By Sen. John Thune
Year after year, President Obama has used his annual State of the Union address to lecture the American people about his government-knows-best approach, and this year was no different. The president painted a rosy picture of the economic well-being of America’s middle class and his supposed success on the world stage. The president’s distorted view of reality left many people scratching their heads, wondering which America he was actually talking about.
On President Obama’s watch, we have experienced the worst economic recovery since the Eisenhower administration, with stagnant wages and millions dropping out of the labor force as the lasting trademark of the Obama economy. American families are seeing their dreams for the future erode, as they struggle under ever-increasing government burdens and a lack of economic opportunity, and any serious discussion of the state of our union needs to address these challenges and offer solutions. Unfortunately, the president failed to do either.
Then there are the burdensome regulations the Obama administration has imposed, which have made it more challenging for businesses large and small to grow and create jobs. The Obama Environmental Protection Agency in particular has done more than its fair share to make things difficult for Americans. Again and again, I’ve heard from South Dakota farmers and ranchers, homeowners, and small businesses about the difficulties they’re facing thanks to the Obama EPA’s massive new regulations.
If the president’s record on the economy and middle-class opportunity is bad, his record on foreign policy is even worse.
During the president’s last year in office, the White House says, “we can show the world what is possible when America truly leads.” Republicans couldn’t agree more that America should truly lead – the problem is that the president’s first seven years in office have generally been distinguished by a lack of leadership.
In June, former President – and fellow Democrat – Jimmy Carter described President Obama’s successes on the world stage as “minimal.” “On the world stage, just to be objective about it as I can,” Carter said, “I can’t think of many nations in the world where we have a better relationship now than we did when he took over.” Neither can I, and that’s a real problem.
Rather than substantively addressing any of these major problems in his State of the Union address, the president took a victory lap and spiked the football on his presidency. But the American people clearly don’t think there’s much to celebrate, nor do they think America has “made extraordinary progress on the path to a stronger country and brighter future,” as the administration believes it has.
While President Obama might be satisfied with where America finds itself, Republicans believe there is much more work yet to be done. The president still has 12 months remaining in his presidency, and it’s our hope that he spends each month working with us to make the American people’s lives better.