Polsters, this is President Obama’s final State of the Union address. You can watch it live here. on PBS, or here on Huffpost. He is expected to urge Democratic candidates to carry on his policies, and he is expected to critique the hate and fear mongering from the right.
State of the Union, with Ryan dyspepsia.
It’s not known if he will talk about the ten American sailors being held captive in Iran.
The Congressional Black Caucus chose to make a statement by lining the aisles to greet and cheer for the President. Knowing that the right wing already has their talking points tweeting out about “weakness”, “ineffectiveness”, etc, they want to stand up for this President, and what he has managed to get done.
Like a good professor, Obama tells his audience what questions he will answer.
- How do we give everyone a shot at opportunity in this new economy?
- How do we get technology to work for us and not against us, especially given climate change?
- How do we keep America safe and lead the world without becoming its policeman?
- How can we make our politics reflect what’s best in us, and not what’s worst?
On the economy, he touts the fact that the American economy is strong, the jobless rate is down. He promotes the free pre-K for all, two free years of community college. He sounds a lot like Bernie Sanders.
Health insurance benefits should be portable, which was the point of the Affordable Care Act. And no, he’s not promoting a single payer program, even with the risk-free lame duck status. A shame.
On technology, he announces a new National Health Institute research program to cure cancer. Joe Biden is in charge of “getting it done”.
He says that if you still want to debate the science of climate change, “Have at it. But you’ll be pretty lonely.” He’s promoting clean energy tech big time. Good call.
“In fields from Arizona to Texas, wind power is now cheaper than coal.”
“We’ve gotta accelerate the transition away from old, dirtier energy sources.”
Wow. It sounds like he’s advocating for a carbon fee. Go Obama.
So on to safety. “These days, we’re threatened less by evil empires, and more by failed states.” Nice.
Um, none of the generals in the audience is applauding. That can’t be a good thing.
“We don’t need to build up ISIL. We need to stop promoting the lie that somehow they are representative of one of the world’s largest religions.”
Paul Ryan is practicing his skeptical pose. He tries tilting his head first to one side, then the other. Now he’s trying a chin stroke. Perhaps he misses his beard.
“If you doubt the United States determination, or mine, just ask Osama Bin Laden. Ask the leader of Al Qaeda in Yemen. Ask the leader of the Benghazi attack.”
He reminds us that US forces saved millions of lives by halting the spread of Ebola in Africa.
Now he’s promoting TPP. A reminder that he is a corporate centrist, and not a union supporter, in spite of the support unions have given him.
Reminder that he opened relations with Cuba – yes, another accomplishment.
He claims that we are on the verge of ending HIV/AIDS, and wants to do the same with malaria. Can this possibly be true?
On to the meat of how our politics need to bring out the best, and not the worst, in us.
Trey Gowdy looks like the ghost of David Bowie with acid reflux. He is not feeling this “poltics bring out the best” deal.
A plea to stop targeting Muslims and immigrants.
Up to now, he’s been Reasonable Obama, pleading for sense and rationality from the irrational. Now on to the rhetoric of the Obama we know and voted for. Winding it all up with “We the people”. All of us. A better politics doesn’t mean we agree on everything.
His basic themes of unity and common interest, bipartisanship, the basic decency of the American people.
“Our public life withers when only the most extreme voices get all the attention.” I have no doubt that a President with the gifts of Lincoln or Roosevelt might have managed to bridge the divide. And I’m gonna keep trying to get better, as long as I hold this office.”
“We have to reduce the influence of money in politics”.
“We need to make it easier to vote, not harder. We need to modernize elections. This is America. We want to make it easier for people to participate.”
Changes in our political process – not just who gets elected, but how they get elected, depends on you. (paraphrased)
I’m convinced that Paul Ryan has an itch on the back of his neck, and is trying to scratch it by rolling his head back and forth.
Our future depends on your willingness to uphold your duties as a citizen. To vote, speak out, especially for the weak. Especially for the vulnerable. We need every American to stay active in our public life, not just at election time, so that our public life reflects the decency that I see every day.
Now he’s evoking the diverse American lives – the student, the teacher, the protester, the police officer, the boss, the worker, etc.
Now he sounds like Walt Whitman, evoking the America we love. Clear-eyed, big-hearted, optimistic that unconditional love will bring us through.
And he’s winding it up.
Well, at the risk of rotten cabbages flung from the left and right, I liked this speech. I’m proud of our President, with all of his shortcomings and might-have beens. I think that he has been a leader who has kept us from going over Bush’s brink, has managed to buy us a little more time to save life on the planet.