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.


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