In my opinion, Barack Obama hit a home run with his State of the Union address last night. I do not agree with everything he said. However, I respect opposing points of view. My most serious criticism is that he is still clinging to bipartisanship and gave Republicans far more respect than they deserve. However, he made it clear that he took office in the midst of crises, and that the vast majority of debt under his administration was from enacting the bailout passed before he became President. He made fools of the Republicans be enumerating the many tax cuts that have been enacted under his administration. Because Republicans parrot “middle class tax cut” continually, they could not object. They had to be fuming, because in GOP-speak “Middle Class Tax Cut” means “Tax Cut for the Rich”. Obama’s tax cuts really were for the middle class. I also liked the way he lampooned the Senate, by listing all the bills the House has passed and making it clear that inaction by the Senate is the sticking point. I liked the way he called on Congress to end Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. Although he could simply instruct the military not to enforce it, it is the law. If he did, he would let Congress off the hook, and leave the law on the books for some future administration to enforce. Congress passed it. Rescinding it is their obligation, one which I fully support. He also made it clear that Republicans are engaging in pure obstructionism, and made it clear that if they continue that tactic, they will have to answer to voters for it.
Keith Olbermann’s coverage excelled, as usual. Here are two videos. The first is with Howard Fineman:
The second was with Markos Moulitsos:
McClatchy DC has the full text of Obama’s speech.
According to a CBS News Poll, 83% of those interviewed approved of Obama’s proposals. Only 17% did not.
Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell gave the Republican response. McClatchy also has the full text of his speech. While more respectful, better constructed, and better delivered that the Bobby Jindal fiasco after Obama’ last address to Congress, it contained only the standard GOP talking points. One thing was clear. McDonnell had not even listened to Obama’s speech before responding, because he did not know that Obama had put domestic fossil fuel development on the table.
Republicans were also polled. ;-)
According to an instant poll conducted by the University of Minnesota's Opinion Research Institute, 90 percent of Republicans who did not see the President's speech strongly disagreed with it.
Additionally, 95 percent of Republicans polled agreed with the statement, "If I had seen the President's speech, I'll bet I would have hated it even more."
Davis Logsdon, who supervised the poll, said there were certain difficulties in polling Republican voters: "Many of them would not let us finish asking the question before answering 'No.'"… [emphasis added]
Inserted from <Huffington Post>
Although Joe “You Lie” Wilson, promised to be on his best behavior, these Republican leaders just don’t seem to understand is that there are people watching who are trained to read lips.
Tonight in his State of the Union address, President Obama outlined steps he plans to take “to pay for the $1 trillion that it took to rescue the economy last year.” However, he first addressed right-wing criticisms that he is overseeing out-of-control spending by noting the situation he faced when he took office:
By the time I took office, we had a one year deficit of over $1 trillion and projected deficits of $8 trillion over the next decade. Most of this was the result of not paying for two wars, two tax cuts, and an expensive prescription drug program. On top of that, the effects of the recession put a $3 trillion hole in our budget. All this was before I walked in the door.
The camera then cut to Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), who leaned over to Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and appeared to whisper, “Blame it on Bush.” The two men then laughed. Watch it:
… [emphasis added]
Inserted from<Think Progress>
That was John “McConJob” McCain’s best act since singing “Bomb, Bomb Iran” into a mike he did not know was open.
But even worse was the despicable breech of decorum by reactionary-right activist Justice Samuel Alito.
Obama took issue with a ruling that overturned two of the court's precedents and upended decades of restrictions on corporations being able to use their profits to finance campaigns for and against candidates.
It proved to be a striking State of the Union moment: With six justices seated in their black robes directly in front of him in the House chamber, Obama said: "With all due deference to separation of powers, last week the Supreme Court reversed a century of law that, I believe, will open the floodgates for special interests, including foreign corporations, to spend without limit in our elections."
As Democrats applauded, cameras showed the justices sitting expressionless. Except Alito.
"Not true, not true," he appeared to say, as he shook his head.
"I don't think American elections should be bankrolled by America's most powerful interests or, worse, by foreign entities," Obama continued. "They should be decided by the American people. And I urge Democrats and Republicans to pass a bill that helps correct some of these problems."
The court's 5 to 4 decision, in which Alito was in the majority, said it did not have to address the question of electoral spending by foreign firms, because the law being considered did not differentiate between domestic and foreign corporations... [emphasis added]
Inserted from <Washington Post>
I was impressed with Obama for taking on the Supreme Court to their faces for that horrid decision. While technically the court did not have to address the question of electoral spending by foreign firms, as Alito said, what Alito did not say, a lie by omission, is more important. The court did not have to address the question of electoral spending by domestic firms either. The only question before the court was whether or not broadcasting a single film crossed the line under settled law, well established by precedent. This decision was judicial activism at its worst, and Obama said so.
In summery, the speech was masterful. It was not what I would have said, but although I consider myself a wordsmith, Obama’s talents surpass mine far and away. What remains to be seen is whether or not he follows it up with appropriate action. I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt, which I admit is considerable.