Wednesday, January 26, 2011

State of the Union Speech

Well, all the political pundits and analyists have spoken and will speak at lengh over the coming days and weeks about President Obama's second State of the Union speech to a joint body of Congress, members of the Cabinet, justices of the Supreme Court (most of them, some opted out), and other guests along with tens of millions of people watching on television or the Internet or listening on the radio or the Internet.

And everyone has an opinion about the President and his speech, and I'm no different to those who reads this blog or my news and opinion blog. I've gone from being a moderate supporter to being a moderate critic of the President. As a staunch liberal-progressive, with some conservatism on some issues, I'm disappointed he has moved to the center, abandoning his liberal and progressive bases.

That's realistic and pragmatic for the President to get re-elected, and he has given us on the left some political bones, but as he moves to the center to appease Republicans, and more so the Tea Party, and get independent voters he got in 2008, the majority of whom didn't like McCain, the Republicans are moving the center to the right. The center isn't center anymore, it's center right and Obama doesn't seem to recognizes it.

But that said, about the speech overall, I liked it it a lot. It was in part a good warm and fuzzy feel good and also a challenge. But more so he made it clear to Congress he expects a lot of cooperation and a lot of results for America and Americans. Not partisanship. Not the Republican's plan for our budget, government and taxes. And not the Democrats who want more public programs.

He put the onus on Congress to address the needs of America and Americans, namely jobs, global competitiveness, corporate and personal taxes (to broaden the base to include all corporations), and education. It was clear to me the Republican agenda, and more so the Tea Party agenda, by House Republicans wasn't acceptable or will be tolerated. It was clear the same applied to the Republicans in the Senate.

What he offered was bipartianship and cooperation when it helps America and all Americans, not the privileged few wealthy and the corporations the Republicans support (and are owned by). This applies to those Democrats to. This means he wants action in the Senate than the party of no (Republicans) and the party of do nothing out of fear (Democrats, and especially the leadership).

But as they say, the devil is in the detials, but more so, the devil is if anything will change. The Republican response was tepid at best and more of the same rhetoric for a budget and deficit reduction plan which isn't more than a sham for increasing both while giving more tax breaks to the wealthy and corporations.

President Obama made it clear business as usual, like the last two years, is only going to be met with anger, his, but I would add it will also going to be met with voter anger in the voting booth in 2012. Obama set the stage for all of us to expect results from Congress. We also won't accept the same rhetoric, the same agendas and the same results.

And the details? Well, I'll wander first as has been pointed out in the past and was reiterated in some of the op-eds this morning about the Republicans.

First the Republicans have no plan for reducing the deficit and balancing the budget. That's clear in the math. They have no strategy or plan for investing in America and providing jobs for Americans. They have no plan for providing for the needed things in America, like education, infrastructure, unemployment, and so on down the list.

They have a plan for Medicare and Social Security which is simple, privatize it to the Wall Street. They have no plan for Medicaid except moving it back to the states who can't afford it. They have no plan for growing America into the future and in the global economy. They have no plan for anything beyond tax cuts and eliminating government.

Ok, I'm biased, obviously, but just read their interviews and their speeches and look at their record in Congress. Have they done anything in the last two years? Have they done anything in this Congress outside of repealling healthcare we all now like very much? Have they offered anything other than the old agenda and rhetoric rehashed?

And that's what Obama went after in his speech. Let's not forget a very important point. It was President Bush who for eight years never balanced the budget when Clinton handed him a surplus. It was Bush who increased the deficit more than any president in history. It was Bush who pushed through tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations adding $1 Trillion to the deficit.

It was Bush who put two wars on the government's credit card (deficit) for over $1 Trillion. It was Bush who gutted government agency to corporate agenda putting corporate friends in power in the agencies, which precipitated the BP oil blowout. It was Bush and Cheney who used the White House for a political campaigns (Hatch Act violations). It was Bush who oversaw the financial market bubble and bust, and passed the first TARP bill for $700 Billion.

When folks talk about the "last ten years" they focus on what Obama inherited without reminding where that came from, a Republican President and most of those years a Republican Congress. They are the very people they argue caused the problems but the Republican conveniently deny it was them. They have all that blood on their hands and it doesn't wash off.

And Obama reminded them of that. But rather than harp on it, he said it's time to move forward. So let's do that. And now the onus is on Congress to follow what Americans already now and the President told you. It's about America and Americans, not politics as usual. And you can bet if you don't we'll remind you if the President doesn't.

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