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State of the Union: Obama's reality problem

President Obama’s primary problem is not rhetorical -- though, about an hour into the State of the Union address, I gave up hoping that it might eventually build toward something remotely interesting. (For much of the speech Obama sounded like a commerce secretary at a professional conference on a particularly uninspired day.) Obama’s problem is not primarily political -- though he seems in complete denial about the political dangers he faces. (He amazingly blamed his health-care failure on “not explaining it more clearly.”) Obama’s problem is not a vice president behind his right shoulder who can’t stop his distracting, sycophantic nodding -- though it was certainly annoying.

Obama has a reality problem.

The Congressional Budget Office estimated this week that unemployment will average more than 10 percent for the first half of this year, before declining at a slower pace than in past recoveries. On this economic path, Obama’s presidency will fail. Many Democrats in the House chamber tonight will lose their jobs. And the nation will enter a Carter-like period of stagnation and self-doubt.

Every element of the president’s speech tonight should be considered in this light.

* Health Care. On this issue, elected Democrats are desperate for leadership. They want to avoid total defeat on last year’s highest legislative priority, while pivoting swiftly to the economy. Obama gave no indication of how this feat will be accomplished. Instead, he called attention to his own virtue, foresight and tenacity in pursuing the issue. His approach was entirely self-centered. Democrats in tough races can only conclude that the president is indifferent to their political needs. On health care, it is every Democrat for himself.

* The Deficit. The president’s trial balloon of a limited, discretionary spending freeze has quickly deflated. Conservatives dismiss it as pathetic symbolism. Liberals attack it as Hooverism. And the policy conflicts with Obama’s campaign criticism of spending freezes. It is a policy disaster.

A spending commission might be a good idea, if it had fast-track authority that forced Congress to vote on a package of serious cuts. But, as the president noted, the Senate defeated a similar measure earlier this week, and his executive order is weak version of this concept.

* Middle Class Relief. These are the type of proposals that work for politicians in normal economic times. In bad economic times, the middle class (and others) do not want symbolism and sympathy. They want economic growth and jobs.

* Economic Growth and Jobs. Tonight the president had one main task: to make a credible case that his policies will help reduce unemployment. For the most part, he failed. His proposal to cut the capital gains tax for small business investment seems positive. His other ideas -- taking money from some bankers and giving it to other bankers and a temporary hiring tax credit -- are a caricature of job-creation policy. For the most part, Obama defended a continuation and expansion of the stimulus package, which promises to bring prosperity on high-speed trains. Compare Obama's speech to John Kennedy’s State of the Union in 1963, which called for permanent tax cuts that would allow America to move toward full employment. Some Democratic presidents have actually understood how the economy works.

After a series of political humiliations, Obama called on Republicans to change their course. Facing a general revolt against Washington, he proudly took credit for posting the names of White House visitors online. Promising to change the tone in Washington, he managed to be petty, backward looking, defiant and self-justifying.

Barack Obama has lost his promise. He has lost his momentum. He has lost his touch. He has lost his filibuster-proof Senate majority. He has lost his first year in office.

Tonight, he lost his grip on reality.

By Michael Gerson  | January 27, 2010; 11:13 PM ET
Categories:  Gerson  | Tags:  Michael Gerson  
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Next: State of the Union: Obama plays grown-up


Amazing. An hour after the SOTU Gerson has this editorial all written.

Do you guys ever think about things first? Or maybe it's easier just to have the template written and throw in the bits that support your argument.

Posted by: mikem1 | January 27, 2010 11:37 PM | Report abuse

Never forget that Gerson used to write speeches for the Worst President In History, Goerge Bush, the man who lied us into a war, and whose people expressed scorn for "reality-based" thinking.

Now this cheap GOP hack presumes to lecture President Obama about a "reality problem"?

Don't make me laugh.

President Obama hit it out of the park tonight, and wingnuts are wetting their diapers in unison. No surprise there. Gerson just spouts off for the benefit of the squirrel-sandwich eating GOP base.

Why Fred Hiatt gives "Worm Boy" Gerson a paycheck is beyond me. He should be horsewhipped for printing this trash.

Posted by: losthorizon10 | January 27, 2010 11:39 PM | Report abuse

Well, first he dished out a lot of insults:
-- Insulted Congress - "you don't want a blue ribbon commission? I'm creating one by executive order!! You don't give me what I want on earmarks, I'll veto!
-- Insulted the Supreme Court.
-- Insulted the US Military with his gay rights business (see any general clapping?)
-- Repeatedly insulted in the most condescending tone the opposition.
-- Insulted Bankers
-- Insulted people who earn more that $250K

He claimed credit where it isn't due:
-- Credit for killing more Al Qaida (while he prosecutes soldiers and puts in place impossible rules of engagement)
-- Credit for helping freedom fighter kids in Iran (hahahahahahahahah) and Venezuela (hahahahahahahha...what do you talking bout your fist-bump buddy?)
-- Free trade with Colombia (the Democrats have opposed MFN forever because they're being beastly to narco-leftist killers the FARC)
-- Credit for off shore drilling (not one permit has been issued since he took office), for coal technology (he has tried to kill the coal business)
-- Credit for ending the war in Iraq (it was won/won/won by "Betray-us" and Dubya by the time he showed up.

He continued to beat the drum for overspending big government programs which are already dead:
-- Health care as he sees it.
-- Cap and trade.
-- Stimulus and more stimulus.
-- more spending, more programs

He shut up on national security saying:
-- nothing about Gitmo
-- nothing about war
-- nothing about charging the Abdulmutalib as an American citizen.

He virtually shut up on foreign policy. And he kept talking about a 2nd place America.

This man is not a politician...he has a tin ear. He is an ideologue. And he managed to leave the impression of an angry man, angry at those little Americans who dared to oppose him and against whom he will FIGHT...about so many many things. What an miserable, unimpressive performance. Ranks right up there with Jimmy Carter's Malaise speech!! This man is President of the USA?

Posted by: wjc1va | January 27, 2010 11:40 PM | Report abuse

Too poll tested and self centered. I agree that he will leave the rank and file Dems out to dry and hope things get better by osmosis. Say what is in your heart BO ... or are you afraid to ?

Posted by: cunn9305 | January 27, 2010 11:54 PM | Report abuse

Wait...did you listen to the speech, Gerson??? Laughable.

Posted by: anna-lisa25 | January 27, 2010 11:56 PM | Report abuse

"His other ideas -- taking money from some bankers and giving it to other bankers and a temporary hiring tax credit -- are a caricature of job-creation policy."

Gerson, although I have been a strong critic of Obama I will not let you get away with outright lies to support your pathetic views. Nothing was said in the SOTU about taking money from banks to give to other banks.

Posted by: Single_Payer | January 28, 2010 12:22 AM | Report abuse

So before tonight, you thought he had a really strong grip on reality.

Get a life. Get a meme. Get a job, Mikey Mike.

Posted by: stoystown | January 28, 2010 12:27 AM | Report abuse

"Amazing. An hour after the SOTU Gerson has this editorial all written."

Gee, it's almost as if the content of the SOTU were utterly predictable.

Oh wait, it was.

Posted by: charlesbakerharris | January 28, 2010 12:30 AM | Report abuse

Most state of the union speeches are forgettable. Obama's speech will be no exception. Except to those who are more about sort of nice sounding speeches than reality, most people want true health care reform, not the Obama/Reid health care special interest bill, and millions of more jobs.

Posted by: Aprogressiveindependent | January 28, 2010 12:33 AM | Report abuse

Gerson and Kristol and the real well spoken folks like Mark Levine -- have nothing to offer.

It would be more than any of us could ask to have an opposition party that is in at least the smallest degree rational.

At least one person is talking like an adult-- and I am damned glad I voted for him.

He can keep looking for civility and common sense -- and the more the insane right keeps slapping him in the face, the wiser and more rational he looks.

For the first time in a long time, I am really proud of my president and the national policies he is seeking to advance.

Posted by: scott56 | January 28, 2010 12:37 AM | Report abuse

Talk about remotely interesting. Bush's speeches were painful to watch! Tried as I might I just couldn't stick around to the end. Sorry...

Posted by: Givemeabreak5 | January 28, 2010 12:45 AM | Report abuse

Mr Gerson claims Obama has a "reality" problem. Where was Mr. Gerson during the past decade? Help for the middle class? Where was Mr. Gerson during the Bush administration, when the economy was collapsing? Mr. Gerson usually has thoughtful commentary; this column won't do.

Posted by: jchristopherbook | January 28, 2010 12:52 AM | Report abuse

Conferring protections on terrorists to make himself look good to the elites instead of interrogating them to protect ordinary Americans.

Letting manifold "deadlines" on Iran come and go impotently and without consequence.

Bowing, literally and in all other ways, to dictators all over the world.

Jetsetting as a self-absorbed celebrity to Scandinavia to burnish his resume or to bring favors to hometown cronies, rather than focus on his job.

Tripling the federal deficit in a single year and proposing budgets sure to continue the massive red ink.

Persistence in pushing socialized medicine long after even Massachusetts (and the rest of the country) has turned against.

Adherence to a redistributionist, government-heavy approach to the economic slump that can only lead to stagnation and, sooner or later, stupendous inflation.

Echoing questionable and even farcical "climate change" scare tactics in order to expand the power of government.

Cynically peddling token "budget cuts" after you've aggressively sent the nation's federal authority into the most dangerous imaginable fiscal situation.

Denying responsibility for the foreseeable outcomes of your actions, and instead like a child blaming other people for the damage you continue to cause.

Etc, etc.

These are the "accomplishments" of Barack Obama.

That's why Gerson could correctly anticipate Obama's remarks.

Obama does not say anything new, and what he does say is not trustworthy or even particularly interesting.

Each speech is just warmed over leftovers from previous speeches. The only real change is his increased peevishness and defensiveness. He knows the country now sees through him more and more clearly, and like the Chicago con man he is, he is desperate to distract our attention from his fraudulence by filling the air up with his manifold strawmen and false dichotomies.

The thing Obama needs to do above all is.. listen. But the man is not capable of listening. No person who uses the pronoun "I" as much as he does is open to the ideas or contradictions found in true discussion.

In this way, he and his remaining supporters are a perfect match.

He is an arrogant, one-trick liberal pony destined to become a one-term president.

Posted by: SARileyMan | January 28, 2010 1:13 AM | Report abuse

If you read your own post, you will realize that you are the one completely out of touch!!!
Your frustration about having lost the election comes out so pathetically in your column, your tone is insulting, the President pointed out important issues and you, you continue in that line that denounced tonight by the President and that American people complained about every single day, you just want to see him fail, that's all you are longing for but guess won't happen!!!! You've been trying since he took office and even before. What have you suggested as tangible solution to all the problems we face.....NOTHING!!! I feel for you and your bitterness, this type of column only makes the President stronger and smarter…See you in 7 years!!!!

Posted by: street_smart24 | January 28, 2010 1:20 AM | Report abuse


"you just want to see him fail, that's all you are longing for but guess won't happen!!!!"

This failure has already happened. Obama spent 2009 chasing his liberal fantasies and socialist rainbows--and the result has been failure. Your denial of reality does not change this reality.

Obama's failure is not a thing to be wished for; it is a thing we can observe with our own eyes.

Posted by: SARileyMan | January 28, 2010 1:28 AM | Report abuse

Why on earth should anyone care what a professional Republican propagandist has to say about Obama's speech? Gerson, who wrote lies for George Bush to speak (and helped to start a war with those lies), has no credibility. The Post embarrasses itself by giving him a column.

Posted by: turningfool | January 28, 2010 1:34 AM | Report abuse


Let me give you another opinion about Obama's speeches:

"Mr. Obama is in danger of being perceived as someone whose rhetoric, however skillful, cannot always be trusted. He is creating a credibility gap for himself, and if it widens much more he won’t be able to close it."

That assessment comes from Bob Herbert, one of most stridently liberal columnists in the United States. I guarantee you Mr. Herbert did not defend Bush. Indeed, Herbert was a consistent cheerleader for Obama until....

Until it became increasingly obvious that you just can't trust a word that Barack Obama says.

When both sides of the political spectrum are concluding your man is a cynical liar, you would do well to consider the possibility that your man is, in fact, a cynical liar.

Posted by: SARileyMan | January 28, 2010 1:44 AM | Report abuse

Gerson, what a sleazy hit piece. Your boss rarely made any speech remotely near this.

But nothing shows your colors more than this comment "Some Democratic presidents have actually understood how the economy works."

Considering the massive economic disaster the prior administration left to the country, you couldn't be any more hollow. Gerson, you're such a sleazebag.

Posted by: zcezcest1 | January 28, 2010 1:50 AM | Report abuse

"we all hated the bank bailout. I hated it."

When does this President learn if ever. The toilet overflows and you clean it out because you need a toilet. The banks had to be saved to provide lending. After all the trillions the bankers still will not lend since they want the large bonuses from playing roulette with the insured deposits. If instead of making the Democrats the party of Wall Street this President would have brought back Glass Steagall the banks would be lending and not creating simply another mess that will have to be cleaned up again. The job of this President was to make the banks work again.

"we extended or increased unemployment benefits for more than 18 million Americans"
"Now, the true engine of job creation in this country will always be America's businesses."

Americans want jobs and there will be no jobs if American jobs are allowed to be sent to other nations. There is no possibility of a healthy economy based upon non exportable jobs. Either this President and the government stop companies from sending the jobs of the 21st century involving computer technology to other nation, or this President and government take steps to provide continuous food stamps and unemployment payments for teens of millions of Americans. There can be no jobs for Americans when American jobs are simply sent to other nations. Nations in the 21st century do not survive by turning their back on the future and pretending that small businesses with limited resources will be the engine that creates tens of millions of jobs for Americans.

Americans do not need an angry President that pretends to rant and be angry.

Americans need a President that will fix the real problems and stop campaigning for 2012.
India may get $1 billion in IT outsourcing contracts
Reuters November 23, 2009
The newspaper said JPMORGAN, GOLDMAN SACHS and MORGAN STANLEY that received approval to pay back government stake worth $68 billion earlier this year are among the firms seeking operational efficiencies by outsourcing non-core IT and back-office projects to India.
IBM to Cut 5,000 Jobs. Washington Post March 26, 2009
Officials began notifying employees on Wednesday and throughout yesterday about the layoffs. Technology services giant is in the process of shifting a large number of jobs to lower-cost regions, such as India.

Posted by: bsallamack | January 28, 2010 1:56 AM | Report abuse


"Considering the massive economic disaster the prior administration left to the country, you couldn't be any more hollow."

So, because Bush was bad, we should ignore that Obama is just as bad or worse?

That sort of logic explains why Democrats are in such desperate trouble just a year into Obama's presidency.

The American people, according to the polls and votes, reject by a majority virtually all of Obama's agenda.

It's this simple: They have listened to him for a year, seen the results (and non-results, and have begun to swing massively away from him. Obama ran as a stealth but centrist candidate in 2008--and, upon taking office, has moved far to the left.

This sea change has mainly happened because independents cannot stand Obama's spending spree and big government plans.

It took Bush six years to wear out his welcome with independents, and it took Carter three years.

Obama has required only a year to replicate it.

Posted by: SARileyMan | January 28, 2010 1:58 AM | Report abuse


"Americans need a President that will fix the real problems and stop campaigning for 2012."

Since Barack Obama's political career has been stepping from one office to the next, without ever fixing anything or leaving any legacy of achievement, it is quite doubtful he will "stop campaigning for 2012."

Campaigning is all he knows. When asked in 2008 about his executive experience, Barack Obama himself cited running the 2008 campaign as his main executive achievement. This answer should have raised many eyebrows then, as running for office is not, in itself, evidence of competency to hold office. Obama's incompetence is clear for all to see now, however.

If the Democrats were smart, one or more of them would be thinking about a primary challenge to Obama in 2012.

If Obama is already taking his party over the cliff, just imagine how he will damage the party by being its standard bearer in 2012.

Posted by: SARileyMan | January 28, 2010 2:14 AM | Report abuse

I love it when the GOP declares JFK to be their hero! I'm old enough to remember that they didn't exactly feel that way at the time! And one more thing...when JFK cut taxes the highest marginal tax rate was 90%. At that time it made sense to cut taxes. Now the tax rates (due, indeed to the Republicans) are closer to 30%. Yet the GOP still wants to cut them some more. Do they actually have an idea in their heads about how to help our economy other than cutting taxes? Bush cut plenty of taxes and look where that got us!

Posted by: SuzanneM5 | January 28, 2010 2:22 AM | Report abuse


"Bush cut plenty of taxes and look where that got us!"

Your logic is flawed. The Bush tax cuts were followed by many years of substantial economic growth.

The credit meltdown and resulting turmoil in 2008-09 was caused by the failure of Democrats and Republicans going back to the 1990's to let market forces drive home ownership rates. Instead, the government encouraged, subsidized, or even compelled trillions of dollars of irresponsible lending. That chicken came home to roost, but it had absolutely nothing to do with tax cuts.

The two main culprits in the housing crisis were Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. I should point out that Obama, rather than imposing market discipline on these agencies, has guaranteed they will never fail by guaranteeing their loans. Thus, Obama has set the stage for another irresponsible bubble.

We have yet to see any economic growth since Obama took office, and it's unlikely (according to the Federal Reserve) that will see anything more than very modest growth under Obama's policies because those policies disincentivize business growth.

Borrowing trillions from the Chinese to fill potholes in Iowa or to bailout GM or fulfill liberal wishlists, is not the way to generate the kind of growth that causes the "Hiring" signs to be posted.

Left unmentioned, of course, is that Obama's anti-business policies and big-government agenda have massively worsened the debt situation. Obama's 2011 deficit will be three times Bush's largest.

The inevitable consequence of this level of government debt is to raise the price of money (i.e., interest rates) just as soon as aggregate demand increases in any significant recovery. When the government is borrowing all this money--as Obama intends to do at record rates for years to come--it raises the cost of private investment because there are fewer dollars available for private investment.

If you raise the cost of capital, you cut or abort the growth of businesses, production, and hiring. This is why unemployment is unlikely to fall much soon, even under optimistic assumptions.

This is the _inevitable_ result of Obama's fiscal policies.

Posted by: SARileyMan | January 28, 2010 2:44 AM | Report abuse

Wonder how Gerson got and keeps this job? Specially when they say the post has money problems.

Posted by: waawaazaire | January 28, 2010 4:42 AM | Report abuse

All we ever seem to get from our President is a speech. Words, words, words. Lecture, lecture. More words, words. The pointing finger.Smug smiles. More words.

Posted by: Savekidsresale | January 28, 2010 5:04 AM | Report abuse


If Washington is as dysfunctional as you claim (and I do agree with the assessment), why on earth should American citizens send one more dime to Washington to waste? Why should we place our future health care, security, commercial viability into a dysfunctional quagmire?

He said nothing in the SOTU to convince me that he is capable of changing Washington -- in fact, his speech -- at points -- even sounded dysfunctional!

Posted by: wheeljc | January 28, 2010 5:46 AM | Report abuse

Yeah, could Bush make a speech that well? Bush couldn't even complete a sentence with the teleprompter.

Posted by: orange3 | January 28, 2010 6:23 AM | Report abuse

All you guys who love Obama and have a pathological knee-jerk hatred for Bush or anyone who was ever associated with him -- just go read Dionne's column as an antidote.

Posted by: RedderThanEver | January 28, 2010 6:35 AM | Report abuse

To SARileyMan: WOW! Another paid GOP hack! How much have you made off of this one thread? You'll be able to quit that pizza delivery job any time now. Schmuck!!

Posted by: Drewster1 | January 28, 2010 6:41 AM | Report abuse

Excellent analysis Gerson. Obama is dead set on wrecking the Democrat will be shown in the elections of 2010/12.

Posted by: SUBLIMEWOODY | January 28, 2010 6:53 AM | Report abuse

If we do have a period of prolonged unemployment and economic stagnation, it will be due to the excesses of the Clinton and Bush era, not because of anything Obama does or doesn't do. Clinton signed legislation deregulating the financial industry and Bush did nothing to re-regulate it once it was clear there was a serious speculative bubble. Obama just has to clean up the mess and I give him credit for wanting to continue to try.

Posted by: ripvanwinkleincollege | January 28, 2010 6:54 AM | Report abuse

Gerson refers to "Obama's Reality Problem."

How dare he?

Gerson himself was part of the Bush combo who created their own reality to benefit their class and bring about the destruction of this country.

Here, from a Bob Herbert column of 22 October 2004 titled, "Bush's Blinkers."

"In a disturbing article in last Sunday's New York Times Magazine, the writer Ron Suskind told of a meeting he'd had with a senior adviser to the president. The White House at the time was unhappy about an article Mr. Suskind had written.

"According to Mr. Suskind, "The aide said that guys like me were 'in what we call the reality-based community,' which he defined as people who 'believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.' " The aide told Mr. Suskind, "That's not the way the world really works anymore. We're an empire now, and when we act we create our own reality."

Posted by: FedUp1 | January 28, 2010 7:05 AM | Report abuse

Reality - Republican obstructionism in Congress.

Reality - Thousands and thousands of Republican government workers sabotaging our society from the inside.

One must remember the Republicans are trying to return the United States to the robber baron days of the 1890s, which in turn will bring about an even greater depression than the ones in the 1900s and 1930s. Republicans do not deny this. Look what they did to the banking system with their deregulation. And their solution to that problem - more of the same, more deregulation. How delusion can you get?

Posted by: BigTrees | January 28, 2010 7:17 AM | Report abuse

Gerson is right on. This president lves under a rock The Whit House. He has no clue. He mouths off such drivel.Does he even fathom what is at stake.Lecturing the supremes. People are hurting.He is worried about gays in the military.PLEASE Don't Quit till November 2010. They will crucify you.

Posted by: Alislam1 | January 28, 2010 7:45 AM | Report abuse

This article seems up Obama problem. He just run out of gas.

why Obama did not have a plan B when it came to health care I don't understand. It its like these bills have not failed before. Now we have Hillarcare followed by Obamacare. NOw what?

It remands me of the movie with Robert Redford which at the end when elected aska now what?

Faced with 10% unemployment the normal policy is to expect the recovery to create jobs. But what happens when this does not occur. Than what is the policy. There is none. Manufacturing jobs are gone to other countries. What else is going to other countries. Maybe computer programming or telemarketing or some answering service or etc.

I did not watch the Obama show on television as everytime he showsup I change the station. As a General Motors bond holder need I listern to the honeyed words and then find myself losing my life saving because of the games that people play. Oddly, the banks that had money owning to the auto companies collected 53 billion dollars before taxpapers, union, or bond holders. Yes! We saved the banks is to Obama's credit but what about the rest of the country? I am retired but feel sorry for those workers that still have to work for a living.

If all the workers went on strike they could put an end to the nonsense in government as it would be a second declaration of independence.

Posted by: artg | January 28, 2010 7:47 AM | Report abuse

gerson why don't you shut up and join your fellow idiot that moron w in obscurity. Haven't you fools done enough damage to this country?

Posted by: davidsawh | January 28, 2010 7:47 AM | Report abuse

We all have a reality problem -- it was caused by the scorched earth your party left us. Thanks for nothing. Lead, follow or get out of the way.

Posted by: SarahBB | January 28, 2010 7:52 AM | Report abuse

"The Congressional Budget Office estimated this week that unemployment will average more than 10 percent for the first half of this year, before declining at a slower pace than in past recoveries. On this economic path, Obama’s presidency will fail."
Who put us that path, you sanctimonious S.O.B.? Your lack of shame and embarrassment is mind-boggling, Gerson. How can you stand to look in the mirror after the rank hypocrisy of your columns over the past year?

The Administration (of which you were part and parcel) set us up for the economic crash with which Obama is struggling. I'm sure you're tired of hearing that, but apparently your memory is so poor that you need a constant and all the rest of your spend-now-and-pay-later GOP cronies.

Posted by: st50taw | January 28, 2010 8:01 AM | Report abuse

You'd think listening to Obama that Bush was still president and he was still just a lowly senator. I think Obama and the Democrat's fixation on all things Bush borders on the pathological. Maybe they can go get some treatment before the voters kick them all out this year. Come on guys Bush has been out of office for over a year now and Obama and his fellow Democrats have been in charge of the whole federal goverment for that entire time.

I think the problem the Democrats have is that the voters have quit drinking the Obama koolaid and don't buy in to all the BS that comes out of his mouth now. During the 2008 election Obama was able to get by with giving his teleprompter speeches about change, change and more change. The media and the public swilled down the koolaid and just cheered and cheered every inane uttterance than came out of his mouth. But now with the affects of the koolaid having worn off people realize that it was all just talk and Obama is really just a far left wing liberal. Instead of bipartianship this government is the most partisan ever. The Democrats figured with their huge majorities they could just ram through whatever they wanted no matter how unpopular. Instead of openness and transparency the Obama administration is one of the most secretive ever. Whatever happened to those C-Span debates about healthcare. Instead of the most ethical government ever we got half the Obama administration who don't pay their taxes, including the Secretary of the Treasury, and we got Charlie Rangel, John Murtha and many more. How about the pledge to not raise taxes on anyone making less than 250K per year. Out the window. The only promise Obama has made an effort to keep is his obsessive efforts to close Gitmo. Which is funny because the vast majority of the American people don't want Gitmo prisoners to be tried as common criminals in the U.S. or for them to be released back to their home country so that they can kill Americans again. And after November this year the Democrats will all be standing around with their mouths hanging down to the floor in shock and wondering what happened to their massive majorities. How could this happen to us they'll wail.

Posted by: RobT1 | January 28, 2010 8:18 AM | Report abuse

Great analysis Gerson. I'm afraid that this is similar to President Clinton's "I feel your pain" moments. Trying to impress people that he is, in fact in touch when President Obama is out of touch. If Barack continues on this trajectory he will be the next Jimmy Carter, an embarrassment to his own party and disdained by the country.

Posted by: schmitt_fam | January 28, 2010 8:26 AM | Report abuse

Let's cripple this clown in the fall and then send him packing to his birthplace Indonesia in 2012.

Posted by: tjhall1 | January 28, 2010 8:28 AM | Report abuse

It was bobblehead Biden on one side, the nut case on his other side, was it just me or did Pelosi's face look she was holding her head out of a car window at 120 mph?

Obviously President Obama is intelligent so the only way I can interpret his speech last night is that he is so damn arrogant he really believes what he is saying.... he is the one breaking his own campaign pledges, not the Republicans, he is the one pushing a far left agenda, he is the one who is sitting in the White House with the power to do the right thing, instead he speaks in generalities and platitudes and blames everyone and everything else of his own failings.

Is this best we can do? Bush, Clinton, Bush, Obama? This is it? That is what America produces for it's leaders? I say we should kick all the bums out and start all over again.

Posted by: LifeRunner | January 28, 2010 8:34 AM | Report abuse

Wait...did you listen to the speech, Gerson??? Laughable.

Posted by: anna-lisa25 | January 27, 2010 11:56 PM |

Yeah, he did. But apparently you didn't.

Posted by: adm454 | January 28, 2010 8:38 AM | Report abuse

mikem1 wrote "Amazing. An hour after the SOTU Gerson has this editorial all written.

Do you guys ever think about things first? Or maybe it's easier just to have the template written and throw in the bits that support your argument.""

Het Mikem1, Did you know that the Press is given ADVANCE copies of the speech?? just so they can have their comments ready??
Think before you post!!
FYI, Mark Shields even knew the number of pages that BO had in his speech before he mentioned Obamacare; when Shields gave his commentary on PBS IMMEDIATELY after the speech.

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Posted by: styrutdhfgjytieuyrgdef | January 28, 2010 9:10 AM | Report abuse

People blaming Obama for so much of this is also laughable. His speech was great, because it did what the American public should be doing, blaming Congress! The President has been working on all these issues, and Congress has been the one slowing everything down, putting in earmarks, deferring to the insurers and banks.

Can we not for once recognize where the real problem lies? It's not Democratic or Republican. It's a failure of leadership from both parties in Congress. I just hope those people are willing to step up to the challenge and do something because its right and make legislation that works, instead of just hating on everybody and everything and letting America stagnate.

Posted by: adelisi | January 28, 2010 9:15 AM | Report abuse

This "reaction" was predetermined. Yawn.

Posted by: trident420 | January 28, 2010 9:17 AM | Report abuse

Job creation and health care are closely related. With health care cost in the US too high jobs have moved to other countries, e.g., Canada, Mexico and China. Universal care won't necessarily bring more jobs but health cost control will do the trick better. Obama is surrounded by economists who don't understand trade, health care, etc. To understand the effect of income on change in savings and the factors to increase income see

Posted by: ckewu | January 28, 2010 9:27 AM | Report abuse

One thing for sure, gerson is consistent. Week after week this faux journalist proves himself a m0r0n and an idiot.

Posted by: calif-joe | January 28, 2010 9:34 AM | Report abuse

Yonkers, New York
28 January 2010

I am not at all surprised that conservative columnist Michael Gerson, who once upon a time was a speechwriter for George W, is pretty much already sounding the political requiem for Barack Obama and his Democrtic administration.

In this critique of his, he omits mention of the fact that the housing meltdown which led to the financial crisis which in turn has morphed into The Great Recession of 2008 took all of eight years to fully develop under George W his boss's watch.

Of course Mr. Gerson doesn't want to be reminded, pointedly, that President Obama and the Democrats are now trying desperately to fix the horrendous financial and economic mess that George W. left behind.

He probably is secretly congratulating George W. for creating that huge mess which will surely not be susceptible to quick, easy and inexpensive fixes, and hoping that President Obama will surely fail, and fail miserably, so that Republicans can regain political power again in 2012.

Mariano Patalinjug

Posted by: MPatalinjug | January 28, 2010 9:53 AM | Report abuse

Michael "Worm Boy" Gerson's reality problem:

83% of speech watchers approve of the proposals the president made in his speech tonight. 17% Disapprove.

70% of speech watchers think Barack Obama shares the same priorities for the country as they do. 57% thought so before the speech.

Why does Fred Hiatt print Gerson's BS? Doesn't the Post have enough failed conservative hacks writing lies?

Posted by: losthorizon10 | January 28, 2010 9:55 AM | Report abuse

My favorite part was when the GOP refused to clap for tax cuts. They are against anything he is for, even when it is one of their favorite things. Like cutting Medicare, which they have been trying to do for 30 years. Now that he wants too as well, they are steadfastly against it

Posted by: maurban | January 28, 2010 10:02 AM | Report abuse

Is it me or is Gearson happy, almost giddy, that people are out of work?

Posted by: maurban | January 28, 2010 10:04 AM | Report abuse

Oh, Michael, you obviously forgot to either take off your right-wing glasses that cause everything Obama says/does to appear too far to the left, or turn off your hearing aide that supports your cognitive dissonance problem by filtering out anything of substance...or, by your definition, anything with which you don't agree. I had my own problems with the speech, but you obviously saw a different one. I guess that's what yo get for watching it on Fake News Channel. With each new red meat piece you write, you increasingly retreat into one-note irrelevancy and move further away from being a different kind of conservative pundit. You don't wear petulant and petty very well, so I suggest something else.

Posted by: lloydamy | January 28, 2010 10:10 AM | Report abuse

Okay. He still doesn't get it. And neither does the left. So, we'll see you in Nov. 2010 and 2012... for the last time.

Posted by: waterfrontproperty | January 28, 2010 10:11 AM | Report abuse

Former, mr. flightsuit speechwriter gerson slides ever further into obscurity with this pack of partisan lies that was likely written before 9:00 pm last night. This boy has his own, personal "axis of evil"--his mouth and his two hands.

Posted by: binkynh | January 28, 2010 10:52 AM | Report abuse

Was it Gerson the speechwriter that told Dubya to just keep saying "the fundamentals of the economy are strong" all through the recession of 2007-08? Talk about losing your grip on reality...

Posted by: diebrucke | January 28, 2010 10:52 AM | Report abuse

Shorter headline should read:

"Gerson's War Crimes Problem."

Another failed GOP neo-con hack mouthing lies for the Washin gton Post. No news here, move along.

Posted by: respondus | January 28, 2010 10:53 AM | Report abuse

"Democrats are trying to do too much" is a pathetic response for a national Party that ignored or caused the problems our Country is struggling with.

It only reinforces the idea that the Republicans are old (40% over 65, 89% are white, 65% are Evangelical) and you cannot find a more useless, non-representative group in America.

What Policy do the Republicans support...? The Policy of we don't care if we wreck the place as long as we can make the President fail.

The only bright side is that they represent a seriously shrinking demographic and it doesn't look as if they're willing to change that...

America knows who caused the debt, deficits, and Wars, and being upset with Democrats does not translate into support for Republicans, they are still & will remain at 20%...

Posted by: russcarter1 | January 28, 2010 10:54 AM | Report abuse

Says OTHER people are divorced from reality.
My ironometer just assploded.

Posted by: irae | January 28, 2010 10:57 AM | Report abuse

Obama continues to imitate Hugo Chavez. He blamed everyone else for the problems he has created, promised to punish the "rich" (the banks and anyone making "too much"), and used lies and deception as he did during the Presidential campaign to try to gain support.

What is worse, Obama belittled the Supreme Court. He already controls the Executive branch and largely controls the Legislative branch. Is he planning to take over the Judicial branch as well? That's what Hugo Chavez and the rest of the Marxist thugs who are destroying Latin America have done: take over the three branches of power through lies, deception, manipulation and coercion... and do as they please with the country and the people. That’s how Hugo Chavez has destroyed Venezuela and the Venezuelan economy and is enslaving the Venezuelan people.

Posted by: AntonioSosa | January 28, 2010 11:23 AM | Report abuse

Increasingly our narcissistic president reminds me of Alfred E. Newman- "What? Me worry?"

Posted by: mhr614 | January 28, 2010 11:27 AM | Report abuse

MPatalinjug, you may continue blaming Bush and repeating the ridiculous propaganda of the left.

Informed Americans, however, understand that, in spite of nefarious fiscal policies initiated and advocated mostly by Democrats like Carter, we were doing OK until the Democrats gained control of Congress and pushed for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to go even further in promoting subprime mortgage loans, which are at the heart of today’s financial crisis.

Informed Americans understand that if the left demonizes and vilifies someone, that someone most likely deserves respect and admiration.

Informed Americans understand that every action taken by Obama has further harmed us, and his Obamacare and cap and trade SCAMS would be the nails on the coffin of the U.S. economy.

Informed Americans understand that socialism/Marxism destroys countries, economies and people.

Posted by: AntonioSosa | January 28, 2010 11:36 AM | Report abuse

Congressional Budget Office said Bush'd tax cuts caused $1 trillion of our deficit. $1.3T cut only brought back $300B of increased revenues from economic activity....thus finally proving that tax cuts do not pay for themselves. our grandchildren pay for them, with interest...

Posted by: maurban | January 28, 2010 11:37 AM | Report abuse

Wrong, maurban! It's not tax cuts but socialist measures that cause deficits! Tax cuts increase revenues because they allow companies to expand and to hire more people, and thus generate more revenues.

In spite of nefarious fiscal policies initiated and advocated mostly by Democrats like Carter, we were doing OK until the Democrats gained control of Congress and pushed for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to go even further in promoting subprime mortgage loans, which began our financial crisis.

It's socialist/Marxist SCAMS like Obamacare and cap and trade that will steal money from our children and grandchildren to fund the destruction our our health care, our economy, our freedoms and our country.

Posted by: AntonioSosa | January 28, 2010 11:47 AM | Report abuse

I think we should pay attention to Mr. Gerson's assertion that Pres. Obama is in denial of reality. After all having worked for Pres. Bush he's an expert on denying reality. He's had a first hand up close view of massive denial of reality and helped create it. I would assume he knows whence he speaks.

Posted by: kchses1 | January 28, 2010 11:48 AM | Report abuse

"Obama has a reality problem" ?? Really?? Not any where near the PROBLEM that the Republitard Brain-Dead Party has! Why do Republicans HATE America?

Posted by: srankin1 | January 28, 2010 12:01 PM | Report abuse

I see the RNC talking point that all was fine until Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac wrecked the economy is alive and well. It's simplistic and easy to grasp. Only problem is it's only half a truth. Fannie and Freddie were a conduit and enabler for sub prime loans. They effectively allowed badly underwritten or fraudluant loans to circulate within the financial system through collateralization of the loans. Intermixing them with good loans it became impossible to tell good from bad and effectively introducing a poisen into the credit system.

However, Fannie and Freddie didn't create the conditions under which sub prime loans could originate and flourish. Nor did they create the massive usage of derivitives and leverage which magnified the problem to where it could wreck the worlds credit markets.

The conditions of injecting massive liquidity into the financial markets was a product of Bush administration and the fed reserve. The massive usage of leverage and derivitives was a product of raw greed and recklessness on the part of the banking securities industry.

Posted by: kchses1 | January 28, 2010 12:05 PM | Report abuse

"Barack Obama has lost his promise. He has lost his momentum. He has lost his touch. He has lost his filibuster-proof Senate majority. He has lost his first year in office.

Tonight, he lost his grip on reality..."

Wow. Before you continue with your rant, Mr. Gerson, I respectfully suggest that you wipe the foam away from your mouth first.

I don't usually direct my response to the person making the argument rather than the argument itself, but in the case of this opinion "piece", which bears more resemblance to a paid political attack ad than serious journalism, I think I'll make an exception.

There's an oddly schizophrenic quality to Mr. Gerson's articles, especially during this past year, that makes it difficult to discern his true thoughts. About half of the pieces he writes (usually but not always on Wednesdays) come across as constructive, reasonable, and moderate. The other half, however (typically on Fridays) revert to Mr. Gerson's better-known form, conveying the half-baked ideological rantings of a fire-bomb-throwing partisan hack.

Which version of Mr. Gerson will appear in his next piece? Who knows for sure? However, I note that tommorrow night -- this Friday -- the moon will be in full phase, so I'd strongly urge all readers of the Washington Post to avoid tommorrow's edition if at all possible, or at the very least keep ready plenty of garlics, crosses, wooden stakes, and vials of holy water.

Posted by: Gladiator2008 | January 28, 2010 12:10 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Gerson is right about Obama being in denial of reality. Obama continues trying to force his Orwellian "reality" (LIES and DECEPTION) on the American people.

The only ones who continue to swallow his lies are those who have been brainwashed (dumbed down) by a substandard and politicized education and a complicit media, as per the warnings of Soviet defector Yuri Bezmenov.

In 1985, Bezmenov warned us that our enemies were working hard at brainwashing us and would succeed if we did not defend our principles:

The dumbed down are obviously unable to understand that Obama's scams, including Obamacare and cap and trade, have as their main objective “the American descent into Marxism,” which “is happening with breath taking speed, against the back drop of a passive, hapless sheeple…”

Fortunately, as we can see now, most Americans have waken up and wised up! Most Americans are NOT sheeple! Most Americans are ready to defend their FREEDOM and the freedom of their children and grandchildren from the abomination of Obama's scams, which lead only to socialism/Marxism and the slavery, poverty, corruption and despair that socialism/Marxism entails

Posted by: AntonioSosa | January 28, 2010 12:11 PM | Report abuse

Strong on Defense, continued Bush's program to bail out Wall Street, tax cuts for 95%, tax cuts and incentives for small businesses to hire, nuclear power, clean coal, offshore drilling, 3 year freeze on non-Defense spending, pay as you go, no capital gains tax for small business. OMG, Obama's a Conservative.

More stimulus, increases taxes on incomes over $250k, health care, incentives for college students to pay off debt, tax the big banks, fund local banks to give small business loans, cap and trade, clean energy, healthcare. OMG, Obama's a Liberal.

67 minutes were bi-partisan. Yes, Obama's a Moderate.

Only spent 2 minutes chiding the Republicans for fighting 2 unfunded wars and unfunded tax cuts which doubled the National debt in 8 years. The Republicans sunk in their chairs, squirming like embarrassed school boys caught looking up the girls dresses. I thought some might die of shame.

Obama's final words - Stop the partisan bickering. Both parties are responsible to do their job and fix America. Yes, Obama is more statesman than politician.

Time for all to put America first and their petty politics second. Time for the Party of Debt Doesn't Matter to take responsibility for their actions and get to work with the Democrats to fix America. Time for all Conservatives to demand the Party of No join Obama in a bi-partisan fix of America. Alternatively it is time for all true Conservatives, as in debt does matter, to abandon the Republicans.

Posted by: chucky-el | January 28, 2010 12:12 PM | Report abuse

Wrong, kchses1! Bush and Republicans tried to stop Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac from wrecking the economy. The Democrats demonized and vilified Bush and Republicans and push for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to go even further, creating the crisis.

Obama’s friends -- ACORN, Fanny Mae and Freddie Mac -- were the greatest culprits for our housing problems. It almost seems they INTENTIONALLY created the housing crisis. Republicans tried to prevent the crisis.

Here’s a video of Democrats refusing to help Republicans prevent the crisis:

Here's the video for everyone to see:

Posted by: AntonioSosa | January 28, 2010 12:18 PM | Report abuse

Thank you, chucky-el, for reminding us that Republicans that can proudly proclaim that they are the "Party of NO," the Party that has said NO to the manipulation and BRIBES used to force us to swallow the Obamacare scam.

Republican Senators are not perfect, but they have had the courage to said NO:

NO to Marxist scams like Obamacare and cap and trade
NO to higher deficits that are destroying the future of our children and grandchildren
NO to government takeovers
NO to siding with terrorists and helping them at the expense of American people
NO to having the corrupt United Nations deciding what the U.S. should and should not do
NO to Saul Alinsky's culture of lies, manipulation, intimidation, coercion, bribery, fraud, corruption and death
NO to trampling on the U.S. Constitution
NO to imitating the strategies of the Marxist thugs who are destroying Latin America
NO to all of Obama's scams that are destroying America
YES to REAL reform to improve health care
YES to fiscal and personal responsibility
YES to governments of laws rather than of men
YES to defending Americans from terrorists and other U.S. enemies
YES to respecting the U.S. Constitution
YES to energy independence
YES to freedom, including freedom OF religion (not FROM religion)
YES to patriotism
YES to prosperity

Posted by: AntonioSosa | January 28, 2010 12:25 PM | Report abuse

Gerson, who has a reality problem? Talk it over with Kristol.

Posted by: jckdoors | January 28, 2010 12:48 PM | Report abuse

If Obama has lost touch with reality then he has probably moved into the "Gerson Zone". Now THERE'S a guy who is out of touch with reality. He's also short on logic, sensibility or empathy. What speech was Gerson watching last night?

Posted by: rockyjs | January 28, 2010 12:58 PM | Report abuse

fr scott56:

>...At least one person is talking like an adult-- and I am damned glad I voted for him.

He can keep looking for civility and common sense -- and the more the insane right keeps slapping him in the face, the wiser and more rational he looks.

For the first time in a long time, I am really proud of my president and the national policies he is seeking to advance.<

DITTO. He's a breath of fresh air after eight long years of DUMBYA and deadeye dickie's outright corruption.

Posted by: Alex511 | January 28, 2010 1:09 PM | Report abuse

I find it telling that the vast majority of Obama supporters in this thread are criticizing Mr. Gerson personally, while those who object to the president's policies are criticizing...the policies and their results.

As ever, ad hominem attacks only suggest that the message (in this case, Mr. Gerson's critique) has touched on the truth.

More democratic revolts like the one in Massachusetts are on their way. Thank goodness for the founders' wisdom: We the people are the nation's only real hope now.

Posted by: solidstate | January 28, 2010 1:11 PM | Report abuse

And the response of the realistic Republicans to all this is: cut taxes even more for the rich, attack Iran, deny global warming, present Texas as model of health care reform (It has 25% of its population uninsured.), and fulminate about gay marriage and the war on Christmas.

Posted by: sjpatejak | January 28, 2010 1:19 PM | Report abuse

One thing Obama had no problem with was nailing the Supreme Court. It is you fascist fellow-travelers who don't understand our Roman Catholic Supreme Court. They sold us out to global corporations and they expect us to roll over and lick their...................hands.

George W. left us that legacy. What will they do next?

Unlike others, I am happy you get paid to write your opinion (whatever I think of it). Someone needs a bit of purchasing power in the United States. I'll even help with your next piece: "Franco: America's Forgotten Founding Father."

Posted by: rusty3 | January 28, 2010 1:19 PM | Report abuse

Michael Gerson - RESIGN.


We need to double our exports - and start shipping combat-avoiding cretins like Gerson and his fellow Socialist Republic Party of No comrades overseas.

I'd recommend their homelands of Russia and China.

No returns.

Posted by: WillSeattle | January 28, 2010 1:31 PM | Report abuse

Please Democrats - continue to blindly follow the arrogant empty suit and his equally arrogant senate and house leaders. The total collapse of his socialist agenda cannot collapse quickly enough without your blind support.

Posted by: mtumbadjibouti | January 28, 2010 1:35 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Gerson, with all due respect to the wanna be high school speech and debate coach perspective you so often share with us, may I suggest that Obama's "Commerce Secretary" dullness was a calculated attempt to turn DOWN the heat and help folks recognize that their games in Congress may get them air time on Hannity and Olbermann, but are coming at the expense of the needs of real human beings?

I don't know if it will do any good. Looking at the sea of old, male, white faces staring stonily back at him as he "corrected" some of their garbage talking points or invited them to bring actual solutions to his office, I got the clear picture of a group of old, male, white politicians who recognize their destructive approach is working for them just fine.

To hell with the American people.

Posted by: abqcleve | January 28, 2010 1:35 PM | Report abuse

Today's Republican's live in their own reality, which isn't real. Fox News is to journalism what the WWF is to sports. It is entertainment not adult discourse. Over the long hall only those pathetic, stunted, conservative cultists will be able to stay within the Republican Party; kind of like forty year old trekies who still live with their parents. Not only is their no intelectual growth, there is no intelligence at all. Even supposed Republican intelectuals like Gierson are starting to resemble holocaust deniers. Obama gave a good speech. He achieved everything that his speech could have achieved. Converting Geirson, et al, to Liberalism is not possible. But demonstrating reasonable behavior while promoting Obama's agenda was more than possible and now is part of reality. Continuing to be unreasonable while accusing Obama of the same will not fly with the voting majority much longer. It is a long time from now to November, Rebublicans should remember that the camera's show their rear ends as well as their faces.

Posted by: dzippere | January 28, 2010 1:36 PM | Report abuse

Thank you, Mr. Gerson, for having the guts to publish a piece like this in a paper that is slavishly dedicated to propping up our President. The strong reaction by his supporters - all ad hominem attacks - reflect the paucity of any argument for the things advanced in his speech.

Kudos to SARileyMan and some other posters who use cogent arguments instead of emotion to demonstrate why this current President deserves only one term.

I am watching CNN coverage today, and only slightly amused at the talking points du jour: "He's back!" "Agenda back on track!" .. and other peppy nonsense.

The People will speak again in November. I can't wait.


Posted by: Skiritae | January 28, 2010 1:36 PM | Report abuse

First rational analysis of the "State of the Obama" speech I've read yet today. With the gratuitous and expected fawning over how great and eloquent Obama is now quickly fading along with his similarly gratuitous and expected "approval bump," the more sober and realistic reviews are pouring in....

Posted by: Greenwaver | January 28, 2010 1:51 PM | Report abuse

AntonioSosa, I am aware of the republican attempts to increase oversight at Fannie Mae. One can only speculate if that would have changed anything. It certianly should have been tried and probably could only have helped. Nor does it effect my point. That the economic melt down was not the sole province of Fannie and Freddie. Though they aided it greatly as a conduit they did not create the financial liquidity necessary for a housing market bubble nor did they magnify the damage to the point where it threatened the global financial credit system. That is my point. Your claim is a half truth. It's that simple.

Posted by: kchses1 | January 28, 2010 2:02 PM | Report abuse

I find this hard to say but I agree with Mr. Gerson. This guy needs to be jettisoned. That will become clear in November. Maybe before if the polling is as bad as I expect.

Posted by: jhadv | January 28, 2010 2:15 PM | Report abuse

The President was a community organizer working with ACCORN and Chicago projects. So, the kind of people he was used to were "dependent" people who look to government for direction and solutions to their problems.

The rest of the nation, however, has a strong individualist streak and is generally quite successful. President Obama is not a worthy leader of American. However, for ACCORN and housing projects, he fits right in.

Posted by: RealTexan1 | January 28, 2010 2:27 PM | Report abuse

one assume gerson did not listen to the speech given his writings. President Obama gave the most pitch perfect SOTU in living memory, and gerson, true to his role as partisan hack, drudges up some foul smelling river sludge as tries to pass t off as wisdom. republicons should just get out goldwater speeches from 1964 and read them. Or wilkie speeches from the 1930s. They aren't saying anything differetn than they did then.

Posted by: John1263 | January 28, 2010 2:35 PM | Report abuse

Reality check-"We ain't giving up"!!! We ain't quitting. What happens when we have our own Haiti? So, GOP can wag their tail but, Haiti hit the wealthy, the poor, and the in between.

Healthcare had no parameters-they all needed it. Insurance? So where were the agents? Where were the policies? Where were the agents? Dead and dead. Free care for everybody. So wake the hell up.

Thank you CNN; Doctors, Nurses and the people-the people. Did you hear this GOP "jack"

Posted by: Scar1 | January 28, 2010 3:36 PM | Report abuse

Obama claims the deficit was $~1.5Tril when "he got there". He was elected to the senate in 2006 along with the Dems taking over congress. The last Rep budget had about 160B deficit . Spending , I believe originates in congress and is signed or vetoed by the president. The Dem budget which Bush signed and Obama voted for were sent to Bush by Dems. Also the TARP was voted on with the idea that half of the 750Bil was to be spent by Bush and half by Obama. So his $1.5Tril deficit figure must at least account for that + the fact that the whole thing was a Dem concocted budget in the first place think he would remember ...he voted for it.

Please correct me if I am wrong. I am just going from memory. But he acts like the Dems and especially Obama himself had just landed on the planet and had nothing what so ever to do with current deficits. This guy is terrible.

It is also forgotten that a Dem controlled senate brought the Iraq war vote to the floor and a majority of Dems voted for it can anyone but morons vote for these guys?

Posted by: rfpzzzzz | January 28, 2010 4:04 PM | Report abuse

Gerson is right. Obama has a reality problem. In addition, Obama was un-Presidential, insulting, condescending, rude, bullying, and lying.

Yes, it's clear that Obama is a lame duck with a serious personality disorder. He is clearly unfit for his job and clearly incompetent.

Posted by: ecartr5 | January 28, 2010 4:11 PM | Report abuse

"President Obama gave the most pitch perfect SOTU in living memory"

Like all Obama voters/supporters, that only means that you were born yesterday. The guy is a pathological liar/egomaniac. Grow up will ya?

Posted by: lagrangeee | January 28, 2010 4:12 PM | Report abuse

I love watching liberals fall for the exact same promises Obama made a year and a half ago. How did those work out for you?

You psychophants are an easily led group.

Posted by: robtr | January 28, 2010 4:22 PM | Report abuse

Correction, Jimmy Carter was the worst President in history! However, move over Carter, there's a new contender for the title! Obama is a complete disaster for this country and the world! Only a brainwashed libreral idiot would think Bush was the worst President!

CrusaderPatriot dot com

Posted by: CrusaderPatriot | January 28, 2010 4:26 PM | Report abuse

come folks, relax. you have to admit: this dude is the funniest president we've ever had. i mean shakespearian tragic doofus 3 stooges whacky. he is creeping up on jimmy carter in that regard, as well as very close to surpassing carter in the worst president of the last 100 years competion. come on barry! you can do! and you have 3 more years. its kinda like comparing ruths 60 in less games to maris' 61 in a lenghtened season. ah well. remember that episode of the "old" SNL, might have been '79, where jimmy gets to 3 mile island and tries to clean it up, and grows to 60 feet tall....and he meets the cleaning lady (morris)....too funny. obama, the 20 inch president.....

Posted by: fred1962 | January 28, 2010 4:26 PM | Report abuse

BO's speech was appalling. A litany of lies and partisan attacks. His assault on the constitution when he called out the Supreme Court justices for reversing 100 years of law (another lie) was truly a totalitarian moment.

Posted by: roberth | January 28, 2010 4:31 PM | Report abuse

Gerson is right on this one. It is proved by the fact of you loonies criticizing him without any basis in fact.

Clearly, Obama is way out of his depth and is drowning in his own stupidity and ego.

Bush may not have been perfect, but as far as intellect goes, Bush is Einstein compared to this bonehead

Posted by: gagalbert | January 28, 2010 4:39 PM | Report abuse

Talk about a reality problem. No one has had a bigger reality problem over the last ten years than the Republicans. From the idea of Empire to the idea that a lapel pin makes you a patriot, to the idea of the Rapture and the idea that our bombs are so precise that they only kill "bad people" the Republicans have run the gamut of delusional ideas. And many many times the same Republicans were fully aware that the things they were selling were falsehoods. And the Republicans and the bankers particularly Wall Street have no idea of what reality is to a large segment of the public. These people think the main responsibility of the government should be to keep them happy so that all these bankers will be nice to all the rest of us. The bankers got the money to stay in business while they were all personally enriching themselves. But we are not suppose to bash them because it might hurt their feelings and if everyone is not nice to them they will show us who is boss and particularly they will not loan money to their biggest clients and customers as well, the huge international corporations. You believe that? You think they wouldn't kiss the a## of their biggest companies to make sure they got their share of the business? That's what I hear if we bash the bankers and hurt their little feelings. So they got our money, they got their business, and now they want everyone to wipe their a## as well. I don't think so.

Posted by: repudar711 | January 28, 2010 4:47 PM | Report abuse

"Obama has a reality problem."

WOW... this from the guy that coined the phrase "axis of evil". A "reality problem" of global proportions!!

I ask again... can't the Post do better than this??

Posted by: CardFan | January 28, 2010 4:51 PM | Report abuse

There once was a judge
named Alito
Whose head shake much
damaged his mojo.
This judicial breach,
The lawyers all teach
Is defined as a decorum no-no.

Posted by: m_richert | January 28, 2010 5:09 PM | Report abuse

Just a quick word on a previous post; we have not won the Iraq war - we have set up a temporary cessation of the worst violence, but the Iraqi's have come to no political conciliation (which was the reason for the surge TACTICS), and without that there will be a spike in violence as soon as we are all the way out of that country.

President Obama has lost quite a bit of credibility with me, but I still have hope for him (if not for the other democrats).

The conservative movement as espoused by this person, though, is essentially brain dead.

At least they are honest, though - they want to disassemble government, they don't care about poor/lower middle class people or civil liberties, and they don't care if you can't get health coverage or if you are post illness denied the coverage that you thought you had.

What a bright future you envision for America, Mr. Gerson. With leadership like yours our society will collapse even sooner than under the Democrats, and then we can get on with actual, meaningful reform. Ahh, if only McCain had won, that day would be much sooner!

Posted by: arumph01 | January 28, 2010 5:13 PM | Report abuse

It's becomming very appearent just who Barack Obama is.
So far in his short time in office Obama has either insulted, demeaned, blamed or arrogantly attacked:

Rural Americans for their religious faith and belief in the 2nd amendment;

The Caimbridge Police department for "acting stupidly";

"Fat cat bankers" who are inharently greedy;

Unethical Doctors who perform surguries for profit only;

The coal industry which must be destroyed buy inflating energy costs;

The Supreme Court because he has a disagreement with them;

The Health Insurance industry becasue they dare to charge for their service;

Everyone who voted twice for George W. Bush because all of America's problems are their fault;

The United States Military for supposedly killing innocent civilians;

The entire United States of America by going overseas and putting our country down;

I could go on if I felt like taking more time. But if you want to know who Barack Obama is, all you have to do is look at that list and see who is missing from it and that would be all of his radical, anti-American associates from Rev Wright to William Ayers and to the Muslim terrorist Hassan who Obama never personally attacked and in fact initially tried to soften outrage against him.

Barack Obama is Rev Wright. That's why he chose to spend over 20 years of his life listening to Wright's anti-American hate speech. Obama obviously doesn't like the America most of us have all grown up in, and through his own behavior has displayed contempt for us.

Posted by: OxyCon | January 28, 2010 5:14 PM | Report abuse

Truth or illusion, oxycon? You need to figure out which of your sacred cows are truth and which are illusions.

Posted by: repudar711 | January 28, 2010 5:32 PM | Report abuse

The President berates all who disagree with his views at virtually the same time that he advocates working together. He behaves like a child is so many ways - it's stunning. My children seem to possess greater wisdom. I can't believe we elected this man - an untrustworthy, egomaniacal, statist thug.

We must do all we can to mitigate the harm he will cause over the next 3 years.

The comments about how he will be re-elected are hilarious. I think he makes Carter look good.

Posted by: smilek1 | January 28, 2010 5:34 PM | Report abuse

smilek, maybe your statement should read we must do all we can to mitigate the harm all Presidents do, and the Congress, and the Supreme Court. And don't forget the bankers.

Posted by: repudar711 | January 28, 2010 5:43 PM | Report abuse


Incorrect. Bush proposed more regulations in 2005 and McCain offered more in 2007. Democrats in Congress defeated them on both occasions.

For your viewing pleasure:

Posted by: TXKafir | January 28, 2010 5:46 PM | Report abuse

Bush killed more people. Clinton got more oral sex. (that's about the same as killing a million people in case you are wondering why I mentioned it)

Posted by: repudar711 | January 28, 2010 5:48 PM | Report abuse

obama is a cornered injured animal. his angry outbursts are his last fearful gasps. This presidency is over. Sad, pathetic teabagger.

Posted by: ItsOver2 | January 28, 2010 5:52 PM | Report abuse

Angry outbursts are the worst.

Posted by: repudar711 | January 28, 2010 5:54 PM | Report abuse

I saw four angry outbursts flying back north the other day.

Posted by: repudar711 | January 28, 2010 5:57 PM | Report abuse

Following last night's State of the Union, the importance of

the upcoming mid-term elections looms even larger. Apparently, the President did NOT get

the message in Massachusetts, or from last summer's town halls, or from every reputable

poll and pollster: The American People do NOT want Obama-care. Even CNN, which

should be the most favorable pollster for the Democrats, reports that: "Only three in ten

Americans say they want Congress to pass [Health Care] legislation."

He [Obama] thinks the problem is the messenger and not the message: " I take my share of

the blame for not explaining it more clearly to the American people" Mr. President, despite your attempts at a 2,000 page

obfuscation, we got it.

We also get your vow to push ahead with this Government health care takeover and the

stubborn, extreme Congressional minority led by corrupt tax cheat Charlie Rangel who

wants to do away with the 60 vote requirement in the Senate. Be warned, Congress and

constituents alike will not suffer any legislative machinations to thwart the overwhelming

will of the people.

I, along with an estimated 2,000 other Tea Party folks, from outside of Massachusetts,

helped the now Senator-elect Scott Brown surge to an incredible, come-from-way-behind

victory. This same grass roots angst will re-establish the true center-right will of the people

come next November and will be felt in every Congressional district throughout the country.

No [Democratic] seat is safe. So, the more that this administration ignores the will of We

the People, the more they isolate their own party's moderates, the Republicans, the grass

roots and largely independent majority.

We will be heard!

JeffreyMW, President
Morristown Tea Party Org.

Posted by: jeffreymw | January 28, 2010 6:20 PM | Report abuse

Many other folks have articulated the finer points of Obama's failings. But let us dissect Gerson's observations;

1) Health Care - Again, after Obama was done insulting various groups he provided no concrete solutions. The health care debacle and it was so, was nothing more than a seizure of 1/6th of the nation's GDP and reallocation to special interest groups (any clue on Obama's perspective?). The Democrats have failed miserably at addressing the issues, namely cost control and access for the uninsured. To address the former we need free market solutions and regulations including opening up the insurance market (think car insurance), tort reform, electronic databases to reduce duplication of tests, etc. None of this was included in the health care payoff.

2) The Deficit - the spending freeze is a hoax. First, it doesn't go into effect until next year, affects a miniscule portion of the budget (less than 1%), and it's being instituted after a "land rush" increase in the overall budget by nearly 20%. Americans don't want a spending freeze, we want a dismantling and streamlining of the federal government. Even Clinton recognized this.

3) Middle Class Relief- these aloof, effete, ideologues care little about the middle class. Instead, they pay it lip service as they destroy the very economy which sustains a healthy middle class. Instead, they are morphing the economy into that of a banana republic with wealthy overseers (namely themselves) and a huge dependent underclass. What government needs to do is institute fair trade practices and cut taxes. Businesses create middle class jobs, not the government.

4) Jobs/Economy - see above.

"Promising to change the tone in Washington, he managed to be petty, backward looking, defiant and self-justifying". 100% right! Obama had the opportunity to be contrite, conciliatory, and admit the error of his ways. Had he done so, the American people, being the forgiving folks we are, would have returned our respect and confidence back to Obama. Instead, we were greeted with an angry and defiant ideologue who will go down in history as not only the first American president of mixed ancestry but the worst president in history.

Posted by: freepost | January 28, 2010 6:30 PM | Report abuse

Gerson, how did Bush keep the unemployment rate at 4% month after month after month after month. I never saw it do that before Bush took office. Was that like Saddam's nuclear weapon.

Posted by: repudar711 | January 28, 2010 6:34 PM | Report abuse

Never forget that Gerson used to write speeches for the Worst President In History, Goerge Bush, the man who lied us into a war, and whose people expressed scorn for "reality-based" thinking.


Two points:

1. Whoever wrote this was obviously not around when Carter was president.

2. We have a new worst president now.

Posted by: sombreropoint38 | January 28, 2010 6:36 PM | Report abuse

What planet do you live on? You do realize that the Democrats control BOTH Houses of Congress and the Presidency!? Until about a week ago they even had a filibuster proof majority. There is NO WAY they could obstruct anything. Also, the majority of government workers tend to vote Democrat not Republican.

Posted by: hb1234100 | January 28, 2010 6:36 PM | Report abuse

sombreropoint38, which wars did Carter start?

Posted by: repudar711 | January 28, 2010 6:40 PM | Report abuse

Gerson, so you think tax cuts are always a good idea even if the National Debt keeps increasing and increasing. Plug in 10% and see how that works, Gerson.

Posted by: repudar711 | January 28, 2010 6:45 PM | Report abuse

I agree with Mr. Gerson that President Obama has a reality problem. Mr. Obama still believes that Republicans are willing to work with him for the benefit of the American people, that they might set aside their never ending political gamesmanship, and that they will actually help the average working American with healthcare, job creation, and saving their homes..........Sorry President Obama, you do need a reality check, because they're not.

Posted by: logcabin1836 | January 28, 2010 7:19 PM | Report abuse

I would think that an enabler of war crimes would be a little contrite. My bad.

Posted by: chamberlain_s | January 28, 2010 7:30 PM | Report abuse

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