|on the State Of The Union Speech:
In Obama’s State of the Union, Troublesome Passages for Progressives
By Matthew Rothschild
the PROGRESSIVE magazine
EXCUSE ME FOR not yelling myself hoarse for Obama’s warmed over State
of the Union address.
While I agree with his call for economic fairness, there was not much
in his speech that was new or all that promising. And there were
several troublesome passages for progressives.
First, mentioning John Boehner, Obama said he was still open to a
grand compromise on Social Security and Medicare, which would make
Americans have to work longer and get less benefits from Medicare and
Medicaid. We don’t need a Democrat to hack away at these crucial
Second, he took a gratuitous swipe at universal single-payer health
care. Sounding like Ronald Reagan, he said, “I believe what Republican
Abraham Lincoln believed: That Government should do for people only
what they cannot do better by themselves, and no more.” As an
illustration, he said, “That’s why our health care law relies on a
reformed private market, not a Government program.” Huh? He used to
say he was for single-payer universal health care. Then, when he was
running for President the first time, he said, “If I were starting
from scratch,” I’d be for single-payer universal health care. Now he
disparages it to score cheap political points.
Third, he was belligerent on Iran, saying (to raucous applause) that
he would take “no options off the table,” which is easily decipherable
code for saying he’d threaten to blow Iran off the map if it got one
nuclear weapon, even though the United States has thousands and Israel
Fourth, he said that America is a “Pacific power,” reiterating the
theme of his new strategic doctrine, which is aimed recklessly at
And finally, sounding like a mix of Madeleine Albright and George W.
Bush, he boasted that the United States is the “one indispensable
nation in world affairs—and as long as I’m President, I intend to keep
it that way.”
This was cheap jingoism that the American people, already suffering
from a superiority complex, really could have lived without.