Liveblogging The State Of The Union Speech

by John Hawkins | January 25, 2011 9:03 pm

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.

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Liveblogging The State Of The Union

by John Hawkins | January 28, 2008 9:00 pm

Tonight at 9 PM EST, I am going to be liveblogging Bush’s State of the Union speech — which is more of a sacrifice than you might think given that I am going to skip the People of the Ethical Treatment of Animals State of Union.

Why would I want to see that? Well, here’s their description,

Tired of Bush? PETA’s second annual State of the Union Undress offers Americans a sexy, fun alternative to the President’s State of the Union speech this evening. Watch as a sultry PETA member uncovers the truth about animal abuse while she strips off all her clothes for an enthralled audience. As she says in her rousing speech: “If the citizens of this country are truly going to distance themselves from an outdated, oppressive mentality of cruelty and violence against animals, we will be required first to cast aside our prejudice … our blindness to injustice … our fear of change … and, occasionally, our underwear.”

And the girl? Very easy on the eyes,

Too bad she’s an animal rights nut. Still, in order to be thorough, for you, the RWN reader, I will probably check in here and there to see what she’s saying about animals or cars or gardening — whatever, doesn’t really matter.

9:03: Still waiting for this to get started.

9:05: Barbara and Jenna are in the gallery and still looking hot.

9:09: Getting started.

9:10: Starting off with lots of fluff.

9:11: George seems to have a little more pep than usual tonight.

9:12: A record 52 straight months of job growth. You don’t hear that on the evening news. Still…wait, what is Nancy doing with her lips there? Looks like she’s sucking on a lemon slice.

9:13: Make the tax cuts permanent. 100 million plus Americans. W. send in your checks or money orders if you want to pay more. Taxes are high enough.

9:15: I will veto any bill that raises taxes. Republican clapping, Democrats sitting their sullenly at the idea of not being able to raise taxes.

9:15: Bush will cut 100 wasteful prorams.

9:16: I asked you to voluntarily cut earmarks. You didn’t do it. So now, any bill that doesn’t cut earmarks in half, I veto. Republicans applaud. Democrats don’t. Bush, no more earmarks that aren’t voted on will go through.

He should stop here because he isn’t going to top this.

9:18: Reform Fannie May and Freddie Mac. Tax free bonds to help homeowners. Cut to Hillary halfway paying attention. Expand consumer choice, not government control of health care. Republicans love it, Democrats love government control. Awesome health care reform. Republicans applaud fighting junk medical lawsuits. Democrats are apparently fans of junk lawsuits because they don’t applaud.

9:20: Test scores going up. No Child Left Behind is a bipartisan achievement. Hahaah. They cut to Ted Kennedy. He’s not applauding the No Child Left Behind Act, which he helped write and pass.

9:21 Pell Grants for kids. $300 million.

9:22: Working to break down trade barriers. Excellent. Working to pass free trade agreements. We want agreements with Colombia, Panama, South Korea. I hope they pass. We’ll see. This will help get our products in front of 100 million new customers. Tepid applause from the Democrats for saying that American products are the best in the world.

9:24: Trade can cost jobs for Americans, too. We need to help these displaced workers find new skills and jobs.

9:27: Everybody applauds clean energy technology. Somebody really old, already asleep. Not sure who that was. We need more energy. Invest in this and that. Why are we helping India and China? International agreement on greenhouse gasses? Is that some…agreement will be effective only if every economy agrees and gives no one a free ride. Ok, nothing to it because China and India won’t do it. Hillary looks bored.

9:28: Congress should double spending on physical sciences. Everybody applauds that. New spending, after all.

9:28: We no longer need embryonic stem cells. Republicans applaud. Democrats are apparently unhappy we no longer need to destroy human life for science. No applause. Pass legislation that bans cloning and selling of human life.

9:30: Stop holding up my judges! Where have the Republicans in the Senate been on this? Mitch McConnell, I’m looking at you.

9:31: I ask you to permanently extend charitable choice. No discrimination against faith based charities.

9:31: Uh-oh! Canada, Mexico, and the US meet in New Orleans. The North American Union Fruit loops are going to freak out.

9:32: Congress hasn’t done anything about Social Security or Medicaid. Some other old guy asleep. Wasn’t sure who that was. Bush asks Congress to give him ideas if they don’t like his.

9:33: Immigration. We’re doing more worksite enforcement. No catch and release. We will have doubled border patrol agents. Bush wants lawful way for foreign workers to come here. We have that don’t we? We must find a sensible and humane way to deal with people who are here. Ehr…harass them until they leave? I don’t think that’s what he is going for.

9:35: Condi — still looking kind of foxy. Bush, lots of people have become free and it is inspiring. Terrorists are still around though. Grim reminders — terrorists oppose liberty, depise America, and want to subject millions to their violent rule. We will stay on the offense. We will deliver justice to our enemies. Even Democrats stand up for that.

9:37: It’s interesting that he lumped Palestine as one of the countries where terrorists are fighting against freedom since the government, on both sides, is comprised of terrorists. We’re sending more Marines to Afghanistan (cough cough because NATO isn’t up to it cough cough). Afghanistan is important.

9:39: The surge is working in Iraq. The Iraqi people realize something dramatic has happened. Our troops are doing a great job and everyone appreciates it. Applause line for the whole chamber.

9:42: 80k Iraqi citizens are fighting the terrorists. 100k new Iraqi troops from Government. Few realized we could have this much progress. Republicans applaud. Democrats are apparently unhappy about progress. No applause. We beating Al-Qaeda into the ground. Osama Bin Laden is complaining that Iraqis have turned on him. Some may deny that the surge is working, but Al-Qaeda knows it is. They’re on the run and we will defeat them. Even Democrats stand for that.

9:45: Our troops from the surge are starting to come home as they succeed. We will give troops all they need to protect our nation. I want Congress to meet their responsibilities by fully funding the troops.

9:46: Our enemies in Iraq have been hit hard, but they are not yet defeated. American troops are shifting from leading to partnering with Iraqis. 20k of our troops are coming home. No timeframe. Everyone applauds that. Any further drawdown will be based on conditions in Iraq and recommendations of our commanders. We have come this far, let’s not screw everything up by yanking people out too quickly.

9:48: The Iraqi government is slowly but surely doing the right thing. It’s vitally important we succeed in Iraq. It would be a disaster if we failed. When the momentum favored Al-Qaeda, they said they wouldn’t rest until they attacked us in Washington. We won’t rest either until they’ve been defeated.

9:51: The Palestinians have elected a President who wants peace? Really? When did that happen? This afternoon? A peace agreement for a Democratic state for the Palestinians this year? That’s crazy talk.

9:52: Iran’s rulers are bad people. They support terrorists and are causing problems for us in Iraq and are enriching uranium. We like the people or Iran. Leaders of Iran, come clean about the nukes, cease support for terror, and we will confront those who threaten our troops and defend our interests in the Persian Gulf. Sounds hollow. What have we done to confront the Iranians helping the insurgents attack our troops so far?

9:53: There was a plot to fly a plane into the tallest building in Los Angeles and blow up planes. We stopped it. Our ability to track terrorists will be disrupted if you don’t act by Friday. Republicans cheer ensuring our security. Democrats don’t clap.

9:56: We oppose genocide in Sudan. We lead the fight against global poverty.

9:57: We provide half of the world’s food aid. When was the last time you heard that brought up? We have treated more than a million with our Aids relief. Double our initial committment to fighting AIDS to 30 billion? Good grief. That’s way, way, way, way, way, too much. Sounds like legacy building to me.

9:59: We have increased funding for veterans 95%. Improve the system of care for our wounded warriors that Shalala and Bob Dole recommended. Lots of applause. Sounds good.

10:00: More childcare, transfer unused education benefits to spouses and children, sounds good. That we can support. Everyone should military families. Absolutely.

10:01: “We the people…” Beacon of hope for millions. Trust the American people and the state of our union will remain strong. Confidence in freedom’s power. Let’s do the people’s business.

Summary: Bush did a better job than he usually does. The earmark stuff was fantastic. Keep supporting the surge — good. The Aids relief and forcing a Palestinian peace agreement — not so good. All in all, not perfect, but a pretty good state of the union and if he sticks to his guns on earmarks, it’ll be a big deal.

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