Obama sought to get out in front of the sequestration battle — the looming $1.2 trillion cuts, spread over a decade, that are set to begin March 1. He noted that Americans think that's a bad way to do business, but left unsaid that sequestration was his administration's idea.
We were pleased to see Oklahoma get a mention as a state noted for its early childhood education efforts. Less pleasing was the president's call to siphon money away from oil and gas producers and steer it toward technology aimed at reducing our dependence on fossil fuels. This sounds, as columnist Victor Davis Hanson wrote, like a way to tax “newfound private wealth in order to blow it on uneconomical sources of green energy projects.”
Obama kept a straight face in saying his administration would “keep cutting red tape and speed up new oil and gas permits.” Not so funny was the president's promise to use executive action, if necessary, “to reduce pollution ... and speed the transition to other forms of energy.” Yikes!
The president's call for a new approach to education, including a stronger focus on producing graduates to move into high-tech jobs, was intriguing. But raising the minimum wage to $9 per hour, as he proposed, would hurt businesses and lower-skilled workers.
The speech was well delivered. But making speeches is what Obama does best. It's the follow-through that counts. On that front, the president so far has provided only reason for pause, not praise. We're not optimistic that this will change.