Liveblogging The State Of The Union Speech
Yes, I will be liveblogging Obama’s State of the Union speech. So, grab some popcorn,
some a lot of vodka, turn on the TV and head over to RWN for the speech tonight at 9 PM EST.
9:03: I’ve read the speech. It’s more of a smaller, more cautious Clintonesque reach towards the center, than the big, liberal agenda he had in the first two years. Of course, he does still want to have it both ways. We want to spend more and cut spending. We want border security, but not yet.
9:06: The philosophy that will be presented tonight is that we need to spend even more, but at a slower pace.
9:07: Another question that came to mind for me as I read Obama’s speech was, “If all these things are SO IMPORTANT that we’ve got to do it, then why didn’t we do it as part of the trillion dollars stimulus the Democrats pushed?” Infrastructure spending is a perfect example. Keynesian stimulus traditionally calls for infrastructure spending — so how is it that any spending was left out of that bill if it’s really needed?
9:11: Nice to see Boehner introducing Obama rather than Pelosi.
9:13: Trying to milk that bipartisan spirit that he tapped into on the campaign after going so nasty the last two years.
9:14: Let’s give a standing O as both sides pretend to have some intention of working with the other side.
9:16: No one has less interest in rewarding “hard work and industry” than Barack Obama.
9:16: Scratch that. Marx and Lenin probably had less interest. Probably.
9:17: I love Obama trying to take credit for tax cuts.
9:17: A challenge decades in the making? You mean like the deficit — Obama doesn’t want to take that one on. Too tough.
9:20: Just a forewarning: The speech is really top heavy with fluff. We go a while before we start to get into the more meaningful stuff…
9:24: Translation: Massive spending increases planned, but it’s okay because we’ll call it an “investment.”
9:25: Nothing personal, but I don’t want my tax dollars going to help pay for “solar shingles.”
9:26: “They’re developing a way to turn sunlight and water into fuel for our cars.” Wait, are you telling me our tax dollars are going to help people fuel our cars with water and sunlight? How about no?
9:27: Here’s a better idea: How about we get rid of tax breaks to oil companies and apply it to the deficit?
9:28: Polite applause for this cockeyed crap, “So tonight, I challenge you to join me in setting a new goal: by 2035, 80% of America’s electricity will come from clean energy sources.” This is a catch-22. If it doesn’t work very well, but it’s clean, Democrats love it. If it works well, Democrats oppose it. So, it’s barring a technological miracle, it’s impossible.
9:30: Standing ovation for celebrating the winner of the science fair. So, will Obama be calling the winner of the Super Bowl or the winner of all of America’s science fairs?
9:30: Really, “Race to the Top” isn’t the most meaningful education reform in a generation. It’s a way to funnel money to teachers’ unions and reduce their accountability.
9:32: “100,000 new teachers in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math.” Education spending EXPLODED during the Bush years. Our schools are not underfunded at all; they’re just underperforming.
9:33: Now we get a standing O for saying nice things about teachers. Okay. Any odes to puppies and baby Pandas?
9:34: A $10,000 tax credit for college is a nice idea, but it’s also insanely expensive. Moreover, why should a plumber who never went to college have to see his tax dollars used to fund someone who’s going to college to get a degree in philosophy?
9:36: (There are hundreds of thousands of illegals here, getting an education with your tax dollars — and what makes you think they pledge allegiance to our flag? How about we don’t school them in the first place?) I strongly believe we should protect our borders — just not now. We need amnesty via the Dream Act now and then we’ll get around to enforcing the law and enforcing the borders.
9:38: We just spent a trillion dollars on a stimulus. If we need infrastructure spending, why wasn’t it done then?
9:39: Oh, more new spending. Such a surprise!
9:39: “Within 25 years, our goal is to give 80% of Americans access to high-speed rail” — This is INSANE. This country’s too big and spread out for that. Not only is it expensive, it’s stupid. And the line about the pat downs? The Obama’s administration’s goons molest people at the airports and he uses that as a selling point for more spending? Screw you, Obama. Really, screw you.
9:41: We need to lower our corporate tax rate, which Republicans have been calling for forever, while Democrats have blocked it. Okay, suits me.
9:43: “When we find rules that put an unnecessary burden on businesses, we will fix them.” Surrrrreeeee, you will.
9:45: ” I’m not willing to tell James Howard, a brain cancer patient from Texas, that his treatment might not be covered.” That’s what death panels are for; right, Obama?
9:46: It’s also driving Medicare costs up and causing businesses to plan to end their coverage.
9:47: “Now, the final step – a critical step – in winning the future is to make sure we aren’t buried under a mountain of debt.” Wait…didn’t he just suggest a lot of new ways to spend lots of money?
9:47: “Every day, families sacrifice to live within their means. They deserve a government that does the same.” It’s too bad they won’t get it.
9:48: “So tonight, I am proposing that starting this year, we freeze annual domestic spending for the next five years.” Wow, really tepid spending on that. No wonder. While it’s better than nothing, we’ve gone on a spending rampage over the last two years. Now we’re going to freeze a tiny part of it? Not impressive.
9:49: “And let’s make sure what we’re cutting is really excess weight.” Most of it is “excess weight.”
9:51: “This means further reducing health care costs, including programs like Medicare and Medicaid, which are the single biggest contributor to our long-term deficit.” “To put us on solid ground, we should also find a bipartisan solution to strengthen Social Security for future generations.” People like Obama say things like this. They say our spending is unsustainable. But when you want to actually do something, they have a screaming fit and accuse you of wanting to kill the old.
9:52: “And if we truly care about our deficit, we simply cannot afford a permanent extension of the tax cuts for the wealthiest 2% of Americans.” Wait, didn’t Obama just sign that?
9:52: Of course, it’s “punishing their success.” That’s just silly.
9:53: “We live and do business in the information age, but the last major reorganization of the government happened in the age of black and white TV. There are twelve different agencies that deal with exports. There are at least five different entities that deal with housing policy. Then there’s my favorite example: the Interior Department is in charge of salmon while they’re in fresh water, but the Commerce Department handles them in when they’re in saltwater. And I hear it gets even more complicated once they’re smoked.”
This actually tells you a whole lot about how well government works and how likely Obama, of all people, is likely to fix it.
9:55: “In the coming months, my administration will develop a proposal to merge, consolidate, and reorganize the federal government in a way that best serves the goal of a more competitive America.” Good luck with that. Will there be any Czars involved in that endeavor?
9:56: “If a bill comes to my desk with earmarks inside, I will veto it.” I like it, but not sure I believe it.
9:57: “Look to Iraq, where nearly 100,000 of our brave men and women have left with their heads held high” — That’s good, but it’s worth noting that it’s because of Bush and Cheney. If Obama and Biden had their way, they would have come home in shame and defeat.
10:00: “And we have sent a message from the Afghan border to the Arabian Peninsula to all parts of the globe: we will not relent, we will not waver, and we will defeat you.” I’m pretty sure no one who sees a bowing weakling like Obama in the White House actually believes that message.
10:02: ” We have reset our relationship with Russia…” — Putin has run circles around Obama.
10:03: Doesn’t Obama on South Sudan sound like Bush talking about Iraq?
10:05: “We should have no illusions about the work ahead of us. Reforming our schools; changing the way we use energy; reducing our deficit – none of this is easy” — That’s doubly true given that Obama plans to massively increase spending on the first two while giving lip service to the third issue and not really doing anything about it.
10:07: “Of course, some countries don’t have this problem. If the central government wants a railroad, they get a railroad – no matter how many homes are bulldozed. If they don’t want a bad story in the newspaper, it doesn’t get written. And yet, as contentious and frustrating and messy as our democracy can sometimes be, I know there isn’t a person here who would trade places with any other nation on Earth.”
Is Tom Friedman there? How about George Soros? I’m pretty sure they like that sort of government.
10:09: You can go use the bathroom at this point if you like; it’s all fluff from here.
10:09: Is Boehner tearing up? I hope not. I think less of men who cry publicly. You get a pass for a funeral, but otherwise, crying publicly is for women.
Speech Grade: Obama gets a C. Although there were no huge blunders that seemed to stick out at this early point, his delivery wasn’t great and he undercut himself a bit. On one hand, he talked about the deficit, but on the other hand, he suggested a considerable amount of new spending. He also stood up for amnesty and Obamacare, neither of which is popular. Overall though, Obama seemed to be taking a significantly less ambitious, more middle-of-the-road approach than he did in his first two years. In other words, this was the kickoff of the 2012 campaign for Obama.
PS: My personal lowlight of the night was learning that our tax dollars are going to help figure out how to fuel cars with water and sunshine. No word yet on whether we’re also funding experiments designed to figure out how to use hope and love as a potential fueling source.