Great Moments In Presidential Trolling, Or Here Comes SOTU


Official Washington is a-flutter over tonight’s State of Union address by President Barack Obama, Lightbringer, Font of Wisdom, He Who Stands Bestride The World.

By now we’re fairly familiar with Obama’s rhetorical tropes and freshman-year ideological framing, but tonight might just be special. Tonight is his chance to burn through all that political capital he’s accumulated after receiving 4986 electoral votes and 104% of the popular vote. Tonight is his chance to let the mask down and push even beyond the stark liberal partisanship of his Inaugural address.

After five long years of this guy, you shouldn’t be surprised to hear an America described as some kind of bizarre dystopian wasteland before Barack Obama descended from the heavens, and one that will certainly transform into a cannibalistic hellscape if his policies aren’t followed to the very letter.

As usual, we’ll be reminded that the evil rich are fighting to hold onto the tax breaks that let them use their private jets fly to their ninth homes so they can bathe in the blood of orphans. We’ll hear about the Republican saboteurs and wreckers who continue to thwart the will of the proletariat masses, yearning only for a few more layers of entitlement comfort. We’ll hear how Obama’s team of visionary scientists and engineers is just moments away from providing each of us with an electric flying car for every American family, powered by sunshine and good intentions, if only that meddling House and their talking dog would stop interfering.

And of course, we’ll be reminded that Obamacare is the only thing stopping a veritable army of Republican operatives who want nothing more than to inject every American child with Ebola. Speaking of the chillllllldren, you’ll be treated to an endless recitation of how if we’ll just shred a wee bit more of that Constitution those dead white males saddled us with that we will never, ever have another gun crime.

The Summoning of the Strawmen is a skill in which Barack Obama truly excels, and tonight will no doubt be put to its usual State of the Union use.

Yes, dear readers, I am exaggerating for comic effect.

But in the past Obama SOTUs, he was constrained by the 2012 reelection. With that behind him, you can detect a kind of growing triumphalism and stubbornness. He is utterly confident that his policies and performance will never receive the kind of honest scrutiny that would hold him to account. Just the claim in the leaked talking points for the speech that his latest round of drunken-sailor spending “…won’t raise the deficit by a dime” would (in a media culture less supine than our own) provoke outright laughter.

Which is why he knows tonight is nothing more than an exercise in trolling. Barack Obama’s superpower is that every Republican response, idea and thought tonight will be decried as a obstructionism, wrapped in stupidity with a creamy nougat filling of racism. The SOTU reviews game is rigged, and he knows it.

He’ll get rave reviews from the press, he’ll have his base believing that every word will spring to life and then it will all fall down in a pile of externalities, Congressional pushback (hello, Democrats of 2014) and budget realities. So really, tonight isn’t about proposing something. It’s about his usual division and namecalling.

Barack Obama. Two term President. Constitutional law lecturer. Bestselling author.

But tonight, mostly, troll.

On with the show.

There are 9 comments.

  1. Inactive

    You forgot to mention that Chris Matthews will get a tingle.

    • #1
    • February 13, 2013 at 7:31 am
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  2. Contributor
    Rick Wilson Post author

    Goes without saying.

    TeeGee: You forgot to mention that Chris Matthews will get a tingle. · 23 minutes ago
    • #2
    • February 13, 2013 at 7:55 am
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  3. Inactive

    He’s like a Troll with the voice of Saruman.

    • #3
    • February 13, 2013 at 8:35 am
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  4. Inactive
    Yeah, most internet trolls show more enthusiasm for their task than Obama summoned. I thought Kirsten Powers had an interesting take this morning:“The president has only a few opportunities to speak to the nation, and he blew this one. It was so hackish, so devoid of any theme or purpose, that it makes one wonder whether part of Obama just wants to see how bad he can be before his cultists in the news media can see it. 

    After a whole career of mediocre effort being overpraised by guilty white liberals, maybe this is his limbo consolation: “how low can I go?”.

    • #4
    • February 13, 2013 at 8:43 am
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  5. Inactive

    Strange the relative silence on Mr. Dorner in Southern California. Perhaps there wasn’t time to shoehorn that into the magic unicorn narrative that the Febreze Presidency wafted in on this evening.

    • #5
    • February 13, 2013 at 8:57 am
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  6. Founder

    I love that: the “Summoning of the Straw Men.”

    This one seemed somehow lackluster and off the mark, though, didn’t it? Or am I wishfully thinking?

    • #6
    • February 13, 2013 at 9:03 am
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  7. Contributor
    Rick Wilson Post author

    I thought the front end was this tinker-toy construct of recycled bits. It had a kind of shallow laundry-list character to it. At the end, the theater and demagoguery was a big contrast to the junky pile of the rest of it.

    Rob Long: I love that: the “Summoning of the Straw Men.”

    This one seemed somehow lackluster and off the mark, though, didn’t it? Or am I wishfully thinking? · 19 minutes ago

    • #7
    • February 13, 2013 at 9:24 am
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  8. Inactive

    “Lackluster and off the mark”…contradictory and small…something for everyone to love and hate. Is it 2016 yet…I feel like I’ve fallen down the rabbit hole.

    • #8
    • February 13, 2013 at 9:49 am
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  9. Inactive

    “Yes, dear readers, I am exaggerating for comic effect.”

    But, unfortunately, you’re not exaggerating all that much.

    • #9
    • February 13, 2013 at 12:21 pm
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