Wednesday, January 27, 2010


Tonight is President Obama's first State of the Union Address. He comes to it not at all in the position he imagined a year ago. He can't claim that his ambitious agenda has born any fruit. His first declaration that Gitmo would be closed in a year didn't happen and the health care bill, which was supposed to be signed in August is in shambles. He did not handle the 3:00 a.m. phone call very well. His promise of transparency and bipartisanship is a joke.

Below is a copy of the talking point for tonight's address. I'm copying the whole thing, but will put my comments in [bold]

Anyway, here it is:
Rescue, Rebuild and Restore

· President Obama took office a year ago amid an array of challenges unparalleled in our lifetime.

o Our economy was in freefall - gripped by the deepest downturn since the Great Depression and teetering on the edge of an even greater collapse.

o Job losses of more than 700,000-a-month compounded an ongoing assault on the Middle Class: a decade of stagnant wages, the impact of plummeting home values and the ever-rising costs of health insurance and educating their kids.

o A $1.3 trillion budget deficit, two wars and badly frayed global alliances also greeted the President at the door. [We knew he wouldn't be able to resist that one.]

· Faced with daunting challenges, Obama took strong and politically-difficult steps to rescue the country from a potential Second Great Depression; to rebuild the economy for the long-term, so businesses are thriving, the Middle Class is growing and all our families are more secure; and to restore America's leadership in the world, as we wrestle with the global challenges of the 21st Century. [well, I suppose he took steps, but I wouldn't say he achieved his goal.]

Economic Issues

· Within one month of his inaugural, President Obama had shepherded the most far-reaching economic recovery plan in American history. It has brought our economy back from the brink of a second Great Depression and, one year later, we are beginning to see signs of progress. [I sure hope we'd be seeing some signs of recovery. The sad thing, however, is that even the White House economists forecasted that doing nothing would have brought us further along into a recovery by now. And, from my own POV, I see things getting worse and not better as people not only continue to lose jobs, but also remain unemployed for so long]

o Job losses, while still too high have fallen to a tenth of where they were a year ago and the economy is growing for the first time in two years. ["a tenth of where they were a year ago"? I guess that means we're only losing 70,000 jobs a month instead of 700,000. I suppose that is a positive direction, but the one-tenth line sounds like they can trick us into thinking things are better than they are. He can't trick us, though, because one in 10 people are still unemployed. It may be that less people are being added monthly to the ranks of the unemployed than a year ago, but the travesty is that many of those people are still unemployed. Their savings and house is gone. For many, if they have a job, they are either underemployed or working part time]

· The President also began the work to rebuild the economy for the long-term by laying a New Foundation for growth and prosperity - a prosperity that is focused on working families, small business owners and the economic competitiveness of our nation. [I noticed the "New Foundation" is capitalized. Is this like the "New Deal" or something?]

Domestic Agenda

· Under President Obama's leadership, we have begun to confront challenges that Washington has ignored for decades and enact reforms meant to strengthen families, small businesses, and American economic competitiveness that lobbyists and special interests have worked to prevent time and again. [ I like the "meant to" line, because his "reforms" did not do what they were theoretically meant to do.]

o We are closer than ever on real health reform, we're moving toward a clean energy economy, we've taken on the big banks and special interests to reform outdated and lax financial rules, and we've initiated far-reaching education reforms to demand excellence in K-12 and make college more accessible and affordable. [Those just seem like bad things to bring up that way. Close isn't close enough for those who expected it to happen months ago. And, for those who feel that it was a close call that it only came close to passing just want to hear him say that they'll start over. The whole "clean energy economy" harkens to the lack of progress in Copenhagen for those who want to see Climate Change addressed, and to the bogus global warming scandal and other ways they're getting their hands all over the auto industry and cap and trade taxes for those who don't.]

· President Obama has also signed historic legislation - from extending unemployment benefits to expanding health insurance for children to ensuring that women receive equal pay for equal work - that, for decades to come, will improve and strengthen the lives of everyday Americans and working families throughout the country.

· On issues large and small, the President has worked to rebuild the economy on a New Foundation so that middle class families, and those who aspire to the middle class, can enjoy the prosperity and economic well-being enjoyed by the special interests, the very wealthy and the well-connected. [Okay, this one reveals the heart of his convictions. (Hence the larger print for emphasis) There's that "New Foundation" again. It reminds me of his promise to "transform this country." Also, in this statement, you see his belief in a socialist state where the wealth is shared. So much of the angst out there (me included) is that the progressives are indeed aspiring to a "New Foundation." They want to erase the foundation of our Founding Fathers and the principals that made this country great. This country's foundation was strong - the Rock of Faith in God, the belief in the individual's rights and the promotion free enterprise. They don't want any of that.]

· He's matched this leadership and advocacy for the American people by standing up to those very special interests and by beginning to change the way business is done in Washington by making government more accountable, accessible and transparent to all Americans.
[okay, if he wants any credibility whatsoever, don't bring that one up!!!! There is no one left outside his own administration that believes that government is "more accountable, accessible, and transparent to all Americans."]

o For the first time ever, every visitor to the White House - what they're doing and who they're meeting with - will be made public
[Does that say, "will be made" public? I thought they were already supposed to be. At least there is an admission there that it hasn't entirely been that way.]

o And we've limited the influence of lobbyists in government by preventing executive branch employees from receiving gifts from lobbyists, by prohibiting administration officials from lobbying the government for two years after they leave public service, and by removing lobbyists from government boards and commissions.

Global Relationships

· As he's worked to rescue the economy and rebuild it on a new foundation that will promote growth and prosperity for all Americans, President Obama has begun the hard work required to restore America's standing and leadership in the world.

o He's enhanced American safety and security by beginning the responsible drawdown of American combat troops in Iraq. Working with our allies, he's refocused the fight against Al Qaeda in Afghanistan while bolstering our relationship with Pakistan.

o He's also engaged our partners throughout the world to combat extremism, begun to rebuild frayed alliances, and reasserted American leadership on issues like climate and energy, financial recovery, public health and hunger [I'm sure he's talked about it. I haven't seen any positive results that have come from his "engagement."]

· After one momentous year in office, President Obama has governed as he said he would, making tough decisions instead of deferring them, thinking about the long-term well-being of the country and not just his own, short-term politics. [well being? He may think so, but to me he's thinking about the long-term weakening and transforming of our country into something we don't recognize as America.]

· On a whole range of issues, President Obama has remained faithful to the central commitments of his campaign and he has begun to deliver changes that the American people expect and deserve. [I guess I did expect some of the things he's done, but I don't feel I deserve them. And for those who's he is really addressing, I don't think they'd agree that he has "remained faithful to the central commitments of his campaign". Talk to the gay right activists, the Gitmo haters, the war haters, the public option wanters, the bipartisan hopefuls......]

This seems to me a pretty comprehensive compendium of Obama administration stretchers and prevarications, but it is probably a reliable preview of what the president has in store tonight.

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