Free Markets, Free People

SOTU: all about narrative … and fantasy

Another SOTU, another trip to Fantasy Land.  I saw it all summed up in one wag’s sentence: “Obama has put Joe Biden in charge of finding a cure for cancer.”

There were some blatant lies and some pure nonsense in the mix last night.  One that stood out to me was this:

I told you earlier all the talk of America’s economic decline is political hot air. Well, so is all the rhetoric you hear about our enemies getting stronger and America getting weaker. The United States of America is the most powerful nation on Earth. Period. It’s not even close. We spend more on our military than the next eight nations combined. Our troops are the finest fighting force in the history of the world.

No nation dares to attack us or our allies because they know that’s the path to ruin. Surveys show our standing around the world is higher than when I was elected to this office, and when it comes to every important international issue, people of the world do not look to Beijing or Moscow to lead — they call us.

Surveys?  Really?  That’s his “source” of information.

I wonder if the surveys answered this question posed by David French.

Yet if America is the world’s most powerful nation, why are so many of our worst enemies far stronger and more dangerous than when Obama took office?

Probably not.  In fact, much like Hitler’s “paper divisions” weren’t worth the paper they appeared on, I’d guess these surveys are about as worthless.

Claudia Rosett does a yoeman’s job of setting the record straight:

Here’s the real State of the Union, which is inextricably linked to the increasingly alarming state of the world: It is open season on America.

Not that America is by any stretch a lone target. Terrorist slaughter has become a staple of the world news. On the same Tuesday that just saw American sailors seized by Iran, the news was filled earlier in the day with accounts of a terrorist bombing in the historic center of Istanbul (which the State Department at least labeled “terrorist,” as opposed to “workplace violence”). ISIS, al Qaeda, the Taliban and a host of their kindred organizations are bedeviling the civilized world.

And then there are the sovereign-state behemoths: an expansionist China and an aggressive Russia, pushing the boundaries and arming for war — as the U.S. guts its military and turns over its resources to a domestic bureaucracy that is busy regulating America’s old free markets and resulting economic muscle into fading memory.

Obama’s presidency began in 2009 with apologies for America, a “reset” with Russia, a bow in Cairo and an outstretched hand to Iran — promising that this would boost America’s standing and security, and pave the way to more peaceful world. After seven years of American retreat, appeasement, vanishing red lines, diplomatic farce and an implausible nuclear deal with Iran, the clear message to every opportunist on the planet is: grab what you can.

But, as this graphic illustrates, Mr. Obama resides down another road the rest of us can’t afford to live on.


It is, as usual, all about the narrative and before he ever stepped to the podium, we knew that.  We knew we’d hear the narrative even when it is so obviously fantasy.  Reality is and has been banished from this administration as being unfriendly if not down right hostile to the narrative.

Are we the most powerful nation on earth?  Yes, I think so … but that was so before Mr. Obama.  I see it as much less of a fact now.  The most powerful military in the world?  Yes, but again, in decline.  And I’m sorry, but there is no nation that I know of that is calling the US for help and certainly not to “lead”.  Not with this yahoo in the Oval Office.  In fact, as Rosett points out, two very powerful nations are pushing the envelope even as we speak and our answer, thus far has been the chirping of crickets.  China has decided to take over the South China sea and has established its first military base in Africa.  What have we done or said about that?  Nothing.

It’s nice to be considered the most powerful nation on earth with the most powerful military.  But it means nothing if that power isn’t used to advance the interests of your nation and its citizens or those of your allies.  That doesn’t mean war, it usually means deterrence – maintaining the peace or the status quo in some instances.  And it requires leadership, something we’ve been without for the last 7 plus years.  Its about drawing limits and enforcing them.  We have refused to do either these past 7 years.

The world knows that.  That’s why little pop-gun states like Iran feel they can pretty much do what they want without fear of all that power we have.  And that means we really don’t have any power at all.  That’s been proven any number of times over the years with red lines crossed and the obvious refusal to recognize or meaningfully engage ISIS.  At home the refusal to even say “radical Islam” has diminished the stature of this administration domestically as well.

We’re leaderless in a perilous world.  Yes, we’re powerful – potentially.  But without resolution and the threat of meaningful action that potential means absolutely nothing … except in the narrative.



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15 Responses to SOTU: all about narrative … and fantasy

  • So how many call us these days to lead from behind?

    After 7 years the only things he’s learned about leadership have been all the things they teach you NOT to do. Deflect, lie, cover up, evade, avoid and pass the buck.
    He has all the inspirational leadership qualities of Rufus T. Firefly (hail hail Freedonia).

    He’ll live to see himself ridiculed as a failure.
    And eventually will become an unspoken name for Presidents unless people are searching for Presidents of the low caliber of Franklin Pierce or James Buchanan.

  • “There were some blatant lies and some pure nonsense in the mix last night.”

    Actually, that’s a pretty good summation of Obama’s entire career.

  • Yeah, and apropos of a post the other day about the upcoming presidential election…..
    you’re going to be coming around, just like I did, to a realization that there’s only one particular candidate you have to vote for.

    Up to 2-3 weeks ago I though this person was a joke candidate, then I saw a few clips of him on youtube, then sat up and looked further. I tentatively said to my wife, “Y’know, this guy is starting to say some things that I kinda agree with.”
    My wife said, “I’m glad you finally started paying attention. I figured him out a long time ago but I did’t want to hurt your ego by saying anything to you.”

    • Obama said a lot of things that people kind of agreed with — delivery, however, was a big zero. Same with Trump.

    • One thing about T-rump you have to know…

      he has a position for every issue you can find to like. No matter who you are, he’s got you covered!

      You THINK he’s an immigration hawk? Ha!

      Can you say “amnesty”?

      • Yet none of his competitors can call him on it lest the spotlight fall on them.

      • Many Trump voters domy care if he delivers. I know he will do approx. zero of what he says and he still has my vote.

        He’s the best opportunity we’ve had in a long time- remember, Saruman had to be destroyed before they could take on Sauron

    • Guess I’m getting old, I don’t think I believe a single damn one of them any more, even the ones I like.
      I figure they’re all going to give us their Christmas wish list, or what they think is on our Christmas wish list, and then they may or may not actually try and deliver on some of it.

      But I’m too old to believe I’m gonna get a pony AND a bb-gun AND they’re going to eliminate the law that says I have to clean my plate before I can have dessert, no matter who they are.

      On that basis I think ya have to go with your gut, and I admit, my gut says Trump would turn out to be Trump Classic, and not some New Trump flavor that’s more conservative than Trump Classic has been.

      I’m still pulling for Cruz, and the latest round of birthers can stick the crazy where the sun don’t shine, just like last time.

  • How can you say that?!? He’s going down as one of the greats. History books will put his christlike visage on the cover, and devote several chapters to his triumphs. And lack of scandals. And transparency. Stop laughing.

    Why, there will be one chapter just on his amazing Middle East policy, which spawned the Arab Spring, and a deal with Iran that was just amazing and wonderful because… well, it just was. Because Obama did it. It must be. And don’t you dare bring up those sailors that just captured and released after humiliating Obama. Because it’s impossible to humiliate this towering figure of stern resolve.

    And his intellect! He thinks like me, you know, and I don’t have to tell you how amazing THAT is.

    So don’t start in on how pathetic he looked during the state of the union. He didn’t. I watched it, and sucked on my Obamacok oral therapy device the whole time. When he talked about curing cancer, it squirted right in my mouth. I felt wonderful for hours.

    You sterile, inbred righties are just jealous that he has outmaneuvered you at every turn. You hate that you have no one of his caliber to turn to. Look at your presidential candidates! Trump, ooooo, yuk. And Cruz, an extremely extreme extremist radical bomb-thrower.

    As I explain over at my blog, which I am totally not pimping, I think Trump is con artist and a lot like Hitler and Mussolini. But Cruz is even worse, so Trump might end up being a pragmatic centrist. Give me about two more posts about Trump, and I will have covered all my bases so that if he becomes president, I will have predicted any path he takes. I’ve got a whole year to do it, so I might even get up three or four, including one where Trump ends up thinking like me.

    I’ve also got to put up a “to and fro” post, because it’s just a great general purpose way to look wise and prophetic. You know what I mean – the kind where I talk about how politics goes back and forth, to and fro, and there really isn’t any reason for it. It’s a very useful way to look at things, because it means I never actually have to admit that you sterile, inbred righties have any valid points about politics. Your guys just get in office because of the tooing and froing, and the GOP dominance of the states is an example. Certainly not an indication that people are fed up with wise leftists like me dictating every aspect of their lives. No, they love it, and want more. I decree it.

    And it’s not either true that I don’t understand any more about Trump’s success than a puppy understands where dog food comes from. I totally get it. Righties are stupid, and easily taken in by a con man. Whereas we pragmatic moderate leftists know to support brilliant people with christlike visages. Such as Obama. And maybe Hillary, though her visage isn’t really christlike. More buddha-like, I guess.

    But I also take pride in the fact that my side has superb leaders such as Angela Merkel. Why, just last month, I said right here in the comments that “Angela Merkel is perhaps the most important world leader, and will be remembered on a short list of Europe’s great leaders.” And she will. So don’t start up with the New Years Eve stuff, and how the Syrian refugees are unleashing a wave of sexual abuse across Germany and Europe that has Merkel reeling. Because they’re not. They just need to let off a little steam every once in a while. But they can’t possibly be held responsible for rapey stuff. We don’t hold wogs those from primitive underdeveloped societies responsible for the same standards are those who ought to know better. Like white fraternity boys and lacrosse players.

    I’ll be around here more this spring. By then I’ll know who the Democratic nominee is, and so I’ll know who to pimp for how that person stacks up as a leader. And of course, because I’m a moderate, I’ll give due consideration to the GOP nominee. And then I’ll reject them as extreme and unqualified.

    Until then, I’ll be clearing out my caterpillar traps. That’s the best way yet that I’ve found to deal with the infestation of giant magenta caterpillars that have Sarah Palin’s face and ample bosom. There’s also a new variant that has a Donald Trump combover. The combination of the ample bosom and combover is especially disconcerting.

    And I’ll be planning this year’s Italy trip, which I don’t either do to be around nubile coeds for a week in a foreign land, sleeping mere feet from them in the next hotel room. No, I do it to see the same crumbling monuments for the eighth time. Really. I told you to stop laughing. And no jokes about my hotel bill containing charges for Student Bodies XII: Bobbing for Grades. I told you, I have no idea why they keep making that mistake.

  • According to Colin Powell, Madeleine HalfBright once asked him “What’s the point of having this superb military you’re always talking about if we can’t use it?”. Powell thought the military should be used only in cases where the USA’s vital interests were at risk.

    • The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.

      Seems old Mads was not a fan of Sun Tzu.

  • Duh Donald is apparently losing his shit entirely in full-tilt narcissistic melt-down mode over Cruz.

    It isn’t lost on Conservatives, either…