Obama attempts damage control with high-profile address

Coming off of what many have labeled the worst year of his already bruised administration, President Barack Obama has been on a public relations marathon over the past week, making desperate speeches to appeal to his dwindling fanbase. Making the same kinds of promises that he became famous for spewing on the campaign trail, many critics believe that this recent rhetoric will result in one of two scenarios: The president, per usual, isn't going to follow up on his lofty goals and these are only hollow promises, or he will take his assault on the Constitution even further over the next year.

The latest buzz-phrase from the man who brandished "Hope" on thousands of bumper stickers leading up to the 2008 election is "year of action." In a speech on Wednesday, January 15, in North Carolina, the beleaguered POTUS announced another bid to revive the nation's significantly diminished manufacturing sector, which had been doing poorly well before the dawn of the Great Recession.

"The pieces are there to restore some of the ground that the middle class has lost in recent decades, start raising wages for middle class families – but it requires us to take action. This has to be a year of action," Obama told the crowd. "Where I can act on my own without Congress, I'm going to do so and today I'm here to act."

Both of these statements raise a few red flags. For starters, he made similar statements about rebuilding the manufacturing industry in last year's State of the Union address, claiming he would work to create "manufacturing hubs" that would spur technological innovation nationwide. However, just as he failed to do the first time he promised these economic engines, he never outlined a clear plan on just how exactly these hubs would be developed, financed or sustained, which indicates that there will be little substance behind these big claims.

The second issue here is the fact that the president is aggressively announcing that he will be essentially reining in as much power as his office permits, maybe even stepping over his bounds in order to pursue his agenda. This indicates that his critics' worst fears may be on the horizon and that he will continue to take unconstitutional steps to abandon the restrictions of his office, lessen the power of the democratically elected Congress to make decisions on behalf of their constituents and continue his assault on capitalism. Instead of allowing the markets to flourish on their own, government intervention is likely going to continue putting the economy on taxpayer-backed life support that, in all likelihood, it won't be able to come off of.

The economy is only one of the many issues the president has chosen to finally address this week. There is still significant criticism over the recent healthcare debacle and its sloppy roll out and, perhaps most importantly, revelations about the National Security Agency (NSA) have painted the man who ran for office promising increased transparency in a particularly unsavory light. 

There is a lot to pick apart about the president's recent comments. For starters, many of the issues he is pledging to fix, especially the recent NSA scandal, are hardly new and likely needed addressing months ago. Not only that, but for a president to say in his fifth year in office that now he will finally start taking action, it leads one to believe that his first term and reelection bid were just a warm up for the POTUS, wasting the time of a struggling nation.

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