The Corner

A Sorry State

The end of tonight’s State of the Union address, with its moving and well-deserved tribute to the heroism of Army Ranger Cory Remsburg, and to others like him who have given so much to our country, was well worth the wait. But it was sure a long wait.

In a sense, this speech gave voice to the managerial view of government that is the natural end point of every progressive dream. More “hubs for high-tech manufacturing.” More taxes that can be turned around as benefits for people who behave as those in charge would like. 

More, but not much more. The fact is, the president and his agenda seemed exhausted in this speech. It’s not easy to remember any particular proposal or idea — except maybe another retirement savings vehicle, which might be fine, but the Treasury will probably have to work pretty hard to make it seem different than those that have long been available. 

For me, the defining moment of the speech was this pronouncement:   

So tonight, I’ve asked Vice President Biden to lead an across-the-board reform of America’s training programs to make sure they have one mission: train Americans with the skills employers need, and match them to good jobs that need to be filled right now.

An across-the-board reform to make sure training programs train, and Vice President Biden is in charge of it. That pretty much sums up the Obama administration, and the American Left, at this moment in time. That is what exhaustion looks like. 

Yuval Levin is the director of social, cultural, and constitutional studies at the American Enterprise Institute and the editor of National Affairs.

Most Popular

Politics & Policy

Hillary Ruins the Plan

Editor’s note: Andrew C. McCarthy’s new book is Ball of Collusion: The Plot to Rig an Election and Destroy a Presidency. This is the first in a series of excerpts.  There really was a collusion plot. It really did target our election system. It absolutely sought to usurp our capacity for ... Read More
Religion

Another Pop-Culture Christian Loses His Faith

It’s happened again. For the second time in three weeks, a prominent (at least in Evangelical circles) Christian has renounced his faith. In July, it was Josh Harris, a pastor and author of the mega-best-selling purity-culture book I Kissed Dating Goodbye. This month, it’s Hillsong United songwriter and ... Read More
Culture

Max Boot’s Dishonesty

Before yesterday, my primary criticism of the Washington Post’s Max Boot was political in nature. As I wrote in a recent book review, I found it regrettable that Boot’s opposition to the president had not prevented him from “succumbing reactively to Trump’s cult of personality, or from making Trump the ... Read More
Elections

A Brief History of Election Meddling

Editor’s note: Andrew C. McCarthy’s new book is Ball of Collusion: The Plot to Rig an Election and Destroy a Presidency. This is the second in a series of excerpts. ‘The 1980s are now calling to ask for their foreign policy back.” Thus spoke President Barack Obama just a couple of weeks before ... Read More
World

The End of Hong Kong as We Know It

The protests in Hong Kong have been going on for more than four months now, and no matter how the current crisis concludes in the coming days or weeks, it will mark the end of Hong Kong as we know it. The protests started in response to an extradition bill that was proposed by the city’s Beijing-backed ... Read More