Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Thoughts on the State of the Union Address

President Obama delivered his first State of the Union address tonight in front of Congress and millions of Americans. His points delivered are outlined below, along with my thoughts and analysis of them -

  • After his introduction and rather long winded talk about feeling American's pain through the letters he "reads every night", he jumped in to job creation. He began by mentioning that he has saved 2 million jobs over the last year, but then skipped right to his goal for this upcoming year - what he called a "Job Creations Bill". This bill would consist of tax incentives and cuts for small businesses, which is all fine and good (and got the right side of the room clapping), BUT it would also include taking $30 BILLION from big banks, and transferring it to community banks. Can we just say - Robin Hood?

  • To the analysts great surprise, President Obama next talked about an issue that has seemed relatively dead for the past 6 months - climate change. This was lumped in with another surprise - offshore drilling! The President urged Congress to pass a "Comprehensive Energy and Climate Bill" - the title itself sounds a bit fishy. However, in the GOP Response, Bob McDonnell expressed his delight at bi-partisan solutions that this new energy bill will support.

  • Third on the list of new bills to write up is the "National Export Initiative", which would ensure that U.S. exports double over the next 5 years. He expressed his concern at the fact that the United States is becoming "second place" in the world's trade markets and assured that he would not settle for second best.

  • Education was next up and this was something that everyone was expecting him to hit hard on. He proposed, yes another bill - a bill that would "revitalize community colleges" and give $10,000 credits to American families for 4 years of college. He also said that debt accumulated while in college would be "forgiven" after 20 years, and 10 if you choose a career in public service. Can I just ask, where are we getting all these handouts?

  • What used to be President Obama's hottest topic, was not mentioned until nearly his 5th bullet point - Health Insurance (yes he changed the name) Reform. His plea to Congress was simple: "Don't walk away. We are so close." After spending a few minutes bragging on the Congressional Budget Office's predictions of this reform saving us $1 trillion (over the next 20 years [that's a long time]) he moved on.

  • Next up was a bashing session, although the proper title should be Deficit, which explains the bashing. Again it was all blamed on the past administration - "we took office amid a depression" he said. His plan to save us? A government freeze, effective in 2011, that would last for 3 years. He called on Congress to create a "Fiscal Commission", saying that he "refuses to pass this problem on to another generation of Americans." He also mentioned that he was here to "do our government openly... that's what I came to Washington to do." Um, what happened to those health care talks being broadcast on C-SPAN again?

  • Here in the middle he merely commented on numerous issues including Lobbyists, Earmark Reform, and Partisanship (where he instructed the Democrats not to "run to the hills" because, you know what?, we have the largest majority we've had in decades, so let's take advantage of that! And to the Republicans, Leadership does not mean blocking every bill that tries to get through. Thanks.)

  • The last portion of his speech focused on foreign relations. In respect to National Security, he emphasised that he will do whatever it takes to defend our nation. Then went on to say that all the troops will be out of Iraq by August. "This war is ending," he said, "and our troops are coming home." Really? Terrorism has been defeated?

  • Nuclear Weapons. He likened himself to Ronald Reagan here, saying that they both wanted a world free of them. Hate to tell him, but that is unrealistic considering the world we live in. The President then made a promise - now mark this - PROMISE: IRAN WILL FACE GROWING CONSEQUENCES. Let's hold him to his word.

  • He touched on human rights, and then announced that he was actively working to repeal the law that prohibits gays and lesbians to serve in the military. Gag.

Few side notes:

- He was interrupted 86 times at first count.

- I think it was completely inappropriate for him to have bashed the Supreme Court's ruling overturning McCain/Feingold - inducing the standing applause of the entire left side while all the judges could do was sit there and stare. This was an intimidation of another branch of government that was absolutely improper.

- The tone of the whole speech was very strained.

- See the full transcript HERE.

UPDATE: Obama used the words I, I'll, or I'm 152 times during the speech.

UPDATE 2: "Gaff" of the night? Supreme Court Judge Samuel Alito mouthed the words "Simply not true" during the President's bashing of the Supreme Court ruling discussed above. I'm glad they were as disgusted as I was.

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