It is hard to believe a President that says "...I am not interested in re-litigating the past" after he just spent 60 minutes of his First State of the Union Address re-litigating the past and blaming Bush for his problems.
It is hard to take a President seriously when he speaks 116 words describing how he wants to get rid of nuclear weapons but only 38 words uttered on the biggest violator of those principles: Iran. It is hard to understand why Obama and his Administration have wasted this past year by not increasing the sanctions on Iran and building on the Bush Administration's 3 UN resolutions sanctioning Iran for their continued illegal uranium enrichment.
It's hard to take a President seriously when he says we will take the fight to al Qaeda but then brings al Qaeda to the U.S. to be tried in an American court. It's hard to understand a President who sends the lawyers to a terrorist to tell him that he has the right to remain silent but then brags that he is tough on terrorists.
And if you thought Obama had learned a lesson from the recent Scott Brown election in Massachusetts, think again. From the moment he started his address to the Nation, Obama made it perfectly clear that all of his problems were Bush's fault.
"One year ago I took office in the midst of 2 wars, a bad economy..." blah, blah, blah. "One year later the worst of the storm has passed but the devastation remains....," Obama said in the first minutes of his speech. The problem with the President's continued excuse is that since he has taken office unemployment has surged, the deficit has skyrocketed and Washington's spending has gotten even more out of control. But to hear the President speak, his reckless spending has had nothing to do with our financial problems or highest unemployment rates in decades. But time has run out on Obama's excuses. The American people are fed up and the President's poll numbers are in the tank. The Democrats have had an overwhelming majority in the House and Senate and yet, Obama's first year has been one of the worst first year's for any President in history. For all of Obama's big talk about change, very little has been done despite the fact that his Party controls all of Washington and has the ability to make change immediately. It doesn't make sense for the President to blame Republicans for his first year failures. He has only his majority party to blame.
If you thought Obama was ready to stop spending billions of dollars we don't have, think again. Tonight, Obama went on a spending spree that would make Nancy Pelosi happy. The President's new #1 focus is now on creating jobs, he says. It's no longer health care. More than 42 minutes into his speech not a word had been uttered about health care. But there was plenty said on how to spend your tax dollars even though we are already behind on paying our bills. There was $30 billion for community banks to give to small businesses, billions for infrastructure projects to put unions to work, millions for clean energy businesses, millions for community colleges, millions for more pell grants, millions for child care credits, billions for new home owners, millions for farmers and veterans and the list continues. While a case can be made for helping each and every one of these groups, there has been no regard for who will pay for these new programs or whether now is the time to spend this money.
As Obama's speech continued, there was more blaming Bush for the problems and more spending from his Administration. But what was most shocking to watch was President Obama double down on partisanship. Obama wasn't humble or conciliatory, he was antagonistic and cocky. But for a President who promised change and has the votes in Congress to deliver it, it was a disappointing night. It was more of the same from Washington.
And then an hour into his speech the President suddenly changed his tone. It was like he suddenly remembered that the state of Massachusetts just voted for a Republican to fill Ted Kennedy's seat. President Obama became the out-reacher-in-chief. If Obama had delivered the last 20 minutes of his speech first, and cut out the political jabs from the first 60 minutes of the speech then he would have been better received.
In the end, Obama speech reminded us that he isn't leading his party or the nation. For a President starting his term with a massive majority in Congress and sky-high approval ratings, he has squandered a ton of political capital with nothing to show for it.
Follow Richard Grenell on Twitter: www.twitter.com/richardgrenell