Project 21 New Visions

Lisa Fritsch

Obama Patter Preempts American Priorities


by Lisa Fritsch (bio)

What was that big Obama speech all about?

Officially, it was the State of the Union Address — the annual report, constitutionally-mandated, from the President to Congress.

Back in the day, it wasn't a big thing. Many such reports were simply letters from the President. Over time, however, they have grown in prestige and pomp. And they have also become less of "giv[ing] to the Congress information of the state of the union" and more of "recommend[ing] to their consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient."

In other words, it becomes a pageant for a President's further agenda. And that's exactly what Obama did late last month.

Despite virtually everyone's concern about the state of the economy, spiraling debt and job creation, Barack Obama's speech was focused far too much on lofty goals than the nitty-gritty needed to refloat our ailing ship of state.

While rhetoric is expected at such addresses, Obama has probably the most dangerous rhetoric of all: empty.

His repetitive talk of "achievement" and "innovation," without a willingness to promote the initiatives that lead to America's success in these areas in the past means that — as usual — he is all talk.

Not once in his speech, for instance, did he really concede that his health care plan is dragging down the economy.  Not once did he mention the necessity for us to keep up oil drilling initiatives as the world looks for greener energy sources.  And again he sought to mislead Americans by dishonestly speaking of his "tax cuts" which were little more than keeping the tax rate under George W.Bush.

Frankly, Obama has shown he will continue to ignore the will of the people while only paying casual lip service to their concerns.

And for someone who seems to like investing, which may have been the word of the night, he doesn't seem to interested in doing the due diligence that most real-world investors are required to do.

If we are really serious about having American students "Race to the Top" to be innovative and compete with the likes of China and India, for example, then we'd better get serious about focusing on teaching math and science like China and India rather than sex education, diversity initiatives and healthy eating habits.

Let's also do away with talk of the DREAM Act and wake up to the reality that legal immigration and citizenship is a prerequisite to our innovation and sovereignty. Not until we get serious about protecting our borders and defending our American values can we truly educate, prepare and utilize those who desire to be productive American citizens.

In listening to Obama's speech, it's obvious that he and I do not share common dreams and common hopes.  I'd hoped that, for instance, when Obama said that a government shouldn't spend more than it takes in, he was speaking about fiscal discipline.  Instead, it seemed he was simply talking about taking more money from our pockets.

When Obama says millionaires should give up their tax cuts and that we cannot afford to give tax breaks to the top two percent of Americans, it says to me that he believes the government is entitled to impound the income of the hardworking wealthy — regardless of its impact on our competitiveness and job creation.

Want innovation?  Remove tax burdens and regulations off the throats of businesses to increase profits, create jobs, stimulate growth and encourage entrepreneurialism.

At this time of great national uncertainty, it would have been better for Obama to be more introspective about the state of our union that the extrovert he was before Congress.

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Lisa Fritsch is a member of the Project 21 black leadership network and a freelance writer and talk show host in Austin, Texas. Comments may be sent to [email protected]. A version of this commentary previously appeared on the Pajamas Media web site.

Published by the National Center for Public Policy Research. Reprints permitted provided source is credited. New Visions Commentaries reflect the views of their author, and not necessarily those of Project 21, other Project 21 members, or the National Center for Public Policy Research, its board or staff.


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