Is President Obama trying to sabotage Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential run? That’s one take-away from his feisty State of the Union address, in which Mr. Obama did three things: first, he moved the Democratic agenda far to the left, where Hillary is not entirely comfortable; second, he rebuffed the clear preference of voters that he work with Congress, by making the cornerstone of his address proposals unacceptable to the GOP and third, he assured the country that our foreign policy (Hillary’s foreign policy) is working. 

Americans are not at all convinced, 13 days after the vicious attacks on Charlie Hedbo in Paris, that Obama’s “broader strategy” is leading to “a safer, more prosperous world.”  Obama says he believes in a “smarter kind of American leadership”; for many in the country, the assertion borders on arrogance.

Hillary is a successful, wealthy woman who pretends otherwise and stubs her toe on money issues, such as when she described herself and her husband as “dead broke” upon leaving the White House.

None of these messages works for Hillary.

Hillary is a successful, wealthy woman who pretends otherwise and stubs her toe on money issues, such as when she described herself and her husband as “dead broke” upon leaving the White House.

Mr. Obama’s focus on the middle class is unsurprising. Lagging income growth for the average American has emerged as the likely debate in 2016, for good reason. The numbers show that during the Obama recovery, the middle class has, as Joe Biden put it, been “left behind.”

The issue is valid; Mr. Obama’s progressive approach to helping average Americans – relying on more taxation and more government programs -- is not. 

Despite Americans listing job creation as their number one concern for the past six years, putting people to work has never been President Obama’s priority. He has not encouraged businesses to hire, either through reducing tax rates on employers or by expanding business opportunities – through trade, or reduced regulations, for instance.

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On the contrary, his economic prescriptions have raised costs for employers through the onerous provisions of Obamacare and his efforts to raise the minimum wage. 

As of this SOTU address, he has doubled down, since many of the suggested tax hikes will land on small companies that pay taxes as individuals, and as his proposed sick pay and maternity leave will raise the costs of hiring. Such policies have led to labor participation rates that are still bumping along historical lows, a crisis in our disability program, and stagnant wages. A short course in economics might help the White House: a tighter jobs market will raise wages. The government raising wages will put people out of work. It’s that simple.

Obama revisited his familiar theme of making sure all Americans have a “fair shot”; he wants to raise taxes to make sure the rich do “their fair share.” He has never laid out what that share should be, but he has tried hard to convince Americans that the wealthy don’t play “by the same set of rules.”  

It’s a tired song, and Americans have never bought the program. 

A recent Rasmussen poll showed that 60% of Americans think the country is “fair” and “decent.” They don’t believe that income distribution is the answer. They believe in growth, in optimism, in everyone getting ahead.

The tax proposals outlined by President Obama are old school, and dead on arrival in the Republican Congress, as he well knows. Congress has indicated an eagerness to work with the president on tax reform, but has prioritized changing the dysfunctional corporate tax code. 

The president understands that by placing individual tax hikes first in the queue, he has just undermined any chance for bipartisan agreement. And, by adopting the priorities of the left, which emphasize wealth redistribution and also embrace further exploiting the financial sector, he is drafting behind liberal icon Senator Elizabeth Warren.

This is a slap at Hillary, for two reasons. First, Hillary is unquestionably uncomfortable putting on a progressive cloak. 

In the fall campaigns she awkwardly mimicked Liz Warren’s rhetoric, embarrassing herself with the head-scratcher “Don’t let anyone tell you that it’s businesses and corporations that create jobs.” 

Hillary is a successful, wealthy woman who pretends otherwise and stubs her toe on money issues, such as when she described herself and her husband as “dead broke” upon leaving the White House. Also, Hillary has difficulty distancing herself from Wall Street; the Wall Street Journal has reported that she and her husband have raised nearly $5 million from Goldman Sachs alone.  

It’s also awkward for Mrs. Clinton that the president has burned relations with Republicans…again. In his speech, while talking about “A better politics” in which “we debate without demonizing each other,” the president also threatened to veto a number of GOP initiatives.  

Voters have shown they want the government to function – to repair our infrastructure, reform our dreadful tax code, to compete more effectively with our trading rivals, to streamline our outdated government agencies. 

For six years Mr. Obama has blamed the GOP for standing in the way of his programs; now he will be the obstructer-in-chief. From his State of the Union address, it is clear that he is not interested in partnering with Republicans. His aggressive executive actions over the past several weeks on preventing deportation of millions of undocumented immigrants and unilaterally overhauling our Cuba policy were the tip of the iceberg. Mr. Obama is not into compromise.  

Voters do not like the president’s “go it alone” program; they understand why the nation’s founders included those pesky checks and balances. Obama will make it more difficult for any Democrat trying to succeed him to convince voters that he or she will “work across the aisle” – a claim that Hillary might actually credibly make. 

Finally, Obama’s insufficient resolve against the threat of Islamic terrorism, and conviction that his efforts overseas are bearing fruit, are alarming.  Like Muggles fearful of naming the fearsome Voldemort, Obama seems to think if he just doesn’t say “Islamic terrorism” out loud, the menace will pass him by. 

His embarrassing absence in Paris, his waffle on Syria, his underestimation of ISIS – it all speaks to his pretense that we have won the War on Terror. 

That our president can be so misled and so misleading on a matter of such grave importance is horrifying. That Hillary Clinton was the enabler of his clueless foreign policy is a serious problem for the former first lady. And, for the country, should she be elected.

Liz Peek is a writer who contributes frequently to She is a financial columnist who also writes for The Fiscal Times. For more visit Follow her on Twitter@LizPeek.