State of the Union 2013: Not Great

February 13, 2013

Even the liberals (and they were clearly liberals) at Politico, in their live video response after the speech, said most of it was a real “snoozer”.

If you missed the State of the Union address last night (script, video), basically the president said that he sees the millions of people and private-sector entities in America as so many finger puppets, but that fortunately, as the guy who runs the government, he thinks he has millions of fingers.

Skip the State of the Union.  Just watch Marco Rubio’s response (text), which was very good (except for the parts that weren’t):

See also:

  • Rand Paul gave the “Tea Party response”: text, video
  • The editors of National Review have already put out a surprisingly comprehensive rebuttal of the president’s speech.

    The president’s confrontational, hectoring, and highly ideological speech ought to be a wake-up call to the country.

  • Samuel Gregg’s response

    But there was also a rhetorical dimension to this State of the Union, and it reflects a pattern that goes all the way back to the president’s first inaugural address, in 2009. It involves making a few token references to free enterprise and rewarding individual initiative (to reassure us we’re still living in America instead of just another declining European social democracy), while simultaneously proposing more and more government programs that actually reflect a significant lack of faith in the workings of economic liberty.

    . . .

    But I think the mindset of this administration was revealed in one particular line that, I must confess, almost escaped my attention. Quote: “I’m also issuing a new goal for America.”

  • Hans von Spakovsky on “nonpartisan” voting reform
  • More responses at National Review Online’s The Corner
  • Hot Air and others basically knew what the president would say before he said it.

Update (February 13th, 2013):  Even liberal NPR was compelled to admit that the president’s speech was basically one lie after another.  Sample:

. . . the president did not make it at all clear how he would not add a dime to the deficit when he went on to propose a series of big federal investments that will indeed all cost a lot of money.

Update (February 13th, 2013):  Yuval Levin offers a characteristically long, thoughtful analysis of last night’s speech.

My reaction to last night’s State of the Union address begins from compassion for my fellow wonks, and ends with a sense that the Democrats’ political fortunes in the coming years may not be so rosy as many on the Left would like to think.

. . . The president didn’t even mention his forthcoming budget—again, that’s usually a big part of what this speech is for. And he didn’t make any significant proposal for reforming any government program, for launching any new one, ending any old one, or doing much of anything in particular that he hasn’t been pushing unsuccessfully for years. It was like an eighth-year State of the Union address, not a fifth-year one.

You have to try to cover up such things, of course, especially if you’re a Democrat, and so the president did speak of all manner of obnoxious federal micromanagement initiatives with fancy names—manufacturing hubs, a “partnership to rebuild America,” a challenge to “redesign America’s schools,” an “Energy Security Trust,” and so on. But you know what these things are? They’re nothing. They’re the headings that the wonks in a Democratic White House put at the top of otherwise blank memos at the beginning of a process that, months later, is supposed to end up with a budget and a State of the Union address. And here they were at the end of that process with barely more meat on their bones than when they started. Some of these proposals might “happen” and some of them will not, but there won’t be any difference between the two.

From my point of view, this is basically a good thing.

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