- - Monday, January 11, 2016

By President Obama’s lights, he has saved the best for last. In a leaked peek at his final State of the Union address Tuesday night, he says that he wants to focus on “the big things” that will have importance “in the years to come.” Among these are his “successes” in handling of the economy, climate change and gun control.

The president frets over the legacy he will leave a year and 10 days from now, but measured by his job performance ratings after his seven years in office, his accomplishments, as gauged from inside the bubble where presidents live, they’re not so thrilling for the American people. There’s not enough pomp and circumstance available even to a president of the United States to change that.

In a video produced by the White House, Mr. Obama sits perched on the edge of his desk in the Oval Office, sleeves rolled up, and he opines: “That’s what makes America great — our capacity to change for the better, our ability to come together as one American family and pull ourselves closer to the America we believe in.” Where did you get this “we” stuff, kemo sabe?

Obamanomics has made a beggar of the American worker. The president pats himself on the back for the creation of 14 million jobs during the past 70 months, but can say nothing about the millions of jobs lost or never created with the economy left to the mercy of the anti-business Leviathan he set loose. The regulatory burden of his signature achievement, Obamacare, has encouraged businesses large and small to lay off or make part-timers of workers to avoid killer coverage mandates. At $53,657, the median annual household income for 2014 was 6.5 percent below its 2007 level, demonstrating that the average American family has slipped closer to poverty during the Obama years. Trimming the unemployment rate in half to 5 percent means little when 93 million workers have been set adrift from the labor force.

Mr. Obama frequently calls climate change the greatest threat to the nation’s future. Americans see their future differently, consistently listing the economy and terrorism as the most pressing dangers, with climate change least among their concerns and worries. Sun, wind and rain have posed perils through the ages, but the bullet and blade of radical Islamic terrorists are the threats close at hand.

The president has reserved an empty seat next to the first lady in the House gallery as a symbol of “the victims of gun violence who no longer have a voice.” Mr. Obama’s executive orders to further restrict the ownership of guns was enacted, he says, to prevent mass shootings like those in Connecticut, South Carolina and California, but those massacres were done with guns obtained with proper buyer background checks. Americans support “common-sense” gun laws, but the president’s executive orders, like his empty seat next to Michelle, are political optics that will accomplish not very much.

There’s a reason why most Americans have had enough of Barack Obama. The “big things” he wants to focus on in his final State of the Union address won’t make life better in the world where real folks live. That’s his legacy, and another speech won’t change any of it.

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