Wednesday, January 27, 2010

SOTU open comments thread 

This is a scheduled post going up while I am in the air (Allah and Continental willing, of course). Consider it an open thread to comment soberly on the State of the Union and the policy pronouncements therein, mock any of the people in the audience, denounce the news coverage thereof or talking heads elaborating thereon, or declare your yearning for morning in America.


By Blogger Charlottesvillain, at Wed Jan 27, 08:33:00 PM:


1)All problems are still Bush's fault, and the anger at Bush resulted in the shocking upset in Mass.

2)Made some mistakes in "process," despite worthy goals. We need to communicate the greatness of our ideas better.

3) We have heard the concerns of the American people, and promise to freeze all spending, except for existing stimulus, planned stimulus, the new jobs program, the new TSA security mandates, the new IRS enforecement mandates, the blank check to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, continued mortgage subsidies (and purchases), and the bailout of California.  

By Blogger Dawnfire82, at Wed Jan 27, 08:58:00 PM:

My prediction: 'Overwhelming opposition to my health care agenda is no reason to stop it, my subjects! I mean, fellow citizens! I intend to placate you by hanging the rich and allowing you to feast upon their flesh!'

Friendly tip to others: Stephen Green makes it a habit to drunk blog these things. Often worth a chuckle to drop in every few minutes for another sarcastic observation.


By Anonymous John, at Wed Jan 27, 09:05:00 PM:

Wish Bama shows up drunk and just says ... "I freaking lied to you honkies, and you trusted me suckers. Get over it. You fucked up people. Now blow me."


It'll be Bush's fault in some way, and the GOP's fault for not backing his communist agenda. Some derivation of I fell yo pain chump, and some garbage about hope. And that Health Care is somehow our moral obligation.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Wed Jan 27, 09:23:00 PM:

How about all of the money spent on bailing out the Auto Industry, hence the Unions. Will we ever get our money back? Probably never. I guess some institutions are more "equal" or deserving than others.  

By Blogger Dawnfire82, at Wed Jan 27, 09:28:00 PM:

"Because of the steps we took, there are about two million Americans working right now who would otherwise be unemployed"

HAHA! He actually ran with it? The mythical, made up 'jobs saved or created' bullshit number that his minions couldn't agree on last week? Lovely. And to think that people got mad at Bill Clinton for telling a lie about his sex life.  

By Blogger JPMcT, at Wed Jan 27, 09:32:00 PM:

The man makes me viscerally ill when he opens his mouth...so I am just tuning in to hear Bob McDonnell...so far I have not thrown up in my mouth too much catching the last few lies...er, paragraphs, of the STFU speech.

What a COLOSSAL load of bat guano!!!

Does he and his party REALLY think the average American is THAT stupid??!!

25 tax cuts?

Saved 2 million jobs? (what...in the government)

"Wall Street" pays back (again) into a fund for "communities" (why dont they just write the check directly to ACORN)

"High Speed Railroad" financed by The REcovery ACt (he actually thinks he's FDR!!)

Eliminate Capital Gains Tax for businesses.....that's an easy one, since there will be no capital gains!!

"The Lost Decade" of GW Bush.

Have any of you ever met a pathological liar...a person who actually believes what he is making up??


By Anonymous John, at Wed Jan 27, 09:33:00 PM:

Keeps talking about 2 years ... 7M jobs ... how many in the last year? second place? you practically hummed the wang of the Saudis on the apology tour. C'mon, you're killing me.

Lame speech thus far, for anyone who is listening.  

By Blogger HKatz, at Wed Jan 27, 10:02:00 PM:

Althouse's live-blogging is pretty amusing:

"8:26. Small businesses are good. (Come on, talk to them.) Big business sucks though. We want to help small business grow... so it can become big business and then we can hate it."  

By Blogger Dawnfire82, at Wed Jan 27, 11:05:00 PM:

I think Charlottesvillain and I were both right (or not wrong, at least).

But aside from the apparently predictable political content, it was terribly written and full of contradictions that should have at least gone unsaid.

'Bush's tax cuts are bad, but hey, remember when I gave 95% of you a tax cut? But we can't afford that.

We must help our small businesses, but viciously beat small business which actually succeed and become big businesses!

I demand that colleges lower their tuition rates at the same time we subsidize tuition payments, ensuring their continued payment at current or higher rates!

Here's a bunch of anecdotal references without any names or identifying features, so no one will believe them!

And in the same spirit, here are unverifiable, essentially invented magic numbers about jobs and deficits!

And by the way, nothing that has happened since I took office is my fault, except maybe for not 'explaining health care' better to you imbeciles; so if you all just quit bitching and do what I say, things will be fine.'

Policy contradictions, made-up marketing bullshit, and characteristic arrogance are the salient features of this speech, alongside some swipes at the other branches of government for not doing what his Imperial Majesty would have preferred. Oh, and asinine straw men couched in false terms of bi-partisan compromise.

For instance: "From some on the right, I expect we’ll hear a different argument – that if we just make fewer investments in our people, extend tax cuts for wealthier Americans, eliminate more regulations, and maintain the status quo on health care, our deficits will go away. The problem is, that’s what we did for eight years. That’s what helped lead us into this crisis. It’s what helped lead to these deficits. And we cannot do it again.

Rather than fight the same tired battles that have dominated Washington for decades, it’s time to try something new."

Anyone hoping for a change of direction should be terribly disappointed. We've been promised more of the same; denigration of opposition, ideological blinders, an overactive government, and a frightful disconnect from reality.

This guy is a fucking awful leader. And he should fire his speech writer.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Wed Jan 27, 11:28:00 PM:

Trust? Transparency? LET'S SEE YOUR DOCUMENTS!!!! He is hiding something from the very outset and wants us to ignore it.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Wed Jan 27, 11:31:00 PM:

If he really wants to demonstrate his commitment to bipartisanship and the spirit of cooperation, get rid of Pelosi (the mafiosa) and Gibbs. They are the ones peeing in the pool!  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Wed Jan 27, 11:33:00 PM:

I liked the part about excluding lobbyists and special interest groups when only last week he held secret discussions where the union participants bragged that they had saved 90 billion dollars in taxes for their members who had Cadillac health care planes.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Wed Jan 27, 11:35:00 PM:

We are going to increase exports and create new jobs! Wonderful! But, are they going to be union jobs with the additional costs and corruption, or are they going to be competitive American jobs?  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Wed Jan 27, 11:49:00 PM:

As I watched the Kenyan speak, I focused over his shoulders and watched Dumb and Dumber. There was a point when they both looked to their right with concerned looks. What was that?
I also couldn't help but notice that Joe "don't try to give me cash, talk to my son" Biden looks a lot like Prince Philip, Queen Elizabeth's husband.
Any one do a side by side?  

By Blogger Dawnfire82, at Wed Jan 27, 11:55:00 PM:

The ineptitude in the White House, beginning with a mis-translated diplomatic gift and series of horrific faux pas with the British, is truly epic.

That big dramatic statement about the Supreme Court's retarded decision which will allow foreign corporations to corrupt our system of government? Did that seem a little wrong to you? A bit far-fetched?

Good for you, because it was wrong.

Well, that inner warning bell you've demonstrated apparently doesn't exist anywhere in Obama's administration. For such an absurd and easily verified untruth to make it into what is probably his biggest speech of the year... wow. I'm not sure there's a word to describe a fuck up of that magnitude. And what's really frightening is that NO ONE CAUGHT IT. An administration full of lawyers (the President is a lawyer! so is the Vice President!) and no one thought, hey, this doesn't seem right, I'd better check.

But don't just take my word for it. There is a concise explanation available. Behold.  

By Blogger Noocyte, at Thu Jan 28, 02:05:00 AM:

I had the pleasure of watching this Festival of Falsehoods from a Frank Luntz focus group in Philadelphia. I'm the bloke in the tweed blazer, decorating Frank's shoulder, and not getting to utter a fracking word. And that's probably just as well; my responses would probably have made Justice Alito's gentle little reproof seem tame.

This POTUS is a dangerously disingenuous dilettante and a growing disgrace to the office. The fact that his rhetoric appears to be tacking toward the center offers little hope, but that it represents a grudging and belated acknowledgment that the tenor of the Nation is turning against his statist ambitions. Not that I have any illusions that this will precipitate any substantive change in his centralizing tendencies, mind you. But it will signal to any who are truly paying attention that his Moment has passed, and we need to move on (har-har) and elect some sensible people who will be more cattle and less hat (thank you, Massachusetts!).

The VA Governor was splendid, and his choice to speak before an audience was very astute.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Thu Jan 28, 09:09:00 AM:

Was it my set? The guy just looked kind of yellow? I fiddled with the color balance and wow he was yellow. towards the end of the ramble again at least on my set there was a tape rewind that made him go android with a short. Don't know if it was intentional but that really for me was special.
He said he never quits but he seemed so down and out. Needs one of his hollywood director folks to show him the ropes about facial animation.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Thu Jan 28, 09:34:00 AM:

Excuse me, I have to puke........  

By Anonymous Mad as Hell ...., at Thu Jan 28, 09:44:00 AM:

Obama turned the State of the Union into a campaign speech. Compared to 2008, he mostly just reshuffled the deck of his talking points with a few updates. Reactions to it will differ, depending on where you sit politically.

Most on the left will say they liked it. If you're on the left, the tone was right. Obama had his mojo working. Old favorites like Bush were bashed. Perennials like banks were bashed. The Supreme Court got added to the hit list. Gays got a shout out. Necessary buttons on current hot topics got pushed: jobs, small business, fiscal responsibility, deficit reduction, terrorism. Doesn't Michelle look lovely? Obama's speech appeared effective as a pep rally for Congressional Democrats -- they got to cheer a lot. Keeping this herd together was probably Obama's biggest short-term priority.

Most on the right will hate this speech. So much of what got said was BS that wouldn't stand up to fact-based cross examination -- just like the 2008 campaign. We still have a looming train wreck from government spending far exceeding the ability of high earners to pay for it all. We still have Obama's Big Agenda weighing down the private sector.

I expect most independents just heard noise, if they listened at all.

Like Obama's campaign speeches, there was actually a lot of vagueness on specifics. Implicitly, Obama is giving up on Healthcare and Energy ... at least in their current form. Am I wrong? If so, that's a big takeaway. To my ears, he was actually pivoting off Healthcare to set up blame on Republicans for not achieving the magical benefits of his plan. Obama opened the door to nuclear and off-shore drilling -- possibly the only specific thing he said all night.

Amazingly, Obama claimed credit for Stimulus working -- he claimed credit for 2 million jobs. We're now in the Sugar Rush phase of Stimulus which will carry into November -- this is by design. Obama is using massive borrowing to juice 2010. Will unemployment come down by November? Developing ....  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Thu Jan 28, 09:58:00 AM:

I see CC is trolling racist comments now, under an Anon tag.

CV nailed the talking points cold, as far as I can tell. The president and the radical left are not giving up, and neither should we.

The only interesting thing about the speech, to me, was how nervous he seemed to be at the outset. He spoke quickly, more than normal by a lot, and his mannerisms seemed unsure. As he drew some applause his arrogance took over and he started really playing to the crowd, looking for laughs. It was surreal to see a president of the United States look like a teenager. A verbally adept teenager, yes, but still...it was weird.  

By Blogger Diogenes, at Thu Jan 28, 10:07:00 AM:

It is time now to think about impeachment.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Thu Jan 28, 10:12:00 AM:

Impeachment! For what? Lameness?

I like Jules Crittendon's take:

"After last night’s pander-and-switch fest, I’d be amazed if he maintains any support on the left at all. They were already going soft on him, had been for a while, at levels beyond any questioning of George Bush by the right even well into the second term, when Iraq was exploding and he was pushing that ill-considered immigration thing.

This is beginning to look like the six beers and several shots presidency, where the voters eagerly went home with someone who looked pretty hot … and available!"

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Thu Jan 28, 10:28:00 AM:

Another interesting thing about the speech was that the president mischaracterized the recent Supreme Court decision. Was it ignorance or demagoguery? Is he dumb, or anti-democratic?  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Thu Jan 28, 10:33:00 AM:

The poor dems! They got nothing that they'll be able to take home to answer the angry voters. There were just so many places where what Zero said and what the dems have down in the past 3 months were inconsistent.
The unions can't be happy; he'll create 2 million new jobs in exporting, improve education and exclude lobbyists, all without saying whether the unions would be paid off.
I liked the point about recording/publishing all contacts with lobbyists, especially with Biden sitting right behind him. Does that mean we'll know every time Joe has a drink with his son and the names of the others present?  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Thu Jan 28, 10:55:00 AM:

You know Obama is in trouble when he is depending upon Biden to mount a defense.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Thu Jan 28, 11:10:00 AM:

Pretty cool that Noocyte got to participate in a Frank Luntz focus group. CNN had a copycat process going, and I was astounded to see that the independents had a lower view of Obama's speech than even the Republicans at many stretches. Wild to think that independents could be even less enthused about the policies and actions of this administration than Republicans.  

By Blogger Purple Avenger, at Thu Jan 28, 11:34:00 AM:

Wild to think that independents could be even less enthused about the policies and actions of this administration than Republicans

Republicans understood what Obama was politically, so nothing that's gone down is particularly shocking to them. They started out with low expectations and the delivered product was as perceived.

Indies feel they were lied to and sold a bill of goods. They had high expectations. When all they got was a turd sandwich, they were disappointed.

There's two things going on with the indies. Disappointment with results and anger at being lied to (psychologically they must blame Obama for lying rather than their own poor judgment for accepting the lies of an obvious con man)  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Thu Jan 28, 12:50:00 PM:

I think that's right. My wife is a registered Dem, but really is very independent. She voted for McCain, but was tempted to vote Obama right up until the last minute, and only the fear of big tax increases finally persuaded her. She is totally rabid on Obama now, and she very much feels like she was (nearly) sold a bill of goods. If indies, and I'm calling her one for purposes of agreeing with your point, are anything like you say--and she is-- you have hit on something. That's a theme the GOP might consider how to explicitly exploit.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Thu Jan 28, 01:27:00 PM:

Was Obama's shot at the USSC really a very clever plot thought up by Emmanuel and Axelrod? Can't Obama now claim at his impeachment that the Supreme Court in removing and jailing him is simply retaliating for his comments?  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Thu Jan 28, 01:48:00 PM:

The USSC doesn't impeach. The House does.

An impeachment is an indictment. The Senate then conducts the trial. The Chief Justice acts as judge at the trial.

But O's shot at the court was silly. That ruling was 5-4. And I suspect most people thought the 4 were smoking too much good weed.

Read the first amendment. It limits Congress not companies or anyone or any association. Perhaps it should say something else but it doesn't.


By Anonymous SouthernRoots, at Thu Jan 28, 01:48:00 PM:

The shot at the SC was uncalled for. If it was out of bounds to shout, "You lie", at a joint session of congress because it was a lack of decorum and that the president was an invited guest, then Obama's hit was just as "vile" in its rudeness to the invited SC guests.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Thu Jan 28, 01:58:00 PM:

I thought the SOTU was supposed to be an assessment not a list of what the President wants.

But there are no rules.

As the camera panned across the chamber I thought again, as I have for decades when I see our rulers assembled.

That mankind would be better off if the roof collapsed.


By Anonymous Anonymous, at Thu Jan 28, 03:08:00 PM:

Here's a helpful lefty blog round-up, focusing on Klein and Chait. Including our comments here as typical of the right and right center reaction to the SOTU, no one was impressed by the speech it seems, lefty or righty. It's a long time until 2012, so Hillary and Bill will probably start triangulating her out of the administration sometime around mid-year.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Thu Jan 28, 09:34:00 PM:

@dawnfire82 11:55

It is true that the SC decision says that foreign entities may not donate or contribute to a political party, but does the law prohibit those foreign organizations from financing and influencing within a domestic organization? I'm thinking a Saudi Oil company might have too great of influence in something like Exxon, which can now donate unlimited corporate funds into broadcasts. That's where I thought Obama was going with that.

Just a thought...  

By Anonymous John, at Thu Jan 28, 11:38:00 PM:

I thought of George Soros ...

Obama was simply 'not presidential' ... he's still a lightweight even a year into the job. He performed poorly, and should have been more humble. We put up trillions of the 'evil taxpayer's money' and it failed to create jobs. He should have apologized for F'g that up, and presented a lucid explanation of what is coming next, and why.  

By Blogger Tigerhawk Teenager, at Fri Jan 29, 08:42:00 AM:

I watched the speech on YouTube, and after I read the comments here. I think the comments might have prematurely colored my opinion of the speech, but that might have been a good thing. It made me a more skeptical listener than it otherwise would have.

Firstly, YouTube also gave me TiVO-esque rewinding power, which was nice if I didn't quite catch a particular section. For example, I heard him say "We've already identified 200 billion dollars in savings" when it later turned out to be only 20. LOL

Secondly, I liked his bit about nuclear power and drilling more, and his point about "even if you doubt the science (even though it was a little ballsy to use the phrase 'overwhelming scientific consensus') behind climate change, you can't deny that investing in more efficient, greener technologies is a good thing, and whoever leads that front will lead the world.

Thirdly, he DID blame Bush for a mess he inherited (which is pretty true), and he DID seem to place less emphasis that he doubled the deficit in an eighth of the time (which is bad), but the first point IS true, and the second *was* based on a need (although one could argue that a stimulus wasn't neccessarily the best way to do it, rendering the deficit unneccesary.)

Point the fourth, it, like most speeches nowadays, was 60-80% filled with fluff and shout-outs to swing states. Not terribly cool.

Fifth, his point to Republicans that it's not leadership and it IS immature to block every single bill is a valid one. One could argue that there are many bills that this should be done for, but there have been lots of bills that have been blocked just because they've been put up by Democrats.

Sixth, and most important point of all, let's hope he actually tries to follow through, especially on his sentiments that endless campaigning and a "Red vs Blue" mentality should come to an end, if we actually want to get anything worthwhile done.  

By Blogger Dawnfire82, at Fri Jan 29, 09:56:00 AM:


It is true that the SC decision says that foreign entities may not donate or contribute to a political party, but does the law prohibit those foreign organizations from financing and influencing within a domestic organization? I'm thinking a Saudi Oil company might have too great of influence in something like Exxon, which can now donate unlimited corporate funds into broadcasts. That's where I thought Obama was going with that."

#1 That seems conspiratorial, and #2 the petroleum industry is (as you might imagine) wrapped up in the strategic interests of the nation. That they would try to throw an election for a guy that they have to live under on behalf of a bunch of foreigners is beyond speculation. It would also destroy relations with the Saudis if it ever became known (God forbid it become public).

It's not a realistic fear.

Also, I'd forgotten that Obama's staff deliberately accepted illegal foreign contributions, pleading ignorance. Taken along with the basic untruth of what he said, as well as his personal destruction of public financing for campaigns, he looks even more like an ineffectual bully.

"Fifth, his point to Republicans that it's not leadership and it IS immature to block every single bill is a valid one. One could argue that there are many bills that this should be done for, but there have been lots of bills that have been blocked just because they've been put up by Democrats."

I'd be interested in seeing some of these.

Aside, it's also immature to block judicial appointments just because the appointee was a member of the Federalist society. Plenty of room for throwing stones on this topic. But to assign blame to everyone but yourself is even more immature, as it doesn't have the thin cloak of being good politics.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Fri Jan 29, 10:12:00 AM:

THT- the interesting thing about the "you can't block everything" criticism is that it swings both ways. You no doubt know that Republicans have introduced five separate health reform bills and over thirty amendments to the Senate bill, during the consideration process the Democrats went through of their nationalization of medical delivery and payment. Not one bill was allowed to the floor, and not one amendment drew Democrat support.

In ordinary times, one could describe President Obama's one-sided attack on Republicans, an attack that looked reasonable to you, as disingenuous.

But these are not ordinary times, since the Republicans are entirely beside the point in the debate. The Democrats don't need a single GOP vote to do anything.

So, the president is the very worst kind of politician. He's attacking bystanders, and he's accusing them of crimes his own party is most guilty of.

The Democrats are far more the party of "no" in this Congress.  

By Blogger Tigerhawk Teenager, at Fri Jan 29, 10:43:00 AM:

"I'd be interested in seeing some of these."



Criticize the source if you want, I just Googled an example I knew about and picked the first link that explained it in a decent amount of detail. Also, I don't like Al Franken any more than you do.

And to the Anon above, I'm not really a Democrat, or even (terribly) liberal, so just to set the record straight, you won't find me praising the Democrats for very much. But arbitrary "Team A" vs. "Team B" politics bugs the crap outta me, and it's true that both parties are (and pretty much always have been) guilty of that.

And this is directed at nobody in particular: I don't like anybody in office right now. The Democrats are silly, ineffectual, and generally promote policies that make the bloated, disgusting, bucket of lard that is the federal government today that much more bloated, disgusting, and lard-y. The Republicans, on the other hand, have too much religion and are more preachy than I'd like. I think they need to stop making religious arguments for stopping or writing legislation because a) policy should be based on logic, not faith, and b) it's personal anyway. But other than that, I typically subscribe to the Republican and Libertarian end of the spectrum.  

By Blogger Bomber Girl, at Fri Jan 29, 07:44:00 PM:

THT, you are a stripe off the old (ahem) Tiger.


By Anonymous Anonymous, at Fri Jan 29, 08:46:00 PM:


"#1 That seems conspiratorial"

No kidding. We are talking about Exxon and Saudi Oil! I wonder why any rational person might be suspicious (er, "conspiratorial" as you put it). Maybe its because our asses still hurt.

"It's not a realistic fear"

It wasn't a realistic fear until the Supreme Court made its decision. Now I am concerned, and for good reason.  

By Blogger Gary Rosen, at Sat Jan 30, 02:41:00 AM:

Anonymous 8:48: I presume you were outraged that BO blew off public financing and raised a ton of money from foreign sources, right?  

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