Point of View Columns

(What a) State of the Union

President Obama in delivering his State of the Union message has wisely chosen to speak to the future of this country rather than the past. When he was inaugurated in 2009 he inherited a country that was mired in two unwinnable wars while watching its economy simultaneously implode and explode.

There is no doubt that the economic downturn has abated only slightly and only for a few. Most Americans are learning that there is something worse than losing a job –the fear of never getting a job again.

The herculean efforts of the Obama Administration to turn the tide of financial wreckage and shattered confidence have not been a complete “fix”, of that there is no doubt.
But there is also no doubt that the G.O.Tea Party do-nothing-let-the-free-market-prevail approach to America’s ailing economy would have had brutal results, with all but the wealthy being exempt from the pain.

That President Obama would be criticized by those who would have stood by while General Motors disappeared, countless millions lost their homes and jobs and the country as a whole suffered the numbing fear of tomorrow would be ironic were it not so tragic.

In his State of the Union address President Obama has chosen not to point out that the American tragedies and disasters over which he presides are not of his own making and are not the results of his policies or his philosophy. Were he to state this simple truth it would be mere moments before John Boehner or Michelle Bachmann or Eric Cantor would accuse him of “whining” and “refusing to take responsibility”.

So Mr. Obama has but on his big boy pants and stepped in front of the American people to take ownership of the problems that beset these United States. Only by taking ownership of the problems can he also take ownership of the solutions. But not everyone needs to be so restrained and reserved.

In point of fact the economic collapse which continues to erode and corrode and degrade the American belief in tomorrow was not the result of some cyclical market adjustment. The policies of the Bush-Cheney administration created a no-fault, no rules casino-like environment in the financial marketplace.

Regulators appointed, empowered and directed by Republicans turned a blind eye, looked the other way or didn’t even know where to look while a Rube Goldbergesque finance edifice was built that was guaranteed to come crashing down.

And when it did crash, it didn’t crash on the bankers and their enablers; it crashed on factory workers and homeowners and fixed income seniors. And, sad to say, most of the victims are still trapped in the wreckage.

That the Bush-Cheney administration and the Republican Party are able to treat this shameful episode in American history as an act of God, not unlike a hurricane or a tsunami is a tribute to their ability to avoid the truth while not actually lying. And it is an indictment of the media and the writers of history who accept this very Grimm fairy tale as being true.

What President Obama did not say in his State of the Union message is that the American economy has been seriously damaged by the godforsaken war in Iraq which drained billions of dollars out of this country with no consequent increase in security.

The President will not say that the Bush-Cheney Administration lied and deceived the American public and most of the world in stomping towards the killing ground that Iraq was to become.

Dick Cheney’s former company, Halliburton, made billions of dollars in profits while American soldiers and Iraqi men, women and children died. The Republican Party stood shoulder to shoulder while American men and women were chewed up and spit out by the monstrous war has become yet another Grimm fairy tale.

And this war, with its trillion dollar cost, combined with a jerry-built economic marketplace, caused the downfall of the American economy. President Obama did not choose to cast blame in this State of the Union message, but that doesn’t mean that there blame should not be cast.

George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and the G.O.Tea Party are counting on the American public having the attention span of a goldfish. That way they don’t have to lie, they just have to act as if they are not responsible.

In point of fact they are irresponsible. President Obama did not say it. That doesn’t mean it isn’t true.


2 thoughts on “(What a) State of the Union

  1. dannix says:

    Great column! Don’t know if you saw what Brad Reed wrote in Crooks and Liars:

    “Republican neoliberals believe that rich people are magical wealth-creating leprechauns who must be fawned over and showered with tax cuts lest they get sad and leave us forever. Democratic neoliberals, on the other hand, believe that rich people are magical wealth-creating leprechauns who should do whatever they want but pay slightly higher taxes so that the government can pave roads and whatnot.”

    Obama does not dwell on whose fault the economic crisis is. This would bother me less if the Democrats would step up, assign blame and propose effective remedies rather than half-measures. Thank you for stepping up.

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