Wednesday, January 26, 2011
To: Friends & Supporters
From: Gary L. Bauer
Friends, I want to apologize in advance for the length of today’s report, but early polling suggests that Obama’s bizarre speech last night persuaded some Americans that he is on the right road. Nothing could be further from the truth. Below is my reaction to the State of the Union address. Please share it with friends and family members. If we are going to prevail in 2012, we must persuade those within our spheres of influence that there is a better way than the big government, big spending, big taxes road we are on. Trust me, there is.
Obama And America
It was impossible to ignore the president’s rhetoric about America last night. He repeatedly referred to the “American Dream” and the rights enshrined in our Constitution. Like virtually every U.S. president before him, Obama seemed to be pointing to what historians have called “American exceptionalism,” the idea that we are a unique nation founded on the notion that our liberty comes from God.
But in 2009, on foreign soil, Obama was asked whether he believed in American exceptionalism. His answer was revealing and disturbing. He said, “I believe in American exceptionalism just as I suspect that the Brits believe in British exceptionalism and the Greeks believe in Greek exceptionalism…” Translation: Everyone thinks their own country is the greatest, but in fact we are all the same.
And Obama hasn’t been the only one who seemed agnostic about the meaning and worth of America. The first lady infamously said in a speech that she had never been proud of America until her husband was on the cusp of securing the 2008 Democrat presidential nomination.
But now it is 2011. The president’s pollsters have no doubt discovered that most Americans are not ambivalent about America. Most of us see our country as a good and decent country whose history of sacrifice for the freedom of others does indeed make it exceptional.
So now, as part of Obama’s “extreme makeover,” he has cleaned up his rhetoric about the nation he governs — this “shining city upon a hill” as Ronald Reagan described it. Sorry, but I don’t buy it. American presidents have always been humbled by being chosen to lead this great nation. From day one, Obama has always seemed to feel that America wasn’t great until it elected him. That is why he repeatedly said his goal was to transform America. For two years he has tried his best to transform us — into a nation where government grows while everything else shrinks.
“O” Needs To Stop Praising China
Midway through his remarks last night Obama began singing the praises of China’s great accomplishments. He said, “nations like China … started educating their children earlier and longer, with great emphasis on math and science. They’re investing in research and new technologies. Just recently China became home to the world’s largest private solar research facility, and the world’s fastest computer.” For a second there I thought I was listening to China’s State of the Union address.
China is doing a lot of investment. A lot of it is from the massive trade surplus they run from robbing us through both industrial espionage and stealing the technology of U.S. companies operating in China. The White House announced with great fanfare last week the sale of Boeing jets to China. But after China steals the technology from the American-made planes, it will start its own major aircraft manufacturer whose jets will be manufactured cheaper than Boeing’s. Then what? Perhaps another major U.S. industry will be on the ropes.
Obama’s policies of over-regulation, his attacks on our domestic energy industry, his massive deficit spending and over-taxation, and his weakness in negotiations are letting China and others beat us in the marketplace. China is getting stronger vis-à-vis the U.S. because Obama’s policies are making us weaker.
Here are a few “reality checks” on the substance of President Obama’s State of the Union address:
* As I noted yesterday, the main themes were contradictory. The president called for doing “big things” and making more “investments” (translation: more spending), while proposing a spending freeze and acknowledging the need for entitlement reform. Obama did his best to cloak his calls for more government in Reaganesque rhetoric. Obama’s penchant for “big things” — the failed stimulus, cap and trade, ObamaCare — was rejected by the voters just a few months ago.
But you have to give Obama credit for one thing: He’s got chutzpah. Two years ago, Obama demanded a trillion-dollar stimulus bill for “investment” in infrastructure and promised us that the unemployment rate wouldn’t rise above eight percent. He got the “investment.” Two years later, very little money was spent on infrastructure, unemployment is above nine percent, and now Obama has the audacity to try to sell us on high-speed rail. A salesman with that track record would be fired. Hopefully, in two years Obama will be.
* Even some of the liberal media found Obama’s speech wanting. The title of today’s Washington Post editorial says it all: “A Disappointing State Of The Union Address.” The Post was upset because he showed no leadership in dealing with the exploding deficit.
* Obama’s spending freeze is a farce. The portion of the budget that Obama suggests freezing represents only 12% of total federal spending. His “savings” from the freeze amount to approximately $40 billion a year over a ten-year period. That’s peanuts compared to the $1.5 trillion deficit we will run this year alone.
But let’s consider the logic of this “freeze” for a moment. Suppose your son or daughter comes home from college and says, “I’ve maxed out my credit cards spending $5,000 more per year than I am making. What should I do?” No parent would tell that child, “Here’s what you do: Just freeze your spending at the $5,000 deficit level each year and we’ll hope that sometime in the next five years everything works out for the best.” Every parent would demand a radical reduction in spending. Obama’s “freeze” results in us being deeper in debt each year.
* Obama again played the class warfare card last night, saying, “Before we take money away from our schools, or scholarships away from our students, we should ask millionaires to give up their tax break. It’s not a matter of punishing their success. It’s about promoting America’s success.”
Obama’s planned tax hikes kick in for folks making $200,000 and more — not $1 million. This rhetoric is intended to play on our worst instincts — envy and coveting what someone else owns. But, more importantly, Obama again revealed his socialist instincts with the suggestion that “America’s success” depends on redistributionist policies, on “spreading the wealth around” as he told Joe the Plumber.
* Obama’s ideological crusade against the oil and gas industries continues. As I pointed out yesterday, one of the fastest ways President Obama could spur job creation and lower unemployment would be to tap the vast resources America has been blessed with. Instead, the president doubled-down on his commitment to “green energy.”
I believe we should conduct research into alternative fuels and sources of energy, and if any of that research yields new breakthroughs, that’s great. So far, it has not. The “alternatives” we have today are not nearly as efficient as oil, natural gas and coal, and they require massive taxpayer subsidies. For example, ethanol is one of the worst ideas in decades. Even Al Gore has publicly admitted using our food supply to make fuel is foolish. But Obama’s EPA just ordered a massive increase in its use.
Obama’s “solution” to America’s energy needs is to mandate the use of alternative fuels that are exponentially more expensive. That will add a tremendous burden to families and small businesses, leading to even more job losses. Ignoring our own proven resources, while mandating the use of inefficient and expensive alternatives is irresponsible at best.
The Tipping Point
House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) delivered the Republican response following President Obama’s address. It is always a daunting challenge to follow a president’s state of the union speech. The president enjoys the benefit of a live audience and all the pomp of the office. But Rep. Ryan delivered a sober assessment of the fiscal state of our union, promised to cut spending and offered a clear contrast about the role of government. While Obama defended big government, Ryan pledged to reduce it. Here is an excerpt of his remarks:
“We believe government’s role is both vital and limited — to defend the nation from attack and provide for the common defense … to secure our borders… to protect innocent life… to uphold our laws and Constitutional rights … to ensure domestic tranquility and equal opportunity … and to help provide a safety net for those who cannot provide for themselves.
“We believe that the government has an important role to create the conditions that promote entrepreneurship, upward mobility, and individual responsibility. We believe, as our founders did, that ‘the pursuit of happiness’ depends upon individual liberty; and individual liberty requires limited government.”
Rep. Ryan warned, and rightly so, that America is at a “tipping point.” He noted that the European experiment in big government socialism has resulted in a “day of reckoning” for Greece, Ireland, England and other nations. America must change course now to avoid a fiscal train wreck.
This year featured an additional response to the State of the Union address, delivered by Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) on behalf of the Tea Party movement. Rep. Bachmann did an excellent job explaining the many failures of the Obama Administration. She closed her rebuttal by comparing the threat posed by our national debt to the threats we faced in World War II. We triumphed then and we can prevail again.
Ryan and Bachmann both appealed to American exceptionalism. I wish they would have emphasized it more. In the days ahead the GOP must avoid the trap of appearing to be nothing more than a party of bean counters. We Americans want to feel good about our country. We want to know that there is a hopeful future for our children and that America is respected around the world. We know there are problems, and we want solutions.
The Republican message must offer fiscal responsibility, but it also must present a bold, positive vision for the future that harkens back to Ronald Reagan’s “shining city upon a hill,” not Charles Dickens’ Ebenezer Scrooge. In politics perception often becomes reality. Remember the “Gingrich That Stole Christmas”? That is exactly how Obama attempted to frame the debate last night with his pitch for “big things.” Obama wants to steal Reagan’s rhetoric and use it to promote the “dead hand” of big government.
America is at a tipping point. The battle for 2012 — and the heart and soul of America — is on. I promise to “fight the good fight” to ensure that our values of faith, family and freedom prevail, and I know you will too!