Quote of the Day: "Here's what I ask of Congress, though: Do not walk away from reform. Not now. Not when we are so close." - President Barrack Obama last night referring to his call to pass the government-run health care bill
State of the Union: Unbelievable. That's my primary comment about the President's speech last night. Unbelievable. This President continues to surprise me with his insistence on pushing an extreme agenda in spite of overwhelming evidence of that agenda's failure and its wide unpopularity with the people. I really expected him to pivot last night and try to make a fresh start on the country's increasing problems. I was wrong.
Instead, he basically doubled down on his agenda of last year. As the excerpt above indicates, he still wants his government run health care bill passed. Apparently, the strategy now is to try and pass the Senate bill in the House and then use the reconciliation process (requires only 51 votes in the Senate) to make some changes to satisfy Pelosi and House Democrats. He called for passage of the national energy tax/Cap and Trade bill, which passed the House last July but appears to not have the votes in the Senate. He also called for hundreds and hundreds of billions of dollars of entirely new spending! This, comes in spite of increasing calls from economists and analysts all across the political spectrum that the debt and deficit track we are on will lead to fiscal collapse within a decade. Even his jobs program called for passage of a so-called jobs bill at the cost of approximately $150 billion. A version of this bill passed the House just prior to Christmas, which is basically Stimulus II, and continues the same expensive failed policies of Stimulus I.
The dozens of tax increases he called for during the speech, either directly, or that are included in the bills he supports, will only pay for some of the additional spending and will not lead to any deficit reduction. It is clear to me now that the carefully planned "leak" the day before the speech of his nearly worthless spending "freeze" of roughly 12% of the budget was designed to have one complete news cycle dedicated to this "deficit reduction" effort so that the HUGE deficit increases in his overall plan will go unnoticed. That was a clever ruse on the part of the President's team, but it should not work.
This President clearly thinks that we are powerless and incapable of much without government direction and assistance. Emblematic of his predisposition towards all things government, was his announcement that he proposes to eliminate all student loans from sources other than the federal government, and then forgive 100% of those loans after 10 years.......but only if the student works for the government. If you make the terrible 'mistake' of working in the private sector, you will be punished by not having an opportunity for loan forgiveness until at least 20 years.
There was lots of muttering and grumbling and even laughter in the crowd at particularly outrageous parts of the speech. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito appeared to have mumbled "that's not true" after the President's assessment of a recent Supreme Court decision which mimics the reaction of many of us in the crowd to many of the President's gross misstatements. I sat next to another California Republican Congressman who is in his 13th term in the House. He told me he has never seen such an angry reaction to a presidential speech in the 24 State of the Union speeches he has heard.
You may be wondering if I agreed with anything the President said; and yes there were a few instances where I did. For example, I agreed with his call for an increased focus on nuclear energy, coal energy, and additional domestic oil exploration. I also agreed with his call for free trade agreements with Columbia, South Korea, and Panama. There were a few other things I agreed with as well, but they were clearly not points of emphasis in the speech.
This president pledged to "change the tone" in Washington; and he has. He has made it much worse, much more partisan, and much more bitter. He has done that with his extreme agenda, his ruthless assaults on anyone or anything that dares to disagree with him, and his arrogance in office. I thought that was going to change since it is clearly not working.
It certainly didn't change last night. The fight for America's future continues. Stay in it.
Until Monday, I remain respectfully,
Congressman John Campbell
Member of Congress