Victory Lap Regrets Of President For ‘Change’

You might have expected a tub-thumping final State Of The Union, but he’s more than happy to leave the bragging to Donald Trump.

Eight years ago millions of Americans were captivated by Barack Obama’s message of hope and change. He’d struggle to deny that many of them simply don’t feel he’s delivered.

With that lack of support in mind you might have expected a tub-thumping final State Of The Union address – bulging with boasts about his achievements in office. But he’s clearly more than happy to leave the bragging to Donald Trump.

Warnings against Trumpism peppered his speech culminating in a direct attack: “When politicians insult Muslims…that’s not telling it like it is. It’s just wrong. It diminishes us in the eyes of the world.

“The world will look to us to help solve… problems and our answer needs to be more than tough talk or calls to carpet bomb,” he said, in a swipe at the other leading Republican Presidential hopeful, Ted Cruz.

He answered Republican claims that his feeble leadership has diminished America’s standing in the world: “The United States of America is the most powerful nation on Earth. Period. It’s not even close.”

He allowed himself a rare moment of public self-doubt, outlining how his time in office could have been improved: “It’s one of the few regrets of my presidency – that the rancour and suspicion between the parties has gotten worse instead of better,” he said.

Indeed, the scars of seven years of partisan scraps with Congressional Republicans were clear to see. This was a President wanting the last word. He chided America’s lawmakers for not passing legislation on IS, for focussing on re-election and fundraising and for too readily accepting a dysfunctional political system.

Arguably, the political stagnation in Washington which has dogged Obama’s years in office has created the bedrock for the anti-establishment Presidential campaigns of Cruz and Trump. You don’t have to accept politics as usual, is the motif of both of their campaigns. It’s a message that is resonating.

 And now the political establishment is rattled. South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley was chosen to give the official Republican response to Obama’s address. She used her speech to warn against the allure of the “siren call of the angriest voices”.

“Some people think you have to be the loudest voice in the room to make a difference,” she said, with a note of alarm in her voice.

Obama concluded his address saying that America needs to change how it does its politics.

It may already have done so – just not how he might have wanted.

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