My Favorite Scenes from the President’s State of the Union Address

Well, this tops the list! Two Sisters, Sr. Veit & Sr. Marguire from the Little Sisters of the Poor, who are enmeshed in a Supreme Court challenge of the Obama Administration’s HHS Mandate, were in the gallery to hear President Obama’s final State of the Union address.

The Sisters, who operate 30 nursing homes throughout the United States, are challenging the clause in the Affordable Care Act which requires group insurance plans to offer contraceptive coverage to their employees at no additional cost–even though that coverage is in direct violation of their religious beliefs. The Sisters were the guests of House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis).

Speaker Ryan was in good form when he introduced the President, and during most of the speech–although we all know that he disagreed with much of it. One newscaster noted this evening that Congressman Ryan considered Obama “not his enemy, but his adversary.” So through most of the message, Ryan’s manner was polite, his gaze steadfast.

SOTU - Paul Ryan 1

Finally, though, it got to be too much for him. When the President began ticking off his accomplishments, talking about how we are stronger economically than before his presidency began, I couldn’t help but notice that Mr. Speaker wasn’t buying it.

SOTU - Paul Ryan 2

And when the President spoke about the military, and how our nation was the strongest nation on the earth, I sensed that these guys weren’t buying it. Perhaps they were wondering why he never mentioned that even as he spoke, Iran was holding ten U.S. soldiers hostage.

SOTU - Military leaders

And when he spoke about religious freedom, and how we must not abandon the freedoms which are so important to us as a free people, do you think this person was buying it? Kim Davis, the Kentucky clerk who was jailed for refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, was the guest of Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH).

SOTU - Kim Davis

To be honest, I’m not sure that even Michelle Obama had a good time this evening. At least, judging from her unsmiling participation, it seemed she might have been a bit bored. She’s heard the Presidential grandstanding before at the breakfast table, maybe?

SOTU - Michelle Obama

Next to Mrs. Obama, by the way, there was an empty seat–intended to represent all the victims of gun violence (and hence, to show support for Obama’s campaign to enact stricter gun laws).

Somewhere else in that gallery there was another empty seat, this one courtesy of pro-life Congressman Steve King of Iowa. Rep. King wanted his seat to represent the 57 million babies who have been victimized by abortion since the passage of Roe v. Wade. Rep. King told LifeSiteNews:

“President Obama’s first official act, immediately upon his inauguration was to sign an executive order to accelerate abortions world-wide. The first tears we have seen him shed in seven years were for the victims of the tragic Sandy Hook School shooting. As far as we know, Obama has never shed a single tear for even one of the more than 9 million babies aborted under his watch. He is the most pro-abortion president ever.

“Now he has reserved an empty seat next to the First Lady to commemorate ‘the victims of gun violence who no longer have a voice’. The San Bernardino victims’ body temperatures had declined only from 98.6 to 93 degrees F when Obama twisted the ‘Allah Akbar’ screaming bloodlust into an anti-gun, anti-Second Amendment tirade. I am sickened by the acts of war twisted into ‘workplace violence’ and by a president who would veto the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, H.R. 3504 that would protect the lives, at least of those who survived the attempt on their lives, by abortionists.”

And then there was four-year-old Logan Barritt of Wisconsin, another guest of Paul Ryan. Logan wasn’t able to stay awake through the whole speech. Speaker Ryan’s website tells his story:

Logan’s grandfather gave him a handful of pocket change, which he was going to add to his piggy bank. If you or I were given a lump of change, we probably wouldn’t think twice of what we could do with it—if anything, maybe gripe about having to carry it around. Yet when Logan’s mother asked him this very question, Logan had much bigger plans.

“I want to give it to the soldiers,” said Logan, who was raised on the stories of his Uncle Craig, a veteran Marine. Their jobs didn’t seem very “fun,” Logan explained, and he wanted to change that.

Logan’s parents posted a call for donations on their Facebook pages. The result? Enough money to send 17 care packages to Americans serving overseas for Christmas, complete with Pez dispensers. Logan even thought to include pre-stamped postcards in the packages so he could hear back from these American heroes. 

SOTU - Logan Barritt

Before Americans had turned off their TV sets and turned down their sheets, Breitbart had already fact-checked the President’s address and issued their “Top 10 Lies in Obama’s State of the Union.”  Starting with the President’s imaginative claim that he’d “cut the deficit by three-quarters,” going on to point to the Affordable Care Act “filling gaps,” the economic crisis being caused by “recklessness on Wall Street,” protecting an “open internet” and more, you’ll want to see the full list.

The President quoted the Pope, noting that Pope Francis had stood in this very spot and addressed Congress during his U.S. visit in September. According to Obama, the pontiff talked about overcoming hate, getting beyond violence against religious institutions. He drew to mind incidents of mosque burning, as examples of hate against which all Americans must rail.

Obama contested statements made by his Republican challengers, citing seven statements from Trump, as well as contradicting statements from Ted Cruz.

He gloated about how we now have the freedom in every state to marry the person we love. In fact, his strong support for homosexual rights popped up again and again in the address.

In summary, President Obama clustered all his real and imagined accomplishments into four categories:

  1. How we give everybody an equal opportunity in this new economy;
  2. How do we make technology work for us and not against us, especially when solving urgent challenges like climate change;
  3. How do we keep the world safe without becoming the world’s policeman? and
  4. How can we make our politics reflect what’s best in us, and not what’s worst? (whatever that means)

As part of Category 1, the President made a few points about Education which earned a standing ovation from his Democratic friends:

  • He promised in the remaining months of his presidency to work toward the goal of providing “pre-K for all”–apparently believing that taking small children from their mothers to be raised by the State is the best way of building future generations; and
  • He promised to “make college affordable for every American.” One way he hoped to achieve that goal, dear Taxpayers, is to make two-year community college free for all.

After the speech, it was interesting to see big-name politicians clamoring to get the President’s autograph as he exited the hall.

Then minutes later, the Republican response was delivered by South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, who spoke from South Carolina. Haley’s immigrant parents, Ajit and Raj Randhawa, had faced ignorance, prejudice, and sometimes blatant hostility–but they taught their children that they should never think of themselves as victims. The Randhawas believed that if you work hard and stay true to yourself, you can overcome any obstacle. Nikki Haley has been a personal hero of mine, encouraging citizens of her state to work hard and help one another.

SOTU - Nikki Haley rebuttal


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By |2018-01-27T17:39:59+00:00January 13th, 2016|Politics & Culture|


  1. low car quotes in VA June 7, 2017 at 10:54 am - Reply

    Hi there,Nice review but you forgot to include localization as a criteria. English speaking people tend to forget that there are other languages out there… regardsmelkiades

  2. Barbara Hayes January 18, 2016 at 6:56 pm - Reply

    I find that people who reject the truth of Judeo-Christian values love their sins, can’t live without their sins, are obsessed with their sins,and worship their sins. The sins which arouse them to incessant argument are always sexual in nature and sexual sins are the fruit of idolatry. Abortion is their remedy for placing sexual pleasure above sexual wholeness (and holiness) and they will defend it obsessively. Homosexual behavior is a consequence of putting the creature above the Creator. See Romans 1:18-32.

    • Bill J. March 20, 2016 at 8:33 pm - Reply

      “Jesus spends little time trying to ferret out sinners or impose purity codes in any form. He just goes where the pain is. ” Richard Rohr

  3. Manny January 16, 2016 at 3:55 am - Reply

    Let’s all be grateful that this was Obama’s last SOTU. There isn’t a humble bone in his body.

  4. Marta January 14, 2016 at 4:55 pm - Reply

    In California, community college is tuition-free. But, students now pay “fees” to attend, because the taxes that initially funded those two years, along with k-12 education were deeply cut with Prop. 13 in 1978. That said, many community colleges were mainly funded by the cities or municipalities in which they were located. As taxes are reduced or redistributed, the students pay the difference. When I began my studies, as a part-time student, I paid a $12 per unit fee. By the time I graduated, four years later, I was paying $39 per unit. This, in a state that provides free Pre-k – 14 (pk-12 + 2 yrs community college) to its residents. I know that most people HATE the idea of providing a free education to anyone -especially those over age 18, but in an economy that required BA, MA, or even PhDs to even get in the door, how can we not afford to pay 2yrs of college through our taxes, instead of unemployment (through our taxes)?

  5. Michele January 13, 2016 at 10:54 pm - Reply

    Iran did not hold ten soldiers hostage. They found them in their waters, picked them up, ascertained they were really in trouble, and returned them. And they had promised to do so before the President made the speech.

    • Percy Gryce January 13, 2016 at 11:54 pm - Reply

      They were sailors not soldiers.

    • Rilie January 14, 2016 at 5:23 pm - Reply

      Is that REALLY what happened. If this is what happened, why did the Iranian Guard have the sailors genuflecting before them, and why did one sailor issue an apology? The fact is, no one knows for sure what happened and we probably never will. Sounds like you listened to a Vice President Biden sound bite. The one which he said no one issued an apology, which highlights how misinformed the V.P. is on the situation.

      • Pat January 15, 2016 at 9:59 pm - Reply

        In the sound bite that I heard, Mr. Biden was asked, “Should WE apologize to the Iranians?” And he replied, “No, there was no apology, nothing to apologize for. […] And there was no looking for any apology.” Perhaps what he was replying there was no official or formal apology from the United States government. According to the White House press secretary, a “formal apology” from “the United States” “certainly did not occur”. Likewise, a State Department spokesman said, “there was no official U.S. apology given to the Iranians. I think that’s been a little bit of a canard or whatever out there in the press this morning that there was the impression given that there was some kind of apology. Categorically, there was not.” Of the soldier who apologized on camera, that was “not an official U.S. government apology,” he said. Was this what Mr. Biden was saying? The Catholic Church teaches that “everyone should be careful to interpret insofar as possible his neighbor’s thoughts, words, and deeds in a favorable way.”

  6. Amanda January 13, 2016 at 10:34 pm - Reply

    Did somebody really just comment on the pre k and free college statements, and say nothing about Obama voting against keeping infants alive?? Really????????

    • Lisa January 15, 2016 at 7:15 am - Reply

      How and when did obama vote against keeping infants alive?

      • Kathy Schiffer January 15, 2016 at 1:09 pm - Reply

        Twice during his tenure in Chicago, in 2002 and 2003, Obama opposed the born alive infants’ protection act.

        And in September 2015, the Obama administration said the president will veto a bill that would protect babies born alive during abortion procedures because such a measure would have a “chilling effect,” reducing “access to care.” According to Breitbart, the Obama administration opposed H.R. 3504, the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors’ Protection Act, and H.R. 3134, the Defund Planned Parenthood Act of 2015, because the measures “would have the same consequence of limiting women’s health care choices.”

        • Pat January 15, 2016 at 7:58 pm - Reply

          Thank you for adding some clarification. Each of the bills listed in your post involved a complex of political, medical and legal issues, and is not reducible legally or morally to simply whether one is for or against keeping infants alive. And we should remember that the Church does not teach that we must always in every circumstance keep a person alive, even if the person is an infant. It is not always immoral to vote against keeping someone alive.

  7. David Naas January 13, 2016 at 9:41 pm - Reply

    Oh My!
    Someone is not happy a “So-called Christian” should write such a column?
    Two thoughts, or three.
    There is a large segment of the population which believes it is permissible, and desirable, to cause political contention, but which also believes any mention of faith or religion is OFF LIMITS! Why, I do not know, since it is faith, or metaphysics, which informs ethics, which informs politics (in an Aristotelian manner). If one can talk about the result, but not the cause…??? Missing logic, at the least.
    Second, having been somewhat radical in my youth, I absorbed Saul Alinsky’s two books, ‘Rules for Radicals’, and ‘Revile for Radicals’. One of Saul’s rules is to force the “Enemy” to live up to his own book of rules. Hence, much of the “You don’t act like a Christian” rhetoric from non-Christian activists.
    Lastly, and in succession with number two, just because somebody sets up a carefully crafted Straw Man and addresses IT is no cause for a Christian to react to the Straw-Man accusations. It is a good trick, and many fall for it, not leastwise the accuser, who believes a deadly hit has been scored with this tactic.
    But, of late, there is certainly a segment of political activists which believes shaming the enemy is a good thing. Because, having no foundation, other than a shifting sand of currently popular prejudice, THEY can be coerced into agreement with the Party Line by shaming. Since THEY can, obviously EVERYBODY can. (Except for those who can’t.)

  8. Pat January 13, 2016 at 9:06 pm - Reply

    The Catholic Church teaches that “everyone should be careful to interpret insofar as possible his neighbor’s thoughts, words, and deeds in a favorable way.”

    For example, the President said the words “providing pre-K for all”, but to me, that does not mean “apparently believing that taking small children from their mothers to be raised by the State is the best way of building future generations”. Instead, to me, it means making an affordable pre-K option available to all people who choose it. There’s no kidnapping by the State involved and it leaves the decision of what’s “best” to the parents, not the State.

    Likewise, the President didn’t say he wanted to “make two-year community college free for all,” but instead spoke of “providing two years of community college at no cost for every responsible student”. Clearly, “every responsible student” does not mean “all”. And “providing two years of community college at no cost” does not necessarily mean making everything at every two-year community college free, even for responsible students.

  9. Kathy Schiffer January 13, 2016 at 6:39 pm - Reply

    Oh my, Laura–Excuse me! It bothers you that I have written about POLITICS? And that my viewpoint is DIFFERENT from the President’s? I thought we were in America, where Freedom of Speech is our most cherished freedom.

    But please, tell me what I’ve said that isn’t true so that I can quickly correct it.

    • Lisa January 15, 2016 at 7:10 am - Reply

      Wow, what an ugly response to Laura. While you certainly have a right to your opinion, the above makes you look really immature. And frankly,. like today’s typical “christian.”

      • Jennifer January 19, 2016 at 2:36 pm - Reply

        Nothing wrong with being a little immature once in awhile. It’s not like she went all Jerry Springer on her. So don’t be a sugar bully. K?

  10. Laura Mancuso January 13, 2016 at 4:47 pm - Reply

    I am terribly disappointed, that a So Called Christian , could even begin to criticize like this. If you can’t say something NICE, , why say ANYTHING?

    • Steve January 13, 2016 at 7:40 pm - Reply

      Laura, what’s wrong with criticism? If we pretend everything is perfect, nothing will change. Criticism is an important aspect of Christian living, and even for non-Christians. If you think Christians can’t criticize, then you may want to check your Bible for the numerous times that Jesus criticized the Pharisees. Read Matthew chapter 23. It’s one long series of criticisms and accusations, where Jesus says “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!” 4 times over while listing the terrible things they do.

      Laura, we need not fear criticism. In fact, you may not have realized it but you employed criticism in your comment itself. You presented a case for why you felt Kathy was not being a good Christian. And that’s not a bad thing. I would say that your argument is incorrect, but your attempts to point out the flaws in what another is doing is not a bad thing. A better argument would be to make the case that perhaps Laura could have been a little more charitable in how she said things, or to try to argue whether she may have been wrong about some of her criticisms. That would be a more reasonable way to discuss. But to accuse her of being un-christian simply by criticizing does not hold water.

    • elcid January 13, 2016 at 9:38 pm - Reply

      I am terribly disappointed that a So called Christian could support a man like this, but then again your just a liberal who takes your politics over your faith.

    • Eric January 14, 2016 at 2:51 pm - Reply

      Look it up in the Bible, Laura. Even Jesus Christ criticized those who were in error and whose errors were hurting others. That’s a charitable thing, no?

      • Lisa January 15, 2016 at 7:14 am - Reply

        Eric, criticism is one thing, but most of the discussion is just snark! Well, it started with some valid criticism and became pretty childish pretty quickly. For example – how do any of us have any idea what Michelle Obama is thinking or feeling. Because Kathy hates the president… she’s projecting. And elcid, talk about politics over faith. casting dispersions on others over politics certainly isn’t very christian.

        • Jennifer January 19, 2016 at 2:40 pm - Reply

          This is all so immature to you, yet here you are allowing yourself to be offended. That’s wisdom, not. As for the snark, how about the smarmy responses you give. Stop being a sugar bully. You’re no more mature than the people you accuse of being immature.

    • TerryC January 15, 2016 at 5:06 pm - Reply

      The Catholic Church may indeed teach that “everyone should be careful to interpret insofar as possible his neighbor’s thoughts, words, and deeds in a favorable way,” but it does not require that we ignore all of the previous information that we have of another’s words and accompanied actions when we make the interpretation.
      For example when interpreting President Obama’s interpretation of the second amendment I am willing to give the president the benefit of the doubt and accept that he truly believes that the second amendment doesn’t say what two hundred years of jurisprudence and five hundred years of common law say it does. Rather than, for example, believing that he is not simply a bad constitutional lawyer but actually a tyrant who seeks to disarm the populous so that it will be at the mercy of an overreaching government.
      I give him the same benefit of the doubt when it comes to foreign policy and ISIS. I chose to believe he is merely incompetent rather than believing he is an anti-American ideologue who would rather see America become a second rate power.

      • Pat January 15, 2016 at 11:29 pm - Reply

        I find that what one sees in others is often a reflection of oneself.

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