Man and boy, I've been watching presidents stand at the rostrum of the House of Representatives for about 40 years. And I'm getting a bit tired of it. Why is it considered statesmanlike to go through yet another a laundry list of warmed over government programs and imagine that this contributes to national welfare?
Here we had President Obama, sucking empty on the sine qua non of any presidency: a healthy economy. And what does he come up with? More subsidies. More spending. More urgency.
The astonishing thing about his speech on Thursday evening to a joint session of Congress is what he did not do. He did not act to relieve the huge costs that government places upon the private sector, the chunk that government takes of every paycheck, of every product sold, of every service delivered. That is what is killing the economy. Reality finally caught up with the progressive game that worked so well for so long. You impose enormous costs upon producers and consumers, distributing favors to your supporters with the proceeds, and then take the credit for prosperity and growth.
Maybe the progressive game still works in normal times. But not after a teeth-rattling financial meltdown.
Yes, Virginia, it's true that government is indispensable to a healthy economy. But its role is stage-setting, providing the property laws, the stable financial basis platform which players in the game of capitalism can rely.
President Obama is still going full bore on his progressive agenda, shoveling out money at Democratic constituencies. His speech was no pivot, but more of the same, throwing good money after bad. It's a measure of the impossible position he's in. He can't do the things he ought to do: reverse ObamaCare, Dodd-Frank, Sarbanes-Oxley, anti-energy regulation. Because if he did that he'd lose his Democratic base. Why? The support for these programs among Democrats is not practical and empirical. It is religious.
In a sad way, Republicans and conservatives can take comfort from the president's speech. Here we are, two and a half years into his term of office, with failures littered all over the political landscape, and he still doesn't get it. It makes you confident about the results of November 2012.
I am starting to believe in a 55-45 America: A 55-45 percent Republican presidential popular vote, a 55-45 Republican Senate, and a 55-45 percent Republican House.