Instead of giving an accurate one sentence summary, “Its totally f***ed up”, President Obama elected to be positive. This of course led to many inaccuracies about the state of the union.
As usual, his speech was well done. He might be the best speech reader in history. His delivery is convincing. There seemed to be little rancor, and at times you might have thought him conservative due to what he said. As I watched, I kept in mind things he said he’d do in past speeches, and how few of them he had actually done. Words and promises haven’t seemed to mean much to Obama.
Before the speech, I made a list of things I thought he wouldn’t mention: (My score in italics below – according to my notes and to the best of my memory)
- Keystone Pipeline (not mentioned)
- Entitlement reform (said he’d work with Congress. Lots of luck)
- Medicare reform (said he’d work with Congress. Lots of luck)
- Social Security reform (said he’d work with Congress. Lots of luck)
- Medicaid reform (said he’d work with Congress. Lots of luck)
- Tax reform (said he’d work with Congress. Lots of luck)
- Drilling in the Gulf (Not mentioned specifically, but said he would work to allow offshore drilling)
- Reducing regulations (said has directed the executive branch to examine all regulations and recommend those not needed)
- Reducing food stamp use (not mentioned)
- High unemployment (not mentioned)
- Obamacare (not mentioned specifically, but he said he wouldn’t give up some features of it)
I also made a list of things I thought he would mention:
- Raise taxes on the rich (he said this, in so many words)
- I thought he would claim success. (definitely)
- Claim the economy is improving (definitely)
- invoke class warfare (not as much as I expected)
- Call for more spending (not as much as I expected)
- Fairness and equality (a whole lot)
- Republican obstructionism (touched on it, but much less than I expected)
- Republicans want to protect the rich (I don’t think he said this, may have hinted)
So, in many ways, his speech surprised me.
Highlights of his speech as I saw it:
- Last troops home from Iraq; Osama bin Laden no longer a threat; In Afghanistan the Taliban is broken (Is it?)
- Imagine what we could accomplish if we worked together, like the military does.
- Wants everyone to do their fair share.
- In 2008, house of cards collapsed, 4 million jobs lost before I took office; 4 more million jobs before my countermeasures took hold; but in the last 6 months, 3 million jobs created (Question – does that include the Christmas temps? I don’t know)
- I will fight obstruction (by Republicans?) with action.
- I’m working to stop outsourcing of jobs; I have a blueprint for American manufacturers; tax credits for them to stimulate more jobs (credits the answer to every Liberal problem)
- We saved General Motors; now GM is again the world’s leading manufacturer.
- Tax code needs revision; no tax deductions for outsourcing; basic minimum tax for all companies; stop rewarding companies that ship jobs overseas.
- Will form a trade adjustment bureau, will catch and penalize cheating by foreign countries; I’ve made trade agreements and will continue to do so; American exports will rise.
- Businesses can’t find workers with tech skills, I will boost retraining, will commit to train 2 million workers; turn unemployment systems into reemployment systems.
- We need more teachers; reward good ones, eliminate bad ones (sounds suspiciously like merit – teacher’s unions won’t buy that)
- We shouldn’t let students drop out of school. (Federal law to that effect? Not so fast) Congress should reduce interest rate on student loans.
- Illegals – we have put more boots on the border, fewest illegals crossing in the past 16 years (due to the economy?) We need comprehensive immigration reform now (Not before closing the border, Charlie)
- Women, equal pay for equal work; expand tax relief for small businesses; don’t gut federally sponsored research; develop every source of energy; no more subsidizing the oil industry; give it to clean energy (Like Solyndra?) I’ve directed the Navy to make a large purchase of clean energy (solar panels? From China?)
- Congress should take the funds saved by no longer having wars, take half to pay off the debt, use the other half to fund infrastructure rebuilding (Let me count the ways this is wrong – we can’t pay off the debt as long as we’re borrowing a trillion or more per year from China. What part about cut spending don’t you understand?)
- No more bailouts for banks, ever. We’ll regulate the heck out of them; I will establish a financial crimes unit within the FBI, which will chase down and punish financial fraud.
- I want a minimum tax of 30% on the very wealthy (above $250,000); I’m prepared to reform Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security as long as the rich pay more. (Note – I believe he’s effectively raising the capital gains tax here, although he didn’t say. I don’t think a minimum tax on income only would raise much money.)
- Send me a bill to penalize insider trading by members of Congress. (It would also be nice to see a penalty (say dismissal from office and a 5 year prison term) for presidents who engage in crony capitalism)
- I want a rule in the Senate that all nominations receive an up or down vote within 90 days; I want Congress to give me authority to consolidate and modernize the executive branch (translation – appoint 50 more czars)
- I will act with or without Congress. It would be better if Congress would help.
- America is back, anyone who tells you otherwise is wrong.
Comments on Fox News:
Krauthammer – the speech was less partisan than I expected; it had a much narrower focus than his first state of union speech; it seemed to lack long term objectives.
A.B. Stoddard – He pushed clean energy.
Bret Hume – He had a long laundry list, wanted to please everyone; it was fairly boring.
There was a Republican response from Mitch Daniels, governor of Indiana.
- The State of the Union is grave; was bad when he took over, but he was hired to make it better; he can’t claim that he has made it anything but worse.
- He’s added trillions to the national debt; his middle class is built out of government jobs and dollars; the young have been harmed; there is economic stagnation; the time is running out to save us from a Greece style meltdown.
- The loyal opposition must do more than complain, we must offer solutions.
- We need a simpler tax system with fewer regulations; must unite to save Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security.
- Obama needs to stop accusing Republicans of obstructionism; Republicans have passed many bills which are blocked by the Democrats in the Senate and the President.
- The President seeks to divide us; the government should serve, not supervise us.
My final take on the speech: it was an attempt to baffle us with Bulls**t. It was a campaign speech.