and warned Congress about continued partisan bickering, saying, “Imagine if we broke out of these tired old patterns.” This is the same administration that once likened grassroots Tea Party supporters in Congress to terrorists. This is also the President that previously used his State of the Union to concentrate on partisan talking points rather than suggestions that had a chance of passage in a Congress that is now controlled by the other party.
“I have no more campaigns to run. I know because I won both of them.”
A willingness to speak so confidently about progress with no actual connection to truth was the most unmistakable theme of the speech. The president has not just lost all touch with reality, but he so naturally continues to pride himself on the same rhetoric and hype since 2008. His speech was over-confident, arrogant, and expansive.
Not to mention, if anything goes wrong during the remainder of this year or next: an economic downfall, unemployment going back up, health care costs rising, etc. – it will only spell doom for the next Democratic candidate. There is now zero wiggle room for setbacks within the party.
Tuesday night we saw the world as seen through the eyes of President Obama, and President Obama only. With nothing left to lose, he irresponsibly avoided discussing key issues facing our nation. The address was not actually about the State of our Union, but of himself and his legacy.
The president always has been, and always will be, a great storyteller. This is the only thing that was actually proved on Tuesday night. He yet again managed to prove that no matter how old the concept is, he can spin it in a fresh and populist way. He has the unique ability to contradict his own words in the same speech, and yet let those who don’t pay attention to the details think that “change” was actually accomplished.
Runners up for This Week’s Big Story:
*Federal Prosecutors Set to Clear Ferguson Cop Who Shot Michael Brown
*House passes bill to prohibit federal funding for abortion
*NY state Assembly speaker charged with fraud in corruption probe
How do you feel about our pick for this week? Let us know on Twitter @USDailyReview #BigStory
Kristie Marcinczyk is a politics, media, and culture writer. She has previously worked as a producer and booker at Fox News, Fox Business Network and TheBlaze, for both television and web platforms. Follow her on Twitter @kMarcinczyk.