Thursday, January 28, 2010

Intermission 1: State of the Union

I watched and listened to Barack Obama's State of the Union Address last night, and remembered why I supported him in his Presidential campaign over a year ago.  There was the intelligent, measured cadence of his delivery, the easy rapport with the listener/viewer.  He provided reassurance with his declared support for the issues that his supporters rallied around and voted him in office to address.  Then I felt sick at heart, because I knew I had heard this before, and I stopped trusting in my own naive hope for the future. 

It was certainly a great speech...but essentially I fear it will change nothing.

He said what he had to say, and made his applause-points to all of the issues people are angry about, scared about, the issues writers blog about and that voters destroy political careers over.   Yes, it was an excellent speech. But, I thought he said everything he HAD to say....assuaged fears, gave us vicarious pleasure in lambasting Republicans, the supreme court, filibusters, etc.

Obama declared a new jobs bill, and urged Congress to get one on his desk without delay. I remember hearing a similar urgency once with his Health Reform Bill.

The Health Care Bill was not mentioned until nearly a half-hour into the speech.  He was right to keep the tone light, and place a large measure of responsibility on himself for its being grossly misunderstood by the public.  While he assured listeners that he has not given up, and that he wants to see the bill passed, it's a far cry from the urgency and importance it commanded just months ago, and it is not the bill many rallied behind with enthusiasm.

He cleverly stated that he would work with Congress to repeal Don't Ask Don't Tell.  But he could have declared this already, at least by de-funding the current military expulsions. If he works with Congress here as effectively as he did with Health Care, then repeal of DADT is doomed.

Obama made sense when he accused politicians of doing nothing more than campaigning to get re-elected. He himself earlier this week told ABC's Diane Sawyer that he would rather be a "good 1-term President than a mediocre 2-term one."  I hope he has the courage of his convicitons.  He MUST ignore the churlish bunch on his left, who sulk silently at every point.  He MUST decide that he will do what is right and not what is politically expedient for him (since, if he meant what he said, he will not make his elected office a campaign for re-election, as he blames others for doing) and he will concentrate on his supporters, use his powers to persuade and lead, get a job done, and leave office with some modicum of success.

Obama must realize that he can no longer appeal to the Republicans for any help, or applause, or approval.  They are showing themselves to be almost psychotic in their lack of reason.  If they truly are representing the best interests of their constituents by behaving in this manner, then the country may be better off by ignoring them to silence.   Mr. Obama needs to stop pandering to his adversaries, and keep an image of his diverse supporters firmly in mind as he shapes Year Two.

I hope he can "get health care done", pass a jobs bill, get money to Community Colleges, pass a campaign finance reform bill in reaction against the Supreme Court's recent ruling, take away tax breaks to companies that outsource..... I wish he can do that and more.  I have no big hope for pro-gay legislation beyond lip service. Yes, he stirred up the emotions I had during his campaign speeches......It was an excellent, outstanding speech to be sure. But that's about all.


  1. Tom, I too thought he spoke well and was glad to see him finally respond in a direct fashion to the ongoing Republican smear tactics and obstructionist policies that have defined his first year of office. Unfortunately I believe that any hope for any bipartisan cooperation is simply a pipe dream and that the Republicans will continue to drag him and the country down in their myopic efforts to bring about "his Waterloo." Very well done!

  2. How refreshing to hear a well spoken, intelligent President for a change! I could feel and see the hatred and contempt in the Republican stone faces as they sat on their hands that night. They are hell bent on seeing Obama fail. And how they all described him as being flippid, arrogant and all full of himself code words for "that uppity negro!" the racist bastards.

  3. I'm late in recognizing your comments, so please accept my apology.
    I am in total agreement with both of you, and wonder just what can be done to overcome the contemptible behavior of the republicans, who unfortunately represent a sizeable portion of the population.
    I am of the opinion that bipartisanship is not the answer in today's America.