Lots of Laughs, but Sad Commentary
Making Sense: Commentary by Michael Reagan
Thursday, January 30, 2014 4:00 PM
I admit I dozed off once or twice.
And for the first half-hour I thought I was watching a rerun of last year's State of the Union address.
But I hung in there and Tuesday night turned out to be one of President Obama's funniest addresses yet.
He didn't tell any jokes, not on purpose anyway.
But I thought it was pretty amusing when he listed all the great things he's done to end two wars, create millions of new jobs, reboot our oil and gas sector and provide affordable health care for all.
Another good laugh came when he blamed Republicans for everything still wrong with the economy, as if he hasn't been the president for the last five years.
If it weren't for those rotten House Republicans, he implied, by now everyone would have a 0 percent mortgage, a subsidized college loan for their kids and an hourly wage of at least $10.10.
That "Ten-Ten" line had me rolling on the floor. It also had the president's fellow Democrats jumping to their feet and applauding like they were part of a synchronized gymnastics team.
Every Democrat stood, clapped robotically for 22.3 seconds, and sat down. They must have done the exact same thing 30 times.
Did the president have an audience applause director hiding off-camera in the House chamber? His speech was so well scripted, I felt like I was watching a late-night talk show.
You'd think once in a while a Democrat would get so jazzed up by one of the president's socialist ideas that she'd leap from her seat, give out a loud "Yee-haw!" or at least remain standing for more than 22.3 seconds.
And what was the big deal with this $10.10 minimum wage for federal contract workers, anyway? Is $10.10 supposed to be catchier? More memorable? Funnier?
Why not make it $12, Mr. President? Or $25 an hour, since we're spending federal money and you and your White House comedy writers don't believe minimum-wage hikes destroy jobs at places like McDonalds.
And talk about a crummy joke.
The president's grandstanding executive edict won't go into effect until 2015. It won't affect old contracts. And it will only affect the 200,000 workers who don't already make more than $10.10.
Like a Jay Leno opening monologue, the president's jokes kept coming. By my count, about half of his applause lines turned into laugh lines.
Loud snickers were heard, at least at my conservative house, when he talked about cutting bureaucracy, streamlining the tax code, fixing immigration and putting Joe Biden in charge of a program to train new workers.
Mr. Obama even tried to take credit for the oil and gas boom that has turned the USA into an energy superpower again and created tens of thousands of high-paying jobs in North Dakota, Texas and Pennsylvania.
The president and the applauding Democrats were the only people in the room who didn't get that joke.
America's exploding oil and gas production has occurred on private lands because of the technological miracle of fracking, and it's occurred in spite of the Obama administration's green energy policies and restrictions on drilling on federal lands.
The funniest moment of the night for me came when President Obama repeated his threat that he was going to start using his executive powers to bypass Congress if it didn't pass his pet legislation.
Two hundred and forty-four congressional Democrats leapt to their feet and applauded mindlessly for 22.3 seconds, as if they were not members of the legislative body the president had just said he planned to castrate.
The State of the Union address was a lot of laughs. But in the end it was a sad commentary on the man who delivered it. After five years on the job, all he proved to the country was that he's out of ideas and still good at reading from a teleprompter.
Michael Reagan is the son of President Ronald Reagan, and a political consultant. Visit his websites at www.reagan.com and www.michaelereagan.com. Send comments to Reagan@caglecartoons.com.