Obama’s final SOTU oddly silent on … guns?

posted at 8:41 am on January 13, 2016 by Ed Morrissey

Barack Obama’s seventh* and final State of the Union address ended not with a bang, but mostly with yawns. The White House had promised an “non-traditional” speech that would mainly dispense with the laundry-list agenda in favor of a grand vision of Obama’s legacy. They also promised a focus on gun violence, complete with an empty seat in the gallery to represent all the victims of firearms homicides who could not make it to the speech.

The chair remained empty … as did, oddly, the focus on guns. The Hill’s Tim Devaney noticed it last night:

President Obama treaded lightly on the issue of gun control during his final State of the Union address, just one week after his teary-eyed announcement that he would circumvent Congress with a series of controversial executive orders.

The president raised the issue of gun violence only once during his hour-long speech, among a list of other policy goals.

 

“Treaded lightly”? I’ll say. Obama only mentioned guns once in the entire speech, and it wasn’t even a full sentence:

And I’ll keep pushing for progress on the work that still needs doing. Fixing a broken immigration system. Protecting our kids from gun violence. Equal pay for equal work, paid leave, raising the minimum wage. All these things still matter to hardworking families; they are still the right thing to do; and I will not let up until they get done.

That’s it — that was the only mention of guns in the entire speech. Obama made no mention of crime at all. He only made one mention of “murder,” and that was in reference to Pope Francis and his remarks to Congress about terrorism. In fact, Obama didn’t even point out the empty chair next to the First Lady.

Given that Obama has made this so much of an issue that just last week he partnered with CNN on a rare non-campaign town hall to focus just on the topic of gun control, it represents an amazing climb-down. After all, a SOTU offers presidents the opportunity to make pretty much any claim they want with no opportunity for timely rebuttals, so it’s practically designed for the kind of demagoguery Obama routinely deploys on this subject. Did that town hall, where several people defended gun rights and seeming put Obama on the defensive, convince Obama that his demagoguery simply isn’t working in this debate? Or did other Democrats make it clear that they aren’t interested in refighting the gun-control battle that seriously handicapped them in the late 1990s and early 2000s?

Like so much of what Obama does with gun control, he overpromised and underdelivered last night on guns.

And that’s pretty much the same overall, too. Obama promised to keep it more brief, but went about as long as his average SOTU. Rather than being “non-traditional,” his final SOTU had the same blend of laundry lists and self-promotion as his other addresses — and to be fair, of any other president’s SOTUs, too. In the last ten minutes or so of the speech, Obama appeared to lose Congress after the laundry list ran out and Obama focused on his legacy. The obsequious ovations petered out, and even his allies in the audience appeared to slump from weariness. Obama attempted to offer a rousing end to the speech by raising his voice to rally them back, but the applause was unremarkable and the reaction dulled. The magic, and Obama’s relevance to long-range politics, had long since dissipated.

* – His speech to a joint session of Congress in February 2009 was technically not a State of the Union address, as newly-inaugurated presidents are not required to give one until after a year has passed.


Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

President Trump is going to get carpal tunnel from all the XO’s he’s going to have to rescind.

fossten on January 13, 2016 at 8:45 AM

And I’ll keep pushing for progress on the work that still needs doing. Fixing a broken immigration system.

A falsehood repeated by the Haley in the GOP response. But hey, the parties aren’t really the same, right?

xblade on January 13, 2016 at 8:47 AM

And I’ll keep pushing for progress on the work that still needs doing. Fixing a broken immigration system. Protecting our kids from gun violence. Equal pay for equal work, paid leave, raising the minimum wage. All these things still matter to hardworking families; they are still the right thing to do; and I will not let up until they get done.

So basically he doesn’t really care about guns or gun violence and all of those fake Executive Actions were nothing but him demanding that all Democrat Candidates for President must follow the same anti-gun line or he won’t endorse them.

Once again, it’s all about him and his wishes.

Johnnyreb on January 13, 2016 at 8:47 AM

As in the guns our sailors in harms way weren’t allowed to use?

ConstantineXI on January 13, 2016 at 8:47 AM

From my perspective, Obama’s entire speech was silent…I was watching Netflix.

Rogue on January 13, 2016 at 8:48 AM

Good riddance, Obama. The worst President of my lifetime, and arguably, the worst President of all time.

Nineball on January 13, 2016 at 8:50 AM

And Hillary just aired an ad on gun control

Hmmmm

cmsinaz on January 13, 2016 at 8:50 AM

No need to mention this again. He has his blue state governors running with the ball now.

Mr. Arrogant on January 13, 2016 at 8:52 AM

Good riddance, Obama. The worst President of my lifetime, and arguably, the worst President of all time.
Nineball on January 13, 2016 at 8:50 AM

Jeb would be worse. Sadly.

ConstantineXI on January 13, 2016 at 8:52 AM

Like so much of what Obama does with gun control, he overpromised and underdelivered last night on guns.

A few too many words, Ed. And he lost Congress way before the last ten minutes. I almost felt embarrassed for him. But then I remembered the last seven years and relished it.

rbj on January 13, 2016 at 8:54 AM

President Trump is going to get carpal tunnel from all the XO’s he’s going to have to rescind.

fossten on January 13, 2016 at 8:45 AM

He’ll hire a legal Mexican to do it for him. :)

Rix on January 13, 2016 at 8:56 AM

When you’ve heard the same old talking points for 7 years, why would the dems get too excited about listening to him speechify one more time. Dear leader only gives speeches to agitate, or give marching orders to the faithful. We’ll see since he didn’t really talk about gun violence if things quiet down on the front lines.

Kissmygrits on January 13, 2016 at 8:57 AM

Just.
Go.
Away.

Joe Mama on January 13, 2016 at 8:58 AM

The race is over.
He has done all he can do to reach his goal and there is nothing more to say.
Now it’s just a matter of watching the tide wash the debris up on the shore.

thelastminstrel on January 13, 2016 at 9:00 AM

Once everyone equated Obama’s empty chair to Clint Eastwood’s empty chair (Obama), the president Emperor Teh One did not want to be mocked.

Fallon on January 13, 2016 at 9:06 AM

Why do people keep saying this is his last SOTU? He still has to give one next January, in person, or in writing. It’s required by the Constitution.

NotCoach on January 13, 2016 at 9:08 AM

His latest gun kerfuffle was a ploy to deflect from the beating he was taking over ISIS.

Younggod on January 13, 2016 at 9:08 AM

I didn’t watch that joker, but for those who did…was the empty chair there really just a buffer between Michelle and the “refugees”?

clement on January 13, 2016 at 9:08 AM

A falsehood repeated by the Haley in the GOP response. But hey, the parties aren’t really the same, right?

xblade on January 13, 2016 at 8:47 AM

“I’m very thankful Speaker Ryan and Senator McConnell let me give the speech I wanted to give.” When asked if the GOP leaders approved of her text in advance, (Haley) confirmed, “They did.”

Fallon on January 13, 2016 at 9:09 AM

Joe Biden is gonna cure cancer!

Galtian on January 13, 2016 at 9:10 AM

..as with the previous seven of these self-butt-smooching soirees, I was busy with other more pleasurable activities. Last night I had to clean out
an overflowing septic tank.

The War Planner on January 13, 2016 at 9:10 AM

“Protect our children from gun violence” = take away the guns.

It was there, just thinly veiled.

iurockhead on January 13, 2016 at 9:11 AM

Joe Biden is gonna cure cancer!

Galtian on January 13, 2016 at 9:10 AM

Sheriff Doctor Joe!

iurockhead on January 13, 2016 at 9:13 AM

…was the empty chair there really just a buffer between Michelle and the “refugees”?

clement on January 13, 2016 at 9:08 AM

Boom.

Fallon on January 13, 2016 at 9:13 AM

Hot Air is so out of touch! Don’t you know he solved the gun issue with his Town Hall meeting the other day? Geez-a-loo, no wonder you don’t appreciate Jug Ears presidency.

Herb on January 13, 2016 at 9:15 AM

Why do people keep saying this is his last SOTU? He still has to give one next January, in person, or in writing. It’s required by the Constitution.

NotCoach on January 13, 2016 at 9:08 AM

it falls to the next President.

dougmva on January 13, 2016 at 9:16 AM

..and, Captain, as for over-promising and under-delivering on guns, this is just not so. The Dickless Pharaoh has done more to deliver guns into the hands of the good, law-abiding citizens of this country than any othr POTUS in history.

The War Planner on January 13, 2016 at 9:16 AM

Why do people keep saying this is his last SOTU? He still has to give one next January, in person, or in writing. It’s required by the Constitution.

NotCoach on January 13, 2016 at 9:08 AM

it falls to the next President.

dougmva on January 13, 2016 at 9:16 AM

That doesn’t mean anything to his selfy.

wifarmboy on January 13, 2016 at 9:22 AM

As if the government hasn’t done enough already to make employees unemployable, a new laundry list of employer burdens to fulfill. 94 million have left the workforce – none of them government employees – and he wont be happy until it’s double that number.

supersport667 on January 13, 2016 at 9:23 AM

Good riddance, Obama. The worst President of my lifetime, and arguably, the worst President of all time.

Nineball on January 13, 2016 at 8:50 AM

No need to be circumspect – it’s an easy call.

crrr6 on January 13, 2016 at 9:26 AM

it falls to the next President.

dougmva on January 13, 2016 at 9:16 AM

The 2017 SOTU is on Obama, but based on some quick research there seems to be a tradition in which the outgoing president is relieved of doing so. Many still give one on there way out though.Truman, Eisenhower, Johnson, Ford, and Carter all chose to give one on their way out.

NotCoach on January 13, 2016 at 9:26 AM

Like so much of what Obama does with gun control, he overpromised and underdelivered last night on guns.

The delivery will come this year in the shape of executive overreach.

Alexis on January 13, 2016 at 9:27 AM

I didn’t watch that joker, but for those who did…was the empty chair there really just a buffer between Michelle and the “refugees”?

clement on January 13, 2016 at 9:08 AM

I didn’t watch it either, but figured an extra chair next to Michelle was to give her more square feet of posterior support.

Demonized on January 13, 2016 at 9:32 AM

Quack! Quack!

GarandFan on January 13, 2016 at 9:34 AM

A weeping hemmorhoid and utter disgrace.

Krupnikas on January 13, 2016 at 9:41 AM

Kind of OT: just wondering what my conservative friends thought of Nikki Haleys star turn last night

urban elitist on January 13, 2016 at 9:44 AM

Has Joe Biden cured cancer yet?

Galtian on January 13, 2016 at 9:48 AM

Fixing a broken immigration system.

The system is broken because you don’t enforce the law.

Protecting our kids from gun violence.

By lying about background checks? Or by refusing to address the root causes of many of these problems: inner city drug and gang activity?

Equal pay for equal work

We have equal pay for equal work. We do not have people working in the same fields. Again, real issues are hard, but platitudes are easy, and thus the prog political philosophy.

paid leave

Um… what? In what way is that a national priority?

raising the minimum wage.

Still on this hobby horse, huh? Just sign an EO making the minimum wage $25/hr – or better yet, $50 – and resolve the issue forever.

The Schaef on January 13, 2016 at 9:51 AM

If he ranted about “GUUUNNNNSSSS!!!!” he no doubt would have faced some pointed remarks about immigration this morning. As it was, he basically said “I’m bringing in tons of Muslims, so you white nativist racists can STFU”.

He wanted, and expected, a tongue-bath from the faithful minus the retaliatory fish-slap from everybody else.

He got a mild one, from Nikki Haley;

We would recognize the importance of the separation of powers and honor the Constitution in its entirety. And yes, that includes the Second and Tenth Amendments.

Of course, neither Haley, nor The One, expects the GOP to follow through on that. For that matter, I doubt most rank-and-file Republicans believe they will, either.

The One basically got what he wanted. To stand in front of America, and say

Everything is Super-Duper Happy Wonderful! I know this because the little voices in my head tell me so. And you are all too bigoted and stupid to see that I AM RIGHT ABOUT EVERRYYTHINNNGG!!!

He’ll be telling himself that for the rest of his days. And constantly reminding us of it, too.

In his mind, he’s too perfect for the rest of us to appreciate. Sort of like every other progressive you ever met, just louder.

If that’s even possible.

clear ether

eon

eon on January 13, 2016 at 10:01 AM

I still can’t get past this line-

No nation attacks us directly or our allies because they know that’s the path to ruin.

Said hours after Iran took hostage 10 sailors. Where’s that path to ruin?

Happy Nomad on January 13, 2016 at 10:01 AM

Truman, Eisenhower, Johnson, Ford, and Carter all chose to give one on their way out.

NotCoach on January 13, 2016 at 9:26 AM

A large chunk of that list doesn’t inspire confidence.

GWB on January 13, 2016 at 10:04 AM

Why do people keep saying this is his last SOTU? He still has to give one next January, in person, or in writing. It’s required by the Constitution.

NotCoach on January 13, 2016 at 9:08 AM

A couple problems with your comments.

First, as you say, the requirement is that the President shall report to Congress on the state of the union. Up until Woodrow Wilson, that took the form of a letter. To give a joint speech to Congress would require an invitation from the Speaker of the House and that isn’t going to happen.

The incoming President will have some latitude but will, I am sure, want to do the whole political pep rally thing. And Paul Ryan is not apt to say no to President Clinton (assuming the GOP is so goddamned stupid as to nominate Trump).

Happy Nomad on January 13, 2016 at 10:07 AM

Kind of OT: just wondering what my conservative friends thought of Nikki Haleys star turn last night

urban elitist on January 13, 2016 at 9:44 AM

The idea of you considering any non-progressive a “friend” is about as likely as The One doing so.

As to Haley’s speech, it was pre-approved by the GOP. So it’s most likely an attempt to tell the rank and file “we’re willing to change, all you have to do is support us and keep your mouths shut”.

Angelo Codevilla has a different take on that, re Cruz;

Writing in the once-renowned Commentary magazine, Max Boot raised consistency to the point of solipsism. Boot, (an official adviser to Rubio) chastised Cruz for being the very negation of Ronald Reagan. Why? Because, you see, whereas Reagan’s defining feature was to get along with everyone, especially his own party’s establishment,

“Ted Cruz’s entire political career has been founded on speaking ill of fellow Republicans. He has gone so far as to directly and repeatedly attack the Senate Republican leader, Mitch McConnell — a staunch conservative — accusing him of “lying” and of being a “very effective Democratic leader.” He has been equally vitriolic in his attacks on John Boehner.”

It escapes Boot that Reagan was a rebel against the Republican party from the beginning of his career in California, to his support for Barry Goldwater, through thirteen years of relentless campaigning against the Republican establishment, including two sitting Republican presidents. Boot’s charges against Cruz loom small next to those that the Republican establishment used to level against Reagan and his supporters. Is this blindness born of partisanship, or partisanship born of blindness?

In sum, establishment attacks on Ted Cruz have next to nothing to do with Ted Cruz, or with the coherence or verisimilitude of the words used. They are desperate attempts to tell the American people that the “ins” are entitled to be in, and that the “outs” should butt out.

I don’t expect the Capitol Party to change in any way whatsoever. Except perhaps to be more open about getting their inner Harry Dean Stanton on;

Bud: Look at those a$$holes, ordinary f**king people. I hate ’em.

Repo Man (1984)

clear ether

eon

eon on January 13, 2016 at 10:14 AM

Joe Biden is gonna cure cancer!

Galtian on January 13, 2016 at 9:10 AM

Too late.
Israel got there first.

Maybe the Lying Crybaby POS POTUS Stompy-Foot will throw another CNN sponsored tantrum.

ibid on January 13, 2016 at 10:18 AM

Maybe the President should have talked about some boppa da boopy Vatican stuff. That’d pique your interest! Throw in some Latin words and italicize them!

Kind of OT: just wondering what my conservative friends thought of Nikki Haleys star turn last night

urban elitist on January 13, 2016 at 9:44 AM

They hate her. This is why they advocate keeping or returning the US to a whites only, (80-90%), country.

She criticized the extremist rhetoric animating the corpse of the aging demographic that held sway in the later half of the 20th century. For that offense, she is now a Democrat.

antisense on January 13, 2016 at 10:34 AM

Used to like Nikki. Now, she’s just another flag burner.

vnvet on January 13, 2016 at 10:47 AM

I gave myself a treat and skipped the SOTU this year. I heard today, though, that he said our economy is doing awesomely awesome so let’s party!

MJBrutus on January 13, 2016 at 11:13 AM

Derp derpity derp. Derp derp DERP Derpity. Derp derp derp deeerrrp. Derp. Derp. Derp.

antisense on January 13, 2016 at 10:34 AM

HumpBot Salvation on January 13, 2016 at 11:52 AM

Watched Mad Max Fury Road last night, and as bad a movie as that was (unless you just like explosions, people/mutants getting killed, and weird desert apocalypse hot rod war machines with no real plot), it was still better than watching King Putt Stompy feet.

dentarthurdent on January 13, 2016 at 12:01 PM

I gave myself a treat and skipped the SOTU this year. I heard today, though, that he said our economy is doing awesomely awesome so let’s party!

MJBrutus on January 13, 2016 at 11:13 AM

If I win the Powerball jackpot tonight, I’ll bring the beer……

dentarthurdent on January 13, 2016 at 12:02 PM

Good riddance, Obama. The worst President of my lifetime, and arguably, the worst President of all time.

Nineball on January 13, 2016 at 8:50 AM

Ye gods, let us hope so!

ReggieA on January 13, 2016 at 12:24 PM

Watched Mad Max Fury Road last night, and as bad a movie as that was (unless you just like explosions, people/mutants getting killed, and weird desert apocalypse hot rod war machines with no real plot), it was still better than watching King Putt Stompy feet.

dentarthurdent on January 13, 2016 at 12:01 PM

“Downton Abbey” it ain’t, but you gotta admit that flame-throwing guitar was the sh-t!

CurtZHP on January 13, 2016 at 1:42 PM

Obama talked mostly about the core things that are most valued and important to him.

So he talked mostly about himself.

s1im on January 13, 2016 at 1:42 PM

“Downton Abbey” it ain’t, but you gotta admit that flame-throwing guitar was the sh-t!

CurtZHP on January 13, 2016 at 1:42 PM

I kinda liked the monster trucks and the porcupine attack cars as well….

But I do prefer more of a plot than – “we’re escaping from the psychos, darn the green place is gone, oh well let’s go back to the psychos”.

dentarthurdent on January 13, 2016 at 3:57 PM

Nice swastika designs on that upholstered empty chair there. LOL

Allahs vulva on January 13, 2016 at 4:36 PM

just wow.

isn’t about time to invoke Section 4 of the 25th Amendment?

Barky clearly shows pathologic levels of an inability to acknowledge reality.

and talk about UNequality and lack of diversity! what is this with him kissing only the women in the audience?

WaldoTJ on January 13, 2016 at 4:46 PM

what is this with him kissing only the women in the audience?
WaldoTJ on January 13, 2016 at 4:46 PM

Must be for show, and he does his man kissing in private…..

dentarthurdent on January 13, 2016 at 6:12 PM

Bump.

Still waiting on an answer to these questions. If CD won’t answer, maybe some other of our resident leftists would like to take a shot:

What evidence suggests to you that Obama can be trusted to deal with his opponents honestly?

What evidence suggests to you that Obama’s gun control proposals are “based in reality”?

What evidence suggests to you that the NRA’s position is not based in reality?

GrumpyOldFart on January 13, 2016 at 7:55 PM

Given the amount of time spent “on the golf course” I would have liked to know if he is now a better golfer and if he has any tips he can relay to those of us who don’t have so much leisure.

virgo on January 14, 2016 at 3:58 AM