Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Obama Prepares to Polarize

My article from the Jan. 20, 2015 issue of FrontPage magazine:

Obama Prepares to Polarize

By Matthew Vadum

President Obama’s sixth State of the Union address tonight, slated to begin at 9 p.m. EDT, represents Obama’s desperate attempt to convince the American people that he remains relevant.

Obama’s speech will be a buffet of misdirection calculated to make the audience forget that Obama is now, at least in theory, a lame duck president facing newly resurgent Republican majorities in both chambers of Congress. What he says shouldn’t count for much, assuming there is a vibrant opposition party in Congress willing to challenge his radical, transformative vision of what America should be.

The president wants a $320 billion tax increase in addition to those taxes that he has already imposed. There will be higher taxes for “the rich” that will presumably be set off by lower taxes for the middle class.

Obama wants to hike the capital gains tax and dividend tax rate. He wants to punish banks by slapping them with a tax on “excessive borrowing” — a practice known as “commerce.”

Instead of just getting government off the backs of struggling working couples by lowering tax rates, Obama wants to create something his aides call a “Second Earner Credit” for married couples where both spouses work. He also wants to expand the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), a variety of welfare, to make more Americans dependent on the government.

Obama wants Congress to let Americans attend two years of community college for free, even though the nation is already awash in college and graduate school alumni who can’t find jobs.

“This is not a serious proposal,” said Brendan Buck, a spokesman for House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.). “We lift families up and grow the economy with a simpler, flatter tax code, not big tax increases to pay for more Washington spending.”

Leftists say this State of the Union address should be a starting point for a larger nationwide discussion on policy.

“I think we should have a debate in this country between middle-class economics and trickle-down economics,” senior Obama advisor Dan Pfeiffer said Sunday on “Face the Nation.”

Of course no self-respecting free market economist uses the awful expression “trickle-down economics.” As Thomas Sowell has noted, the phrase is used by those who despise markets in an effort to discredit those who believe in them.

Pfeiffer added, “I think, in divided government, each side should lay out their agenda, what they think is in the best interest of the country.”

Liberals always want to keep debating, even after suffering humiliating defeats. They want Americans to forget that both sides just laid out their respective agendas and the electorate sided resoundingly with the GOP in November elections.

As a result of voter anger, Republicans hold 247 seats in the House of Representatives and 54 seats in the Senate — the largest Republican majority since the 71st Congress (1929–1931).

Conservatives say the discussion is over. It is time for lawmakers to oppose the Obama agenda and undo the wreckage this president’s policies have caused.

Obama sycophants are being rewarded with seats in First Lady Michelle Obama’s viewing box for the speech tonight.

Alan Gross and his wife Judy are expected to be guests of Mrs. Obama.

Gross is the U.S. citizen who badmouthed his own country mere hours after being freed from Cuba. After the Obama administration arranged a prisoner swap to free him, Gross attacked the U.S. for “unjustly” mistreating the Cuban people by applying trade sanctions for decades.

Gross was reportedly a subcontractor for the U.S. Agency for International Development, a home for meddling leftist crackpots. He reportedly worked on a program aimed at improving Internet access for Cuban Jews. The free flow of information is a threat to any totalitarian regime, so a Cuban court convicted Gross of crimes against the state in 2011, imposing a 15-year prison sentence.

Another honoree is Obamacare booster Larry Merlo, CEO of CVS Health. An insufferable do-gooder, Merlo takes credit for making CVS the first major retail pharmacy chain to eliminate tobacco sales in all its stores.

Mexican-born illegal alien Ana Zamora, who has benefited from President Obama’s extra-legal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), will be watching the speech with the First Lady.

Global warming propagandist Nicole Hernandez Hammer is also a guest of Mrs. Obama. Hammer, who is paid to peddle climate change nonsense, hits the politically correct trifecta: she’s female, foreign-born, and Latino.
“As a sea-level researcher, Nicole Hernandez Hammer has studied how the cities and regions most vulnerable to the effects of climate change and sea-level rise also have large Hispanic populations — something she learned firsthand growing up in South Florida,” according to the White House website. “A Guatemalan immigrant with Cuban heritage, today Nicole works to mobilize the Latino community to better understand and address climate change’s disproportionate effects on the health of Hispanics.”

This year the speech is being written by Cody Keenan, a White House staff speechwriter Obama has dubbed “Hemingway,” not because he is a great crafter of prose, but because he has been known to sport a thick beard like the literary giant Ernest Hemingway.

In the New York Times‘s annual puff piece of a preview article in which the Old Gray Lady tries to put a smiling human face on the destructive policies Obama proposes in every State of the Union address, Keenan is billed as an earthy, masterful wordsmith.

“He reminds me of some of the folks I grew up with in the old days in Chicago journalism — those hard-bitten, big-hearted, passionate writers who brought the stories of people to life,” said Obama advisor and former newspaper reporter David Axelrod.

According to the Times, this State of the Union address was composed in part during a late night booze-a-thon with White House creative writer Ben Rhodes, the president’s 30-something Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications and Speechwriting. Rhodes, a big Muslim Brotherhood supporter, is suspected of concocting the Obama administration’s official lies about the deadly 2012 terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya. Rhodes’s brother, David Rhodes, is president of CBS News. His wife, Ann Norris, was senior foreign policy and defense advisor to Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), but is now senior advisor in the U.S. Secretary of State’s Office of Global Women’s Issues.

Left-wingers predictably mocked Republicans’ choice of freshman Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) as official responder to Obama’s address.

Abortion group EMILY’s List called Ernst “window dressing” because she’s not left-of-center. Luke Russert of NBC News condescendingly tweeted, “Joni Ernst’s meteoric rise continues. This time last year she was an unknown pig farmer, on Tues[day] she will deliver [the] GOP [State of the Union] response.”
Russert quickly backpedaled saying he didn’t mean to mock Ernst and that he was sincerely impressed with Ernst’s meteoric political rise.

Given how much the Left has invested in the anti-GOP “war on women” narrative, it’s hard to take Russert at his word.

Like so many other members of the media, he serves as a kind of praetorian guard member for Obama.
Russert and his coworkers are helping Obama set the stage for his State of the Union address by undermining and vilifying the president’s critics.

It remains to be seen whether the president and his media acolytes will be successful — or whether the message of the opposition will resonate more strongly with the American people. Tonight, Joni Ernst may well have the last laugh.

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