1- I really wish the entire idea of teleprompters would die a quick, painful death. I would much rather get back to the days when Presidents wrote out their speeches and had sheets in front of them during the speech that they were speaking from, rather than reading from.
2- I’ve got to admit it, Mitch Daniels did pretty darn good in his response. It was a very refreshing change in style from Paul Ryan and (oh my god) Michele Bachmann last year. It still had a definite ideological twinge, and still sounded more like a stockholders meeting where the executive must, under any circumstance, talk about how good their company is and how weak their competition is, no matter the results or numbers. But in the end, it was far more thoughtful and intelligent than anything else the Republicans have put out in the past few years, even if it was completely devoid of real, genuine suggestions on moving forward on anything.
3- The media is already painting this as a speech primarily about wealth disparity. First, he talked about a lot more than just that, and secondly, he proposed nothing more radical than letting temporary tax cuts expire for them. Wow.
4- Speaking of Mitch Daniels and wealth disparity… Did anyone notice Daniels’ proposal for Social Security? Let rich people continue to pay into it, but then not let them receive benefits “they do not need”, but instead use that money to pay full benefits to the middle class. Sounds to me like a backwards way of doing the same thing Obama’s trying to do. Uh-oh. Does Daniels’ party know that he supports “wealth distribution”? Hang the Socialist!
5- Obama still doesn’t get the manufacturing sector. The President himself can’t create markets where there are none. You can’t boost our own exports through protectionist American economic policies. And he’s going to set up a commission to investigate “unfair trade practices” by other countries? And what sort of practices does he deem unfair? Well, he mentioned other countries who don’t compete fairly because of how subsidized their products are, thereby making their products so much cheaper than ours. Please, somebody tell Obama that we have ruined the Mexican economy through our heavy subsidies of the American corn and construction industries (therefore inviting their trained workers to try and immigrate illegally to do the only work they know how to do). He really should read the amazing book “Make It In America” by Andrew Liveris. Also, I’ve written a couple of pieces on this in the past [Part 1, Part 2].
6- I hate how there was no mention of civil liberties or the recent National Defense Authorization Act (giving the President full authority to indefinitely detain even American citizens at his own discretion, without due process or pressing charges, wherever there is a defined battlefield. Oh. And the NDAA also defined the battleground in the “War on Terror”. According to the legislation, the entire world–American soil included by implication–is the official battlefield.). This has made me a one-issue voter this year (a full explanation and defense of this will arrive in the next couple of days).
7- As far as the accomplishments he listed, most of what Obama said in the speech was political half-truths and big stretches (you can easily eliminate over 500 government regulations depending on how wide you put your scope and how meaningless and already un-enforced they are–hardly something to prattle about. Also, he bragged that his Health Care bill was a “reform” of [read: “give-away” to] the private sector).
8- As far as proposals go, I really liked what Obama had to say and propose (but I did last year as well, and…well, see point 7 again). The Education stuff was encouraging (though not far enough), the private/public partnerships were reasonably presented, and he threw enough bones out there to Republicans they really should have been more happy than they were. Speaking of….
9- I really can’t stand Republicans (Boehner) who will not clap or seemed please when Obama does and says things that are clearly give-aways to them and things they’ve been asking for for years.
10- Lastly, I think our blind worship and lust over the military is disgusting and something we should be ashamed of. There’s a reason why those in the military have given more monetary contributions to Ron Paul than every other Presidential candidate (Republican and Democrat) combined: he wants to bring them home, and not use them for more injustice, unconstitutional wars, failed interventionist policies, and robbing of citizens of their constitutional civil liberties. To use the military as a mere tool to assert your own twisted image of “power” and “influence” and “American superiority” in the world is something to be mourned, not given a standing ovation. Until the military is actually defending the Constitution more than the President’s policies, they should not have our undying affection and support.
BONUS: One thing Obama was definitely right about: none of us think Washington is going to get anything done this year.
What did you think of the speech?
[image from whitehouse.gov]