The Audacity of ‘Nope’

Fallout continues from the poorly calculated State of the Union Address that President Obama delivered last week. The general consensus seems to be that, on a number of fronts, the President has lost touch with reality. He took credit for things he had nothing to do with, such as increased domestic oil and gas production and falling gasoline prices. And he suggested a flailing U.S. foreign policy has made the world safer and more stable than it really is; here note Russia on the move in Ukraine, ISIS continuing its horrific advance, Iran ever closer to nuclear capability and consolidation of its regional dominance.

Another telling miscalculation was the tenor of Mr. Obama’s speech, one of petulance and desperation. After refusing to acknowledge that Republicans had just won a landslide electoral victory, Mr. Obama proceeded to lecture them about all the things he would not allow them to do with their new and newly enhanced legislative majorities, backing up his bluster with one veto threat after another. Mr. Obama is attempting to force Republicans into a defensive posture, hoping desperately that they’ll recalculate their priorities. One envisions Mr. Obama, in the non-stop campaign mode to which he has relegated himself, repeatedly spouting lines such as … Why do you keep sending me legislation you know I’m going to veto? Stop clogging up the works and send me something I can sign. Let’s get some work done for the American people … blah, blah, blah.

Unless he recalculates his own priorities, Mr. Obama’s reflex will be to oppose and chastise. He will ignore the fact that the party with a mandate from voters is not his own, but rather the one he purports to lecture. Rather audacious, this strategy of saying ‘Nope’ not only to congressional Republicans, but to the voters who sent them to Washington with a mandate – to stop Barack Obama in his tracks.

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