So what IS the State of the Union these day?
In assessing that question, I think it might be useful to compare the world that Republicans warned us that Obama’s policies would create against the world as we now know it to be.
- Remember the fear that thousands of Americans were going to die of Ebola unless we barred entry to all passengers who had been in West Africa? Remember when massive Ebola outbreaks would overwhelm our public-health system and prove once and for all the incompetence of government? (Not one single person has died after contracting the disease in this country.)
- Remember when Mitt Romney was promising that thanks to his superior business acumen, the unemployment rate would be 6 percent by the end of his first term as president? (It is already down to 5.6 percent, two years before the Romney deadline. We also added more jobs in 2014 than in any year since 1994).
- Remember when Republicans were demanding that Obama take “forceful” yet unspecified actions to punish Vladimir Putin for meddling in Ukraine, warning that Obama’s efforts to organize economic sanctions would be useless? (Those sanctions have since helped to cripple the Russian economy, leaving the ruble devalued and Putin chastized).
- Remember when Republicans were predicting that if Obama were re-elected, his energy policies would drive the price of gasoline to almost $7 a gallon, or even $10 a gallon? (It’s now $2.05 a gallon)
- Remember when Obama was going to “eliminate freedom of speech for Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity”? (At last report, they were both still making full use of their right to make jacksasses of themselves).
- Remember when top Republican economists were warning that Obama’s effort “to radically re-engineer the market-based U.S. economy” was going to “kill the Dow”? (The Dow has almost tripled since March 6, 2009, when that op-ed was published).
- Remember when ObamaCare was going to wreck the economy? (11 million jobs created since it was signed into law). Or when it was going to sent insurance rates into a death spiral, doubling or even tripling the cost of health insurance (a 2 percent average rate increase for 2015)? Or when ObamaCare was collapsing so fast it would have to be abandoned within 90 days?
- Remember when Republicans insisted that Obama’s 2009 stimulus would be a disaster, pressing instead for tight-money policies more like those instituted in Great Britain, France and other European countries? (With its economy in tatters, Europe is now hoping it’s not too late for an Obama-style stimulus.)
Ah yes, I remember it well.