President Barack Obama knows how to give a speech.
His rousing addresses can stoke patriotic feelings. They can inspire but his words only seem to inspire a fraction of the country. His speeches have become a pep rally for those on his team, while the rest sit silent on the bleachers.
I wouldn't put myself in either camp. Some of the president's ideas I like. Some I don't. For example, in the State of the Union address, Obama said, "It's not a bigger government we need, but a smarter government that sets priorities and invests in broad-based growth." Come on, Mr. President. How often has the government been smart?
Every program, including the Pentagon, is riddled with waste. Politicians have been talking about this waste for years. Nothing ever changes. Government seems built to waste taxpayer's money. To make matters worse, while the president is calling for "smarter government," he's also calling for a myriad of new government programs -- programs like manufacturing innovation institutes or "fix-it first" infrastructure initiatives. This country can't spend our way out of debt no matter how hard Washington tries.
The president also rightfully hailed the military but he went on to say, "defending our freedom is not the job of our military alone. We must all do our part to make sure our God-given rights are protected here at home." The people in attendance at the State of the Union, including the speaker, are the ones who need to hear this message the most.
We now live in a world where Americans abroad can be killed with drone strikes without due process (guaranteed in the Fifth Amendment). Warrantless wiretaps are used to spy on Americans (a violation of the Fourth Amendment's protection against unreasonable searches and seizures clause) and constant talk about gun control legislation (Second Amendment) which won't do anything to slow down violent crime. Congress and the courts work hard to deprive us of our, as President Obama put it, "God-given rights."
I've never believed we only have rights when they are convenient. Apparently, our president and many politicians and judges do, so I'll use the State of our Union to remind us of the inefficiency of government and that governments and courts work to deprive you of your freedoms.
Tell me, is that smart?