In his 2015 State of the Union speech, President Obama counted on the American people being too ignorant to see that he was offering the same old failed policies and sugar-coated demagoguery.
Just how stupid does Obama assume the American people are?
Most Americans don’t have the time or stomach to digest the spoiled bromides offered by most politicians. Thus, avoiding such fare except, perhaps, at election time might seem like rational ignorance. Why waste time sorting out politics when you’re busy living your life?
Unfortunately, the problem often goes deeper. Comedians and man-on-the-street interviewers for years have highlighted a level of ignorance that is disturbing and anything but rational. For example, on Martin Luther King Day, the day before Obama’s speech, video-provocateur Mark Dice approached San Diego citizens—white and black—with a camera and mic. He asked them their reaction to the news that Dr. King had died that day at the age of 93; King, of course, was actually assassinated 46 years ago. Many expressed their regret. Some agreed they would likely watch his funeral on TV.
Obama must have assumed the alleged “rational”—as well as deep—ignorance of a large number of Americans, because otherwise he must have known he would be laughed out of the house.
In the State of the Union, for example, Obama asked, “Will we allow ourselves to be sorted into factions and turned against one another—or will we recapture the sense of common purpose that has always propelled America forward?” He was assuming that Americans never registered the fact that he has been one of the most divisive presidents of our times.
Stoking the fires of class envy with “Let’s tax the rich” and “You didn’t build that” rhetoric is a key component of his ideology.
Obama posed as a president who would transcend race. Yet a Gallup survey found a dramatic jump in the number of Americans who see race relations deteriorating. Obama is assuming that his kumbaya slick talk will make Americans disconnect from the fact that he has had the notorious race-hustler Al Sharpton to the White House over 80 times and embraces this bigot at every opportunity.
And bipartisan? Unlike Bill Clinton when he was president, Obama has made little attempt to work with Republicans on Capitol Hill; he’s had only a handful of meetings with GOP House leader John Boehner. I guess he was too busy with Sharpton.
Obama declared that “Over the past five years, our businesses have created more than 11 million new jobs” and that unemployment was down. He was betting that too few Americans—unless, perhaps, they were Fox News junkies—would know that since he took office in January 2009 workforce participation dropped from 65.7 percent to 62.7 percent today, a 36 year low. Fewer people are even bothering to look for work. And if they don't look for work, they don't count as “unemployed.”
When he took office 154.2 million were seeking work. After an actual drop, today that number is only 156.1 million, less than 2 million more. When he was first sworn in, 142.2 million were working. Today it’s about 147.4 million, a 5 million increase, not an 11 million net gain.
Yes, the job situation has improved in the past seven years but in spite of, not because of, Obama’s policies; this has been one of the slowest economic recoveries since the Depression. And there are more Americans getting food stamps and living in poverty than when The One blessed the White House with his audacity.
Obama could only make happy-face claims about the job scene because he’s confident that most Americans can’t do basic math.
Which brings us Obama’s assertion that “More of our kids are graduating than ever before” followed by his “plan to lower the cost of community college to zero.” Of course, the cost can never be “zero.” The question is, who pays the cost?
Whether the graduation numbers are doctored or not misses the main point that Obama counts on the American people to miss—most of our wits were no doubt dulled in government schools.
Presidents since George H.W. Bush have been calling for more federal education spending. The Department of Education appropriation in 1989 was $22.8 billion. By 2013 it was $39.9 billion. Of course, local government appropriations make up the largest share of government education spending. State and local education spending jumped from $288 billion in 1990 to nearly $1 trillion today.
The results? High school students’ scores on the National Assessment of Educational Progress have been flat for years, as have SAT scores . The mean score on the math part of the SAT college entrance exams was 502 in 1988 but only 513 in 2014. The scores on the verbal part dropped from 504 in 1988 to 497 in 2014.
Government junior colleges are needed to make up for the failures of government high schools. Is Obama savoring the fact that he’s asking for more money for the same government schools that addle people’s minds so they can’t figure out that this money is wasted?
But maybe the American people do appreciate that Obama is distorting the truth, even if they don't follow the details. After all, the majority did vote in a Republican Congress in 2014.
And maybe the fact that Obama was not welcomed on the campaign trail by his fellow Democrats suggests that more and more Americans see through his hollow rhetoric and BS promises.
But will Republicans be able to go on the offensive, educating Americans to the truth and showing that ignorance is not rational? They are stupid if they don’t.
Hudgins is director of advocacy and a senior scholar at The Atlas Society. Posted January 22, 2015.
For further information:
*Edward Hudgins, “ Obama offers more of the same failed education ideas .” February 15, 2013.
*Edward Hudgins, “ Obama’s Poison For Entrepreneurs. ” July 24, 2012.
*Edward Hudgins, “ Obama’s Grab-Bag Socialism. ” April 4, 2009.
Edward Hudgins is research director at the Heartland Institute and former director of advocacy and senior scholar at The Atlas Society.