Project 21 Has Harsh Response to President Obama's 2014 State of the Union Address
Washington, D.C. - Calling it steeped in class warfare and contempt for the Constitution, commentators with the Project 21 black leadership network are highly critical of President Barack Obama's 2014 State of the Union address.
"It's interesting for President Obama to begin his State of the Union address with a list of supposed accomplishments, and then ask for a 'year of action.' He put forth a lot of ideas, yet offered no fixes to the problems that define his administration - an ever-expanding federal deficit, the stifling of jobs by the Affordable Care Act and the continued attempts to rob our military men and women of the benefits their service has earned," said Project 21's Coby Dillard, a former Tea Party organizer, Navy veteran and former guard at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. "In threatening to govern through executive actions rather than putting his ideas into legislation to be approved by Congress, the President shows a disdain for the basic structure of governance that our Founders envisioned. It's said that the true measure of a leader is his ability to build support for an agenda through consensus, and not to compel action unilaterally through his own initiative."
Speaking before a joint session of Congress, the U.S. Supreme Court, military leaders, his cabinet, diplomats and other guests, President Obama made it clear that he is uninterested and unwilling to take the steps necessary to forge bipartisan plans through deliberation and compromise. Rather, Obama seems ready to use executive power to implement a controversial and legislatively unpopular agenda.
Prior to the address, White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters: "The President sees this as a year of action to work with Congress where he can and to bypass Congress where necessary." Obama, in the speech, said he would not "stand still" if Congress does not bend to his will, claiming "wherever and whenever I can take steps without legislation... that's what I'm gonna do."
"Our nation would be best served if President Obama used his pen to sign bills from the Congress into laws. His phone calls should be to the members of Congress to negotiate commonsense, pragmatic legislation that is in the best interest of the American people," said Project 21's Charles Butler, a radio talk show host. "Instead, he has chosen a path of confrontation and intimidation with the people's representatives. Despite being a former constitutional law professor, one must seriously ponder if Obama understands his lawful responsibilities as the head of the executive branch of the federal government."
Obama made tonight's taunts before lawmakers, justices and others at a time when his signature health care takeover is seen as underperforming and over budget, America's stature in the world is hobbled though eavesdropping revelations and foreign policy missteps and controversial staffing moves through dubious "recess appointments" that bypassed Senate approval are now being checked by the U.S. Supreme Court to see if they pass constitutional muster. Obama also called for new regulations during his address that will likely have devastating effects on energy production and American manufacturing as he caters to the radical environmentalists' global warming agenda.
"Whatever happened to 'hope and change?" asked Project 21's Joe Hicks, a former executive director of the Greater Los Angeles chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and the Los Angeles City Human Rights Commission. "After all of the ginned-up rhetorical excesses of the 2008 presidential inauguration, President Obama has failed to measure up to any reasonable expectations of large-scale leadership, a sure sign that small-ball politics now define his lame-duck status. He conveyed a weak, incompetent, ineffectual, detached president -- unlike anything the nation has seen since the days of Jimmy Carter. Obama appears satisfied arguing for things he can't determine the outcome of -- such as arguing for raising the national minimum wage, arguing for immigration reform and empty threats to threaten that he'll use unilateral presidential authority to get what he wants. There is, after all, something called the Constitution. The question is, who cares what this president has to say? Given his dismal approval ratings, shockingly unpresidential behavior and abysmal performance, most Americans have simply turned off, tuned out and couldn't care less about anything this president has to say."
"The President's speech was a mix of one-sided positive reviews of policies that were mostly harmful for the majority of Americans. It was government-focused solutions to problems the private sector can resolve on its own, and gimmicky programs that will only add to the morass of the federal government," said Project 21's Hughey Newsome, a private financial specialist and regular columnist for the Daily Caller website. "The one thing that came through strongest is the thinly-veiled threat to increase the minimum wage through fiat while failing to address why wages are falling in the first place. Overregulation (including the Affordable Care Act), the inability to prepare our students for the jobs of tomorrow and catering to special interests reduce the number of jobs available and take away from the ability of the worker to have the skills to demand higher wages on his/her own."
Oddly, the President, five years into his presidency and long past being able to blame his predecessor, complained that "average wages have barely budged" and "upward mobility has stalled" and "too many Americans are working more than ever just to get by." He made no connection to the taxes and regulations that play a central role in implementing his agenda.
"Instead of pressing the accelerator on plans to expand government, the President could do taxpayers and the American economy a favor by reversing course," said Project 21 Co-Chairman Horace Cooper, a former professor of constitutional law and former leadership staff member in the U.S. House of Representatives. "Starting with tax relief, a one-year freeze on new regulation and sitting down with Republicans and Democrats in Congress to develop a real solution to the entitlement crisis, the President could set a new course -- one that focuses on the real problems that America faces with solutions that have been proven to work."
Going into tonight's speech, President Obama's approval rating, as measured by Gallup, Inc., was 41 percent -- with 52 percent of those polled disapproving of his job performance. A Washington Post/ABC-commissioned poll found that 55 percent of those asked disapproved of Obama's handling of the economy.
Project 21's Christopher Arps, also the founder of the black conservative social networking site Move-On-Up.org, said: "Tonight's fifth State of the Union address by President Obama officially marks the beginning of lame duck status for his presidency. His long and liberal laundry list of unattainable initiatives, coupled with his 41 percent approval rating, will fortunately transform the commander-in-chief into the 'spectator-in-chief' for his final two years in office."
Commenting on President Obama's cheerleading his health care takeover, Project 21's Dr. Elaina George, a board-certified and award-winning otolaryngologist, said: "The power to choose your doctor, and for you in partnership with your doctor to decide your course of treatment, is the foundation of excellent medical care. With The Affordable Care Act, the government has inserted itself to become the final arbiter of your care and it will ultimately decide who the health winners and losers are. Proponents of ObamaCare want people to believe that the system is so broken that it can only be fixed through fundamental change. The disastrous roll-out has certainly fed the argument of single payer and there is an argument to be made that the government bailout written into the bill has actually already ushered in single payer -- since whomever controls the money controls the access and makes the rules."
"President Obama spoke on immigration reform, pre-K education spending, more 'infrastructure' spending and artificially driving up the minimum wage. The list of proposed items and all of the proposed executive actions are distractions from the failure of ObamaCare," said Project 21's Stacy Washington, a local school board officer and radio talk show host. "Instead, the President should have completely come clean on Benghazi and the IRS targeting scandal and assured Americans he plans to engage Republicans in the House on spending cuts to stimulate the economy and create jobs. He should apologize for millions of Americans losing their health care and offer to compromise on ObamaCare."
According to last month's jobless figures from the Obama Administration's own Bureau of Labor Statistics, the labor force participation rate is at a modern low of 62.8 percent (a low not seen since the Carter Administration). A record number of people are on food stamps, and disability payments drawn from the Social Security Administration are at all-time highs.
"Five years into the President's so-called recovery -- a recovery that feels worse than the actual recession -- it's safe to say that his administration has shown a remarkable and indefensible indifference to the U.S. economy at the expense of millions of Americans. And he doesn't seem bothered by it," said Project 21's Derryck Green, who writes a monthly analysis about the economy for Project 21 when federal jobless estimates are announced. "With the unemployment rate dropping because over 92 million Americans are out of the workforce; a labor-force participation rate matching a 35-year low; 47 million Americans on food stamps and emergency unemployment benefits close to being extended, issues such as minimum wage and wealth redistribution -- though characteristic of an unsound and unserious economic strategy -- aren't the solutions that are going to jumpstart a lagging economy. The President apparently prefers empty campaign-style rhetoric to serious, thoughtful and productive economic policies."
"It was all too clear tonight that President Obama will continue on a narcissistic path. Obama throws out the populist rhetoric, but the truth of the matter is that the massive growth in government and government dependency, income inequality and millions losing their health care coverage is a direct result of his failed policies," said Project 21's Kevin Martin, a small businessman and Navy veteran. "Tonight's State of the Union speech was nothing more than a rehash of tired rhetoric from the last five years. And there will be very little positive results even with the threat of unilateral executive action. Tragically, Obama refuses to alter the course that has seen his approval levels sink to the lowest of his presidency."
Since 2010, black conservatives affiliated with Project 21 have provided an annual post-speech analysis of the President's State of the Union address. In 2013, members of Project 21 participated in just under 1,000 interviews that included CNN, Fox News Channel, Reuters, the Westwood One Radio Network, Bloomberg News, WHO-Des Moines, KDKA-Pittsburgh and KOA-Denver as well as more than 700 op-ed commentary and media citations in publications such as the Christian Science Monitor, U.S. News and World Report, BusinessWeek, the Daily Caller, the Baltimore Sun, American Spectator and Huffington Post.
Project 21, a leading voice of black conservatives for over two decades, is sponsored by the National Center for Public Policy Research (http://www.nationalcenter.org).