Obama Addresses ISIS, The Future, Trumpism

January 13, 2016 by  

Obama Addresses ISIS, The Future, Trumpism, President Obama used his final State of the Union address to consider himself as an ex-president – talking in conversational, contemplative and backward-looking terms at the country he would leave behind, and warning not-very-subtly that the country shouldn’t pick Donald Trump to take his place.

“As frustration [with politics] grows, there will be voices urging us to fall back into tribes, to scapegoat fellow citizens who don’t look like us, or pray like us, or vote like we do, or share the same background,” Obama said, one of several moments when he seemed to be referencing Trump’s suspicious attitude toward immigrants and Muslims. “We can’t afford to go down that path. It won’t deliver the economy we want, or the security we want, but most of all, it contradicts everything that makes us the envy of the world.”

Obama’s speech came with more than a year – a full one-eighth of his term – still remaining in the White House. But he seemed to be already thinking of what the place would look like without him, and trying to balance confidence in his achievements (” Ask Osama bin Laden,” he said at one point, touting his anti-terror credentials) with acknowledgements that many Americans didn’t feel as good about the Obama era as he did.

“I believe in you,” Obama said, as he closed. “That’s why I stand here confident that the State of our Union is strong.”

Earlier in the speech, Obama said “one of the few regrets” of his presidency was that – after he ran on a message of unity and healing – American politics had become more divided and resentful on his watch.

“It’s one of the few regrets of my presidency?-?that the rancor and suspicion between the parties has gotten worse instead of better,” Obama said, according to an advance text of his speech. “There’s no doubt a president with the gifts of Lincoln or Roosevelt might have better bridged the divide, and I guarantee I’ll keep trying to be better so long as I hold this office.”

In the same speech, Obama used his moment of national attention to rebuke at least two of the Republicans running to replace him – though never by name.

He seemed to be talking about Sen. Ted Cruz (Tex.), who had called for carpet-bombing the Islamic State in Syria, when Obama said: “Our answer needs to be more than tough talk or calls to carpet bomb civilians. That may work as a TV sound bite, but it doesn’t pass muster on the world stage.”

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