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Thursday, January 28, 2010

Obama's State Of The Union Address 2010- More Campaign Promises

You can read the text of Barack Obama's State Of The Union Address at the New York Times, in it's entirety.

One moment being spoken about in the news and blogosphere, at length, was when Obama took a shot at the Supreme Court regarding the Citizens United vs. Federal Election Commission ruling and Justice Sam Alito visibly shook his head and mouthed the words "not true."

Via The Politico:

"Last week, the Supreme Court reversed a century of law to open the floodgates for special interests — including foreign corporations — to spend without limit in our elections," Obama said. "Well I don’t think American elections should be bankrolled by America’s most powerful interests, or worse, by foreign entities. They should be decided by the American people, and that’s why I’m urging Democrats and Republicans to pass a bill that helps to right this wrong."

The shot of the black-robed Supreme Court justices, stone-faced, was priceless.

Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) stood up behind the justices and clapped vigorously while Alito shook his head and quietly mouthed his discontent.

A nice Joe Wilson moment.

Analysis of Obama's assertion:

Polifact checks Obama's facts and headlines with "Why Alito shook his head: Obama exaggerates impact of Supreme Court ruling on foreign companies."

While Polifacts piece is worth a read, Bradley A. Smith, who is a Josiah H. Blackmore II/Shirley M. Nault Designated Professor of Law at Capital University Law School, gets straight to the point:

The Court held that 2 U.S.C. Section 441a, which prohibits all corporate political spending, is unconstitutional. Foreign nationals, specifically defined to include foreign corporations, are prohibiting from making "a contribution or donation of money or ather thing of value, or to make an express or implied promise to make a contribution or donation, in connection with a Federal, State or local election" under 2 U.S.C. Section 441e, which was not at issue in the case. Foreign corporations are also prohibited, under 2 U.S.C. 441e, from making any contribution or donation to any committee of any political party, and they prohibited from making any "expenditure, independent expenditure, or disbursement for an electioneering communication."

This is either blithering ignorance of the law, or demogoguery of the worst kind.

Randy Barnett, Professor at Georgetown University Law Center, speaks about decorum and states the President owes the justices an apology.

In the history of the State of the Union has any President ever called out the Supreme Court by name, and egged on the Congress to jeer a Supreme Court decision, while the Justices were seated politely before him surrounded by hundreds Congressmen? To call upon the Congress to countermand (somehow) by statute a constitutional decision, indeed a decision applying the First Amendment? What can this possibly accomplish besides alienating Justice Kennedy who wrote the opinion being attacked. Contrary to what we heard during the last administration, the Court may certainly be the object of presidential criticism without posing any threat to its independence. But this was a truly shocking lack of decorum and disrespect towards the Supreme Court for which an apology is in order. A new tone indeed.

The Speech Itself:

Politics Daily calls Obama's speech "A Self-Reverential State of the Union Address."

If substance was the main take-away of this address, it would have been merely mediocre. But what made it downright harmful for Obama and Democrats was its tone. The speech was defensive and petulant, backward-looking and condescending, petty and graceless. He didn't persuade people; he lectured them. What was on display last night was a man of unsurpassed self-righteousness engaged in constant self-justification. His first year in office has been, by almost every measure, a failure – and it is perceived as a failure by much of the public. Mr. Obama cannot stand this fact; it is clearly eating away at him. So he decided to use his first State of the Union to press his case. What he did was to set back his cause.

His speech was more like a continuation of his campaign, trying to recapture his golden moments where people still believed him.

Not only did Alito capture the media's attention, siphoning off much of the interest in Obama's "campaign promises", but to many Obama himself has lost sight of "reality".

After a series of political humiliations, Obama called on Republicans to change their course. Facing a general revolt against Washington, he proudly took credit for posting the names of White House visitors online. Promising to change the tone in Washington, he managed to be petty, backward looking, defiant and self-justifying.

Barack Obama has lost his promise. He has lost his momentum. He has lost his touch. He has lost his filibuster-proof Senate majority. He has lost his first year in office.

Tonight, he lost his grip on reality.

I made a prediction yesterday, stating "His polling numbers will rise by a few points, for about two weeks and then they will drop back to where they are now before declining even more yet again."

The only change I would make to that now, is I think his poll numbers will go back down after the first week, it won't even take two full weeks.

Especially with journalists, like those at Associated Press that fact checks Obama's SOTU rhetoric.

Read the whole thing, they take Obama's promises made in the speech and check them against the reality of Washington.