Thursday, January 28, 2010

Obama Low-Key But Masterful in State of the Union Address

obamasotu 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:


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The second was with Markos Moulitsos:


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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. ;-)

GOPHypocrites (The Borowitz Report) - President Barack Obama's State of the Union address has already gotten a big thumbs-down from one key group of voters: Republicans who did not see the speech.

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.

McConJob_Busted 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.

alito Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. responded to President Obama's criticism Wednesday night of a Supreme Court decision last week by appearing to mouth the words "not true."

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.


Lisa G. said...

I saw the Altio clip last night. Thomas and Scalia couldn't be bothered to attend. I'm going to read the text before I comment further. No, I didn't watch it...I'm a little pissed at Obama right now, and I like my flat screen. :)

Unknown said...

What a joke. Obama masterful? His speech last night is only going to cause Americans to tighten their belt straps (even more than before) because of all of his ridiculous "policies" and "bills". I think the best way to put it would be "trickle up poverty". And to have the audacity to compare himself to Reagan and Kennedy? The ones who increased Space and Military spending when he is bringing it to a screeching halt is the most asinine thing I have ever heard. I am mad as hell and sick of listening to this idiot. Go ahead Obama-send us to the dark ages and make us a 3rd world country. You are already well on your way.

ivan said...

Stunning State of the Union Address!

I could well be an Abyssinian watching Julius Caesar up on the rostrum.
I knew what President Obama was saying, but sort of going like the antique Ethiopian:
"Don't know what you're saying man, but I dig it!"

I don't think even Cicero could hand a patch on Mr. Obama.

But theres seemed to me a hole in the speech. Mention of defence, but nothing about ending the wars, which, I'm sure contributed hugely to the deficit.
But then Mr. Obama is a conciliator. There would have been a chance of a boo from at least that Supreme Court, how can he sleep at night?

eagleright said...

This speech was another attempt at spewing words that have no meaning. The liberal agenda is still there and Americans see right through it. Just a Dog and Pony show. If real economic change doesn't happen soon, this bum will be out on his bum.

Dave Dubya said...

I was amused when Obama challenged the Republicans to do more than just say "no" and take leadership responsibility with their new 41 percent "majority" in the Senate.

Too bad most of that "liberal agenda" is forced into taking on the monumental task of fixing the damage done by the "conservative agenda".

As any objective observer knows, liberals have not been in charge for over thirty years. And they still are not in charge.

Tao Dao Man said...

It was a good [CAMPAIGN]speech.

Tom Harper said...

I thought it was a great speech. My favorite line was: "And we haven't raised income taxes by a single dime on a single person. Not a single dime.”

I didn't even know that myself. We've all seen so many hysterical rightwing blog posts and letters to newspapers, wailing about Obama's high taxes, "taxed enough already," yada yada yada -- I was starting to believe it myself.

It was a great speech; made all the better by McDonnell's inept response.

Middle Ditch said...

Just passing by to say hi Tom.

Cellophane Queen said...

I participated in a poll that asked a few simple questions on the thoughts on Obama before the speech, then take another poll with similar questions after the speech.

Obama won over some Republicans and Independents with the speech. In all categories, the view was more positive than before the speech.

TC: I'll forward the email with the poll results to you.

Sue said...

I thought it was a good speech. My favorite parts were when the camera went to the GOP as they were sitting on their hands while the chamber was applauding the president. I would like to think the voters will punish them in November for not lifting a finger to help the American people, but the voters haven't been too smart lately. Congress is who we should be directing our anger towards, Not the president. said...

I just hope Obama’s economic proposals and plans actually become reality in the near future.

JUDI M. said...

I thought it was a good speech, but a little too "bipartisan" sounding. I know he's trying to get everyone working together, to be responsible: but it's not going to happen. I'm glad he did point out the Repubs for their obstruction to their faces. Unfortunately, I think it's a case of too little, too late. The RW's have already made their 'NO" mantra mainstream, and unless the president gets rid of the Bush leftovers and kicks butt, it's going to be a long 3 more years. Unfortunately......

Oso said...

I didn't watch it.Everyone is saying it was a good speech.I read an excerpt where he lied about the need for bailouts,comparing the decision to root canal.

Making an unpopular decision which is right is one thing, making an unpopular decision which is wrong and was known to be wrong at the time but still making that decision in order to reward financial speculators who contributed to your campaign is another thing.

And to insist that doing what's best for Wall St and your campaign contributors instead of what's best for the American people is disgusting and I don't know why Democrats don't call him on it.

Leslie Parsley said...

"I respect opposing points of view."

God, I'm glad someone around here does. I thought the speech was superb - more serious in tone than a campaign speech - and the Republicans were simply rude.

Christian Prophet said...

Obama's speech was classic Benito Mussolini. Spooky. Hope he doesn't suffer the same fate. See:
"Obama Creates Poverty, Not Jobs!"

Karen said...

Home run... Yes!

I love President Obama!!

Unknown said...

Y'know, googling "Obama SOTU home run" doesn't get all that many hits. Many are duplicates and reposts of other posts. He of course said little to thrill his opponents (and I dread the treatment his DoJ lawyers will get next time they go before SCOTUS!) but even on his side the cheers and clapping seem muted, almost pro forma. The election disasters over the past 3 months, plus the near/almost certain collapse of his signature bills in Congress, have taken their toil on even diehard Democrat stalwarts. Until the Massachusetts election they thought they could still bull through somehow, regain their momentum, and regroup.

This speech did little for them. Setting aside the unrealistic proposals and even the sniping at the previous administration and the Supreme Court it was singularly lacking in vision. More a rehash of last year's proposals, Obama v1.1 when he needed a complete overhaul to v2.0. I expect to see a good number of Democrat incumbents running for the door in the next couple of months and the rest hunkering down, hoping their careers aren't cut short, too. His first SOTU wasn't much fun; his 2nd will likely be even less satisfying.

rjs said...

i didnt watch the speech, but despite saying he wouldnt, krugman apparently did, and he alleges obama was using language "identical to widely ridiculed remarks early last year by John Boehner, the House minority leader."

TomCat said...

I am too, Lisa, but consider the alternative.

Kasey, Eagleright and Orion, why do right wingers usually post under blank ID's? I shall not dignify your comments with a replies.

Ivan, his matress is stuffed with corporate cash.

Dave, I could not have said it better.

RZ, you seem unable or unwilling to give him credit for anything. I'm certainly critical of him, but it's based on my observations, not my stance.

Tom, I liked that line too.

Hi Monique!

Thanks Marva, I'd like to see it.

Sue, I think Obama has made his share of mistakes, but no President has ever faced such hostile and dishonest opposition. This is new territory.

Judi, I agree. If Obama were to give the Republicans EVERYTHING they want, they'd change what they want. In the Senate they have even filibustered their own amendments.

Oso, I have called him on it.

Thanks, Tnlib. I agree.

Welcome, CP, only because you, at least, have the integrity, to comment under a real ID. I read your article. Your facts are in error.

Karen, I'm in his corner, not his pocket.

RJ, you and Krugman are correct, but I suspect that Obama's use of their language was a shrewd political tactic, not an endorsement of their ideas.

Tao Dao Man said...

Is this a stance or a fact?

"Justice Official Clears Bush Lawyers in Torture Memo Probe

By Michael Isikoff and Daniel Klaidman

For weeks, the right has heckled Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. for his plans to try the alleged 9/11 conspirators in New York City and his handling of the Christmas bombing plot suspect. Now the left is going to be upset: an upcoming Justice Department report from its ethics-watchdog unit, the Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR), clears the Bush administration lawyers who authored the “torture” memos of professional-misconduct allegations.

Tao Dao Man said...

Or how about this one?

Published on Saturday, January 30, 2010 by the Daily Telegraph/UK
'Nobel Peace Prize-Winner Barack Obama Ups Spending on Nuclear Weapons to Even More Than George Bush'

by Carol Driver

Obama gives a speech, answers some questions, and the kumbay ya camp fire is on.

rjs said...

or this? Obama Hypocrisy Watch: Obama Rips Lobbyists, Then Gives Them Private Briefings - This is what Obama said in the State of the Union address: We face a deficit of trust – deep and corrosive doubts about how Washington works that have been growing for years. To close that credibility gap we must take action on both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue to end the outsized influence of lobbyists; to do our work openly; and to give our people the government they deserve. From The Hill: A day after bashing lobbyists, President Barack Obama’s administration has invited K Street insiders to join private briefings on a range of topics addressed in Wednesday’s State of the Union. The invitation stated, “The White House is encouraging you to participate in these calls and will have a question and answer session at the end of each call. As a reminder, these calls are not intended for press purposes.”…A handful of lobbyists told The Hill on Thursday morning that they received the invitations and were planning to call in.

Dave Dubya said...

Obama's betrayal of American values, the law, and the Constitution, not to mention proof he is not a liberal, lies in his kid glove, "look forward" treatment of the Bush/Cheney war crimes. The corporate media are silent because they too abetted and profitted from the criminal behavior of Bush/Cheney.

As the Reich Wingers love to say, listen to the generals.

Gen. Barry McCaffrey said: "We tortured people unmercifully. We probably murdered dozens of them during the course of that, both the armed forces and the C.I.A."

Gen. Antonio Taguba said after investigating the Abu Ghraib abuses and finding they were part and parcel of official policy sanctioned at the highest levels of the U.S. Government, and not the acts of a few "rogue" agents: "there is no longer any doubt as to whether the current administration has committed war crimes. The only question that remains to be answered is whether those who ordered the use of torture will be held to account."

TomCat said...

RZ, you have already placed both of these in other threads. One you have in two other threads. Stop it, please.

RJ, I have no objecrion to his meeting with lobbyists. I do, however object to him giving them more assecc than the progressive caucus has received.

Dave, this goes to his misplaced attempts at bipartisanship. I fully agree with yoiur premise that they should be prosecuted.

Tao Dao Man said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
TomCat said...

RZ, I deleted your last comment, because calling this blog a "Kumbay Ya camp" is disrespectful to me and the other people here. Wallpapering multiple threads with duplicate links is also disrespectful behavior. I asked you to stop it. I realize you are passionate about your anti-Obama views, and you are welcome, as are others who come here, to express your views, respectfully and on topic. Frankly, after replying to comments for over six hours, I feel exhausted. Please show some respect.