Last night, President Obama used a great many words - seventy one minutes worth - to say remarkably little.
The details are unimportant but the lack of leadership is appalling. Unfortunately for our nation, the President continues to peddle the entitlement mentality: in particular, the proposition that the government's primary purpose is to give things to the bulk of the population while punishing those who are currently out of favor. Simultaneously, he expresses the Democratic Party's long held love of jobs and hatred of employers - except perhaps for so-called 'Small Business' which, more often than not, pays badly while providing little in the way of security or benefits.
The most distracting part of the whole affair was the behavior of Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) who, seated behind the President, jumped up and down, clapping her hands, like a six year old child with ADHD whose prescription for Ritalin had run out a week earlier. In addition, if Supreme Court Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr was really caught mouthing his dissent over the President's disagreement with a recent Supreme Court decision, then he is either rude or stupid. The latter is arguably worse: he should have known that there would be skilled lip readers in the audience and had the self-discipline to keep his mouth shut.
It is only reasonable to expect our leaders to look and act as if they are serious: part of that is to treat us as adults who are part of the solution rather than as the beneficiaries of unearned largesse to be bestowed by a benevolent (?) government. President Obama, Speaker Pelosi and, apparently, Justice Alito must be given a failing grade for that task.
It is far past the time for our leaders to choose between leading and pandering. If they pick leadership, they may deserve re-election: if not, it will be time to call Hercules to reprise his starring role in 'Cleaning the Augean Stables'.
If there is no change in the attitudes of those who believe that they rule - rather than serve, our approach must be to vote against every incumbent regardless of party. While the election of 2008 was a start, the Democratic Party failed to understand the message. Perhaps, if we are lucky, they will learn a lesson from the most significant event of last week when, for the first time in forty years, the citizens of Massachusetts elected a Republican Senator.
President Obama did mention a 'deficit of trust in government'. Give him credit for understanding part of the problem but the true test of his Presidency will be whether he is capable of acting rather than merely spewing hot air.