Thursday, January 27, 2011

State of the Union

I watched the State of the Union but didn't find it that interesting. Obama was fine but vague. He was trying to seem like he was reasonably appealing to the GOP and maybe he did. It will all come down to followup policy to see if they can compromise on any of the details.

Can bipartisanship work in DC? Well Ezra Klein calls Mitch McConnell: The most honest man in Washington. He was honest about the GOP mission, "the single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president." and this is his definition of bipartisan, "If the president is willing to do what I and my members would do anyway, we’re not going to say no"

Before the speech, pundits (and Republicans) were saying Obama needed to move to the center because of the midterm election. Firedoglake points out, there wasn't Even the Slightest Hint of a “Move to the Center” in George W. Bush’s 2007 State of the Union, so there's that.

Ezra Klein has a nice collection of links and comments on the speech. He was also bothered by the point that we won't always be the biggest and that's ok. "found no outright false factual claims in Obama’s State of the Union address, but we did note some that were arguable, and some promises that may prove unrealistic."

Kevin Drum had a nice point "And a note to John Boehner: dude, we know you're a Republican. Obama is the opposition. We get it. But your preposterously ostentatious boredom during the entire speech really needs to go. You should at least pretend you're not in junior high school anymore."

One of the better laugh lines was about regulation of Salmon. But Ezra Klein says: "Like many examples of governmental dysfunction, the way salmon are regulated makes more sense when you look at it closely than when you simplify it for a laugh line. The reason fishing for salmon in freshwater and fishing for salmon in saltwater get regulated by different agencies is that it's the water, not the salmon, being regulated."

Obama called for a Sputnik moment to work for green energy and infrastructure investment although he didn't clearly tie to the obvious benefits of saving the planet (oh yeah, the GOP thinks global warming is a lie) or making us less dependent on the middle east (but that would hurt oil companies!). Of course Sarah Palin completely misunderstands what "Sputnik Moment" means "To Palin, the Sputnik moment was a bad thing for America and the fact that President Obama "would aspire Americans to celebrate" it represents a "WTF moment." Why? Because, she says, Sputnik "resulted in the inevitable collapse of the Soviet Union.""

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) gave the official GOP response. It was very partisan and while not as crazy as Ryan's roadmap, Krugman found it "as bad as you might expect". He went on to say "I’m reasonably sure that Ryan hasn’t thought any of this through."

Of course there was a lot of talk about Rep. Michele Bachman's (R-MN) additional response to the State of the Union. CNN was the only network to broadcast it and a lot of people made fun of the fact that she was staring into the other camera. This surprised me: Minneapolis Tea Party Slams Bachmann: ‘One Person Has No Right To Speak For The Whole Organization’. But what surprised me more was that I haven't seen anyone mention that she thinks Obama has been president for three years!

Bachmann's Graph shows Obama has been president for 3 years!

You can get the full graph from her website. The third line is for December 2010 while the others are all for October. So in a chart with years along the x axis, she felt the need to add another bar for 2 months after the last bar. And her data does show the unemployment rate going down during Obama's administration, but she isn't happy about that.


Michael Critz said...

Another joke was how Obama described light rail as travel “without the pat-down.” That’s funny, just not “ha ha” funny. If only the President of the United States could actually do something about how the TSA operates.

Howard said...

Yeah I thought that was a little ridiculous. And I was waiting for the other side of the comeback, how long till we make train travel "safe" and add pat-downs.