Just my Thoughts · Politics

State of the Union

Last night I pulled parental rank.  I wanted to watch and listen and take notes on the State of the Union.  I asked that one of the two adult children living here at home pick up #6 from dress rehearsal.  He was to be done between 9:15 and 9:30 so prime speech time.

There was quite a bit of discussion between #1 and #3 but #3 stepped up as #1 fell asleep on the couch.  Thanks, Lei!!!

To start with, I panicked when CNN was saying the speech would run between 70 and 75 minutes with applause.  That is way past my bedtime.  If I want to watch something on television at 10 pm, I generally DVR it as I will never stay awake for the whole show.  Next, as I watch President Obama enter the joint session, I had the strangest thought.  I wanted to know where he had stuffed his hand sanitizer.  It cannot possibly be sanitary, especially in the middle of flu and cold season, to shake all those hands and not wash your hands or sanitize immediately.

The beginning and the end of the speech were pure Obama – lofty words from a great orator.  The president started the speech with history on the State of the Union speech itself.  This bit ended with  him saying, and I am paraphrasing, we are “again tested and must answer history’s call.”

President Obama also noted that the worst of the economic storm has passed but the devastation remains.  He punctuated this point with stories of people across the United States.

Probably the most annoying part of watching the speech was having Vice President Joe Biden in the camera’s view the entire time.  He was not quite as quick to jump up in applause as Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi but seemed to sit and nod in agreement continually.

President Obama noted that we all hated the bank bailout, himself included.  Most of the money has been recovered.  To recover the remaining, he is proposing a fee on the biggest banks.  Hopefully, along with the Huffington Post Move Your Money grassroots effort, this does not cause these large institutions more misery.  Actually, I think a bit of misery in the large banking institutions – not misery like closings but more a thought-provoking misery – would be a good thing.

President Obama declared jobs the number one focus in 2010.  The true engine for job creation is America’s businesses.  Obama also introduced some new small business tax credits – for creating new jobs, for raising wages.  The House has passed a bill already and Obama urged the Senate to do the same.

The speech itself would lend to a very long post.  I am going to do, over the next few days, several on different areas of the speech.  I will close with some of my overview thoughts.

There was a lot of eight year bashing in this speech.  President Obama did not mention former President George W Bush but mentioned those previous eight years.  This truly put looks of consternation on the faces of GOP faithful in the chamber.  I, the registered Democrat who tends to vote Independent, was annoyed by it as I figure we all know what has happened in the past administration.  I really don’t need it pointed out to me.  I want to know what is going to be done to fix the issues that were created then, not who created them.  And while a person can blame the president, a good majority of those congressional representatives and senators were there helping with the creation of the last eight years – on both sides of the aisle.

25 thoughts on “State of the Union

    1. I am with you, TKW. I stuck with the theory “if I didn’t have something nice to say…” when it came to Pelosi. I did like her necklace!

  1. Here’s hoping for economic recovery by 2011 – too many people in my community are out of work, out of money, and out of hope. I hope that our politicians can rally together regardless of party to find solutions to the problems plaguing our country.

    1. That would be nice, if the politicians can rally together. I am not sure I see that happening in the nation or in NYS. NYS is more of a mess than the country is and I don’t see change coming.

  2. I want to know what is going to be done to fix the issues that were created then, not who created them.

    Thank you! I am tired of finger pointing and ready for solutions.

    1. Definitely true, Jack. Get some solutions out there that will work and forget who made the problem. They are here to stay until fixed so the past is, well, past.

  3. Are you kidding? W nearly drove this country off a cliff and Obama has done a lot to keep things from getting worse and starting to reverse all the damage W did. Thank you Obama and Pelosi and keep up the good work!

    1. While the total deficit did wipe out a balance surplus while W was president, I do not – and no I don’t like him – think it was all his fault. Nor does it do any good now to point fingers at who is responsible.

      Unfortunately out of Congress, the Senate and the White House, the majority – well over 450 would be my educated guess without looking up exact figures – were in power when the deficit came into being so one person cannot possibly be responsible.

  4. “I want to know what is going to be done to fix the issues that were created then, not who created them.”

    I do agree that it sounds defensive. At the same time the pundits on the far right keep repeating the message, “When are you liberals going to stop blaming Bush, and take some responsibility”. And people are beginning to believe it. I feel like were going through the “Weapons of Mass Destruction” in IRAQ, and how IRAQ was responsible for 9/11 all over again. I think informed people like you know the real answers, but I wonder about a lot of people. Many people still believe that IRAQ was responsible for 9/11.

    I think there has been a lot of good. I think Borg Warner, and the auto industry would all be without jobs. I think we would be in the deepest depression ever if we continued the path of the previous administration.
    I do admit that I want to see a lot more effort toward Ecological Green Energy, but I think many big corporations are fighting it just as much as they can. Change can be expensive, and big companies can loose if they don’t change. The pressure of the stock market is a strong one.

    I feel like an analogy is that we were in a Football game. We were ahead by 25 to 0 at the end of the first quarter, so we put W in the game. With 2 minutes left on the score board we were losing 400 to 25, Obama has only been in the game 2 minutes and is being blamed for the loss of the game.

    So how should the Democrats respond to the half truths. I don’t know the answer to that one. I’d love to hear ideas for that.

    (Not that I have an opinion on any of this. lol)

    1. Not sure I have the answers either but my point is Bush couldn’t do it all on his own. There were 535 Congressional representatives and Senators that held the budget purse strings. Every one of them is responsible in some way.

      The green/ecological thing is so common sense. It puts people to work in the US and is good for the environment. Big business just has to do it. But then again, that has been the case for years.

      If business would just do it, we would not in the shape we are in because when there was an “energy crisis” in the late 70’s, we would have used our innovation to get off foreign oil. Brazil did it. Why couldn’t the US?

      Maybe, instead of worrying about responding to half truths, we all need to do what is best for the US regardless of how others will view it. That will never happen, though.

  5. I think the deficit came from all of us. Tax cuts, hell yeah! Cut rates on prescription meds, where do I sign up? We are still way to much a me generation. Structurally increasing spending and decreasing income just doesn’t work. Although Short Term investments are required during a deficit.

    We need to invest in infrastructure, our roads and bridges are falling apart. Our sewage treatment plants are dumping tons of toxic chemicals into our oceans. Our use of green house gas is heating the earth. (Science says, but not the politicians) But our economy is built on how many big screen TV’s can we buy (and were exporting this attitude to the world as the American Dream. You can have it all.)

    1. You are so right that the deficit came from all of us. The same attitude is what is working in NYS. Every interest – special or not – wants “their piece of the pie.” So rather than doing what is best for the family or individual, those in power do what is wanted by the interest groups – most of whom could care less how you and I are going to fare but just want their share.

  6. Hi Nicki, my days are saturated in politics. I work in the field. It fascinates me endlessly in theory and deeply bothers me in real life.

    I hear you esp. your last few lines. And I read the pundits this morning. All that’s clear to me is more words are being spoken yet again, but the plan is unclear and the action is slow a-comin’.

    The night before the state of the union, I saw Robert Reich at a fundraiser for Emerge America. He worked as Bill Clinton’s labor sec. and is a brilliant prof. at UC Berkeley. But even he couldn’t suggest where the jobs will come from. The one thing he said about Obama that struck me was that he lacks the capacity for indigation and so, can’t use it strategically/effectively in his speeches. All I could think was, “hmmm”.

    One other thing he said, in a nutshell, is that the House and Senate don’t mesh. Again, “hmmm”. Kinda obvious, that one.

    Anyway, just sharing.

    1. I worked in politics until last year, Belinda. Reich is definitely correct.

      I also do not think that Obama does well with lengthy speeches. Had he found a way to make this one a third shorter, it might have worked better but I am not totally sure. At the end, he kept lifting up one hand and slamming it back down on his other. The noise, through the microphones on the podium, was driving me nuts and I was listening on the television. I can’t imagine if I had been in the chamber.

      The House and the Senate need overhauling. Truthfully, I think the two party system is the issue in a lot of things and we, the people, need to take care of that problem. Unfortunately, most people go into a voting booth with the mentality that “the devil you know is better than the one you don’t.”

  7. Thanks for this post Nicki and I look forward to your upcoming ones. I have confessed in the past on my blog to feel quite ignorant when it comes to political discussions so I appreciate your summarizing this important speech for me (as I was more thankful that they didn’t interrupt American Idol!).

    1. I just have to say it was way past my bed time by the time this was over. It is amazing I managed to stay awake for the whole thing and the GOP rebuttal. I am not a night person.

      And, I will admit, Becca, to having never seen an episode of American Idol.

  8. Oh, thank you for summarizing. I have yet to watch the speech. I won’t mention the specific reason for not watching (does babies give you a clue) but I will state that I have full intentions.

    Since I did not watch it, I can’t comment on the specifics. I can say this, thank you.

    I am really tired of finger pointing. I think we need to let go of the past and look to the future. Why is Pres. Bush still in the hot seat? This is something that I ponder continuously.

    Further, I would really like to see change. I am tired of rhetoric. I am even more tired of the House and the Senate. They can point fingers at whomever they want but the real reason for the mess we are in lies with them. Them and their “special interest groups” as well as their greediness. I am tired of all of them. Change will not occur if we do no re-elect NEW faces.

    1. It is so difficult because no one wants their state to give up what little influence they may have in the Senate or the House, so the same people keep going back.

  9. I think it is interesting to see what someone with different political leaning from myself had to say. I thought the speech was a little too much fluff and finger pointing. He said some things I liked and some things I didn’t, but to be honest I got a little bored and kind of tuned out after a while.

    I do get mad when congress points fingers at the Bush administration, after all who passed the bills?

    And maybe someone with a different perspective can help me, but I was confused why he excoriated the banks for making risky loans that caused a lot of the economic problems and then excoriated them for making safer loans now instead of riskier ones (bigger, established, well credit businesses vs smaller, volatile, poorer credit ones)? I found that a little odd and am hoping I just wasn’t paying enough attention during the whole argument.

    I look forward to seeing more of your perspective on his speech.

    1. Charlotte – The bank situation is a no win one. Because of the mess the larger ones got in doing risky transactions, no one wants to loan money at all. Not sure if that is an easy fix.

  10. “And while a person can blame the president, a good majority of those congressional representatives and senators were there helping with the creation of the last eight years – on both sides of the aisle.”

    I love this line! It is so very, very true. Let’s stop pointing fingers and just pick ourselves up by our bootstraps and get moving. Time’s a-wasting!

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