Here are some initial thoughts on The President's first (technically) State of the Union address itself. Besides being long, it is hard for me to stomach more than a sound bite's worth of air time from the current President, it was a well delivered, prepared (well what did you expect) address to the Congress, and the nation, if somewhat naive. It was good to see that TOTUS is doing well, and helping out "The Big Guy." Honestly I do not blame any President, even this one, for using a teleprompter for this sort of speech, though with this President, it is of course ubiquitous and cliche..
I clocked the speech at approximately sixty-eight minutes, but the YouTube above has it listed as sixty-three minutes ten seconds. Since that video is more accurate than my mere approximation, and being C-Span, it had a time stamp on the screen that says the speech started five minutes later than I thought it did. This is likely far more accurate than my mere estimation. Having said that, I counted that Congress stopped to applaud seventy-three times. While this is more dignified than the "You Lie" debacle, which I am still torn on, and definitely better than the Democrats booing of President Bush, I think it is a bit much. Do we really need an applause stop, on average, every fifty point five seconds? Really? It was fun to watch them all jump up and down in unison, especially the Democrats, like the heat underneath their seats was suddenly turned up to high. Additionally, The President used the term, "Win the Future," the speech's theme, eight times for an average of once every seven minutes fifty-three seconds.
I do have one more gripe. The President was ready to give his speech, and the inconsiderate crowd would not shut-up and stop their applause. He asked them to have a seat, and yet they still applauded. Finally he said thank you like he was very perturbed. I wish that he would have done something similar during the Arizona Memorial. Would it have been so hard to remind the crowd that they were at a memorial to honor the fallen and wounded rather than a pep-rally to feed his own ego?
Other than these stats and gripes, I did not find this speech to be particularly informative on the subject. I mean the point is right in the name, "State of the Union." How hard is that? Despite this being, "A different kind of speech," I would have much preferred a frank report on our strengths and weaknesses, rather than a pep talk. I thought that is what The President's weekly address was for, but silly me. On a side note, did anyone else notice that Dingy Harry looked like a deer in the headlights and that at first The President looked so smug? That look was quickly wiped off of hi face. Now on to the speech.
The President's Speech had, it seems to me, six main themes.
The President said, "[C]an we work together tomorrow?" and that legislation could only move forward with bipartisan support. Like during the lame duck session and the CommieCare debate Mr. President? Personally I think he was laying the groundwork for the opposition to take the blame along side his Democrats when their socialist pogroms blow up the faces of the American people as they inevitably will, as we have already seen from the ones they force-fed us plebes. I think that we have had all the togetherness and bipartisanship we can handle, especially in light of how The President, The former Speaker and The Senate Majority leaders led us with that method before. Their idea of bipartisanship is to do as we are told and like it. It is hard not to empathize with their frustration at our outrage over their high-handed methods, especially when they are only doing it for our own good. Personally I do not want any compromise with the socialist left. Hells bells, grid-lock means they can not force any more bad legislation on us. In fact the more roadblocks to Congress getting anything done, the better.
Economy and Budget:
These two points I have placed together as one because they are inexorably linked. The President said we were making economic progress? Really...Since When? Unemployment is still officially over nine percent, with the actual number being somewhere north of fifteen percent. It is difficult to believe that the economy is healing when the man on the street is homeless and unemployed.
The President suggested several ideas to fix our economy. For brevity's sake (I know, too late.) I will list them here then comment. Fix the tax code, review business regulations and remove the roadblocks to a sound economy, balance the budget, five year freeze on domestic spending, defense cuts, foreign spending cuts, downsize and consolidate government, tax the rich and a promise to veto any bill containing earmarks.
So let us review. Budget cuts and earmark vetoes: Since when has any President, especially this one, not found a spending bill the did not like? Fix the tax code for citizens and corporations and taxing the rich: They already pay most of the taxes actually paid in this country, and half of our citizens either pay nothing or get money they do not deserve back. Personally I recommend we find a percentage of the national income that will pay for the essential needs of government and tax that on every citizen, no loop-holes, no deductions and no nonsense. That would cut the IRS down in size, always a worthy goal. As for balancing the budget, that will only work if we include a debt payment, kind of like your debt payments as part of that budget. A five year freeze on domestic spending and the down-sizing of government are great ideas, but the government workers unions, which The President is way to beholden too, will never allow that, so there is another empty promise. Defense cuts sound good, but only if they are smart cuts. Cutting our next generation weapon systems, especially in the face of the ChiComm military build-up is probably not the best place to start. Cut foreign spending, bye-bye Israel. The President wants to fix social security, but without entitlement cuts, to shore up other entitlement programs, there just is not enough money, and it was made clear that entitlement cuts are not in the offing. As for reviewing business regulations and removing those that are roadblocks, please start with the EPA, your back door Crap and Tax Bill and the back door Net Neutrality.
With all these cuts, The President wants to, "Invest in America." He says that Russia, and others, are spending far more on infrastructure than we are. Dollars are not progress Mr. President. The others are building their infrastructure, we already have most of ours and simply need to maintain and improve it. A far smaller expense, but you would have us break the bank to keep up with the Jonse's. I do like the idea of the high speed rail, if it can be done economically, but I found it disturbing that he joked about the outrageous security measures taken by his administration by way of the TSA. All and all The President shows us why he can not get us out of the economic morass we find ourselves in, as if government ever could, and that is because he, and the members of his administration, know nothing about the economy. Maybe if they had spent more time working in the economy, as opposed to only learning about it, they might have a better chance, but as it stands, it is doubtful.
Green jobs and green r&d look good on paper, but our government's track record show this to be an exercise in throwing money down the rabbit hole. It would not be so bad if it was only a start-up boost to infant technology, but history shows that the subsidies will go on for green tech long after the technology has matured and proven itself a waste of money, but that is no reason to stop throwing good money after bad. Further he proposes pulling the oil company subsidies. That would be great, but you know who will be the ones making up that shortfall, though I hope we can find a way to stop giving them money without them passing the buck to us the consumers. Additionally The President proposed eighty percent of our energy come from clean sources. This is a great idea, if it pencils out better than the ethanol and wind subsidies. We must get nuclear power going in this country in a big way, I truly believe it is our only hope to getting off of fossil fuels.
With all of this administrations experience in the world of education, one would suspect they would understand it better, but alas that is a pipe-dream on my part. The President wants college for all, but many jobs are better server by a technical education rather than a sheep skin were all you learn is how to drink, how great and misunderstood Marx was and why all of the world's problems are Americas fault. The only way to fix education in an affordable manner is not to pussy-foot around the Teachers Union, but to tell them that the free ride stops NOW! Either get with the program and we will work together to find an equitable solution, of bugger off and we will hire new teachers more amenable to that equitable solution. I do have to give him kudos for almost sounding conservative on family values and calling for a better class of heroes than sports players.
The President invited Congress to not revisit the fights of the past by repealing CommieCare. While there are a few things in that abortion of a bill that should be retained, it is disingenuous to say you are willing to work with the opposition to fix the problems when you already showed, clearly, that you are not when it first came up. I do love that he realizes that We The People have him far enough over the barrel to finally talk about tort reform. I do not care how we get it, it is badly needed, and CommieCare must go the way of the Dodo.
The President is still pushing for a path to citizenship when he said we had to bring the illegal aliens out of the shadows. He said we can not afford to rid ourselves of the best and brightest of this group. Rather I would ask how can we afford to not expel a known criminal class. This is not to say that they are drug dealers or something of the like, but just by being here they are criminals, and they are stealing the sweet air of freedom from American Citizens and other legal visitors to our shores. There was also a surprising nod to reality when he actually said the words, "Al Qaeda" and "terrorist." I almost wet myself in surprise, but it was quickly dispelled when he later referred to both groups as "extremists" beyond the one nod. I was also expecting a mention of time-line for withdrawal in the Afghan war, and i was not disappointed. Lastly in this topic the President mentioned the importance of missile defense, which I found odd seeing as how he has done everything in his power to gut the concept. All of this proved, to me at least, that he has as much knowledge about defense as he does in economics, so that should make one ponder hard come election time.
A passing nod was given to Don't Ask, Don't Tell with this comment, "No American will be forbidden from serving the nation they love because of who they love." I will reserve comment on this topic for a later post as I have strong opinions about DADT that deserve a post all of heir own. I did like the salmon joke, but was disturbed, highly, by his suggestion that congress disclose every meeting with lobby members. That to me is like getting a fox to guard the hen house considering the Secret Service would no turn over his visitor logs.
This speech was a lot of bad, sprinkled with a little good, and much rhetoric and promises that I have no confidence The President will stand behind given his track record. To sum it up, we have a very photogenic Amateur-In-Chief in the White House, but as my daddy used to say, "Boy he sure talks purdy don he?"