Can President Obama be trusted to try to keep the promises he makes in his State of the Union address? Does ObamaCare's HHS contraception and early abortion drug mandate harm women or the poor in some fashion, and if so, is it because they want these services or because they'd rather get paid in cash than contraceptives?
Democratic strategist Bob Weiner and I debated these and other questions on the Mainstreet Radio Network's Alan Nathan Show on 1/27/14.
I don't trust President Obama to mean what he says.
Not even on the things we all broadly agree with.
Take voting rights. At last year's State of the Union address, Obama complained about long lines to vote in Florida in 2012, and said he'd appoint a commission to find out went wrong. Well, he did appoint the commission, but the commission has since reported that some innocent screw-ups combined with a lack of resources caused the problems.
The U.S. has a federal agency set up to get Florida those resources.
Except the agency, the U.S. Election Assistance Commission, has no commissioners.
Hasn't had any since 2011.
Possibly Bush's fault? Hmmm, probably not, him having left office in 2009 and all.
To be fair, President Obama appointed commissioners years ago, but they were too radical (and they really are radical) to get through the liberal Senate. And Obama has done nothing to get them through or to replace them with people who can get confirmed and get the issues in Florida straightened out before the next election. Which is pretty soon.
Maybe Obama doesn't care all that much about getting the polling places in Florida all fixed up after all.
And then there were President Obama's pledges at last year's SOTU to improve cybersecurity. (Edward Snowden, call your office. On second thought, stay the h*ll away from it; you've done enough damage already.)
But aside from Snowden and leaks, did the President really try to improve cybersecurity? It's hard to say he has, since the ObamaCare websites lack even the basic cybersecurity tools required by federal law. People working under his direction -- people who, he claims, were reporting to him on progress regularly -- were already working on the website when he gave last year's speech. Did he not question them about security issues?
Apparently cybersecurity was important enough to mention in the SOTU, but not important enough to ask a subordinate about.
These and numerous other examples give the public plenty of reasons to believe that whatever President Obama promises in the SOTU, he can't be trusted to keep those promises.
We really can't trust him to even try.
Last year, among many other things, he said he wanted to get a minimum wage increase through Congress, get more gun restrictions passed and have what he calls "comprehensive immigration reform" (as opposed to reform, I suppose).
The left has buzzed about the minimum wage a bit, especially over the last few weeks, but did anyone see President Obama making an effort to put together a coalition on the Hill to get the mandatory federal minimum wage increased? I sure didn't (not that it's a good idea).
The President stopped talking about new gun restrictions soon after it became clear getting them through Congress might be hard, too. (Again, I'm glad he failed, but he claimed he wanted it done and didn't really try.)
And the President knows how to get "comprehensive" immigration reform: Get the southern border closed. All kinds of people will support amnesty if that actually happens, and he knows it. But although he claims to support a closed border, does he take the steps necessary to get it close to that condition? Nope.
In the early years of our Republic, Presidents sent a written State of the Union report to Congress. No speech. Maybe we should return to those days. With no camera, and no microphone, the President just might limit his report to things he truly is committed to doing. And the rest of us can stop wasting our time watching him say things he doesn't really mean.