Westmoreland says State of Union is ‘divided’

U.S. Rep. Lynn Westmoreland in a file photo from 2011.

When it came to the Jan. 24 State of the Union address by President Barack Obama before a joint session of Congress there was little doubt about how Congressman Lynn Westmoreland viewed those remarks. Westmoreland in a series of statements released after the address said Obama showed a disconnect with reality and seems to thrive on chaos. As much as anything, Westmoreland maintained that the existing division in America is a result of Obama’s approach that polarizes the nation politically and economically.

“The state of our union is getting stronger. We’ve come too far to turn back now,” Obama said in the address. “Anyone who tells you that America is in decline or that our influence has waned, doesn’t know what they’re talking about.”

Westmoreland in a statement released after the address said the strength and spirit that has long-characterized America is juxtaposed with the impediments being forced on U.S. citizens and businesses.

“While I agree with him that the American spirit is one that can lift this country back to the prosperity we are capable of, we can’t do that with crushing debt, overly burdensome regulations and higher taxes on small businesses,” Westmoreland said. ”And while that’s the president’s agenda for 2012 the House passed legislation to address all of these issues that were stalled in the Senate last year. This administration's failed policies have driven our economy to the brink and his State of the Union only solidified his intent to continue down this same path.”

Centering some of his remarks on energy and jobs, Obama said, "Nowhere is the promise of innovation greater than in American-made energy. Over the last three years, we've opened millions of new acres for oil and gas exploration, and tonight, I'm directing my administration to open more than 75 percent of our potential offshore oil and gas resources. Right now, American oil production is the highest that it's been in eight years. That's right, eight years. Not only that, last year we relied less on foreign oil than in any of the past sixteen years."

Westmoreland in his response disagreed, calling Obama’s remarks a disconnect with reality.

“What struck me the most was the president’s complete disconnect with reality. He promised job creation and announced the need for an all-of-the-above energy plan, an idea instituted by Republicans back in 2008. Yet only two weeks ago he killed the Keystone Pipeline, a construction project that would have created tens of thousands of direct jobs and helped America decrease its reliance on oil from the Middle East,” Westmoreland said. 

Summing up the address, Westmoreland said it was essentially nothing new. Portions of the address, he said, were a prelude to Obama’s run for re-election.

“This was the same speech we’ve all heard before. Yes, the Campaigner-in-Chief unfortunately gave the speech that I was expecting: one full of rhetoric that painted the rosy view of our country rather than the actual state of our union,” said Westmoreland. ”Promises of comprehensive immigration reform, education reform, tax breaks for college tuition, job creation, tax breaks for American companies and energy independence, all promises the president has broken. The president’s speech was nothing more than a laundry list filled with lofty promises, but short on actual policy.”

Westmoreland also maintained that there is more at play across America. He said the Obama administration is fueling the political and economic polarization that continues to divide the country. 

“The true state of our union is one of divisiveness, brought on by the president’s continued insistence on pitting Republicans against Democrats, rich against poor, haves against have nots. This president seems to thrive on chaos and we all can remember what his former Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel said, ‘You never want a serious crisis to go to waste.’ Our country is facing serious challenges right now and leaders in Washington must put aside political rhetoric, roll up their sleeves, and come up with real solutions to help the American people. Unfortunately, we didn’t see that,” Westmoreland said.