Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The State of the Union 2015

FYI, here's the full text of President Obama's State of the Union address last night, except for a few ad libs (here). I don't want to go through it point by point, but I did want to make an observation:

When Barack Obama took office six years ago, our economy was in free-fall. The Bush Administration had caused the worst economic collapse since the Great Depression, turned budget surpluses under Bill Clinton to record-breaking deficits, and mired our country in two unnecessary and enormously expensive wars (one based entirely on a lie, and neither one very smart).

Before Obama even took office, Republicans leaders met and agreed to stonewall everything. They agreed to oppose everything our first black president might want, no matter what it turned out to be, and they followed through with that, with every single Republican politician goosestepping in unison.

Heck, even when the Democrats agreed to adopt the Republican health care plan, Republicans followed their orders and immediately turned against it. Their own plan!

This was entirely about politics. This was about their own political ambition. This was their cynical and very destructive plan to win back the presidency in 2012. They cared not at all for our country, and certainly not for its citizens. They cared not at all about the economic collapse their own policies had caused. This was entirely about making Americans so miserable that they'd elect a Republican again, despite past results, in despair.

Meanwhile, they argued against everything Obama proposed. They fought him on everything. They dragged their feet and even deliberately sabotaged the economic recovery. Their goal was to bring America down, so that Republican fortunes could rise. (Isn't that treason? It sure sounds like it to me.)

How did that turn out? Well, here's how President Obama put it last night: "At every step, we were told our goals were misguided or too ambitious; that we would crush jobs and explode deficits. Instead, we’ve seen the fastest economic growth in over a decade, our deficits cut by two-thirds, a stock market that has doubled, and health care inflation at its lowest rate in fifty years."

He's absolutely right. Everything the right-wing claimed turned out to be wrong, if not a deliberate lie. Well, no surprise, huh? After all, everything Republicans said during the Bush years also turned out to be wrong - completely, disastrously wrong.

As I've said before, I even invested my own money under the assumption that right-wingers would continue to be wrong about everything - and that was the best investment decision I've ever made.

I've been disappointed with Obama, sure. It's not that he's more conservative than I'd prefer (though he is). After all, I don't expect any politician to agree with me about everything. It's just that, for years, he's bent over backward trying to appease his political enemies - people who would not and will not help repair our country no matter what he does. And, of course, Democratic politicians in general are too timid even to stand up for their own accomplishments.

But after eight years of complete and utter disaster under the Republicans, where everything they told us turned out to be a lie, and then six steady years of improvement under the Democrats - despite nonstop foot-dragging, opposition, and outright sabotage from the GOP - how could anyone choose the former over the latter? Sure, Barack Obama is black, but isn't it about time to get over that?

I just don't get my own country anymore. Like the rest of the world, I'm wondering if we've gone completely insane. Well, we're not there yet, but the Republicans are. And... somehow, many people seem to be OK with that.


PS. To be 'fair and balanced,' maybe I should mention the Republican response?
In a disparity that crystalizes the Republican Party's struggle with immigration reform, its official English-language response to President Obama's State of the Union address did not mention the issue -- but its Spanish-language response did.

Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA) didn't mention immigration once during her official Republican response, which was aired nationally Tuesday night. A pledge that the GOP would "work to correct executive overreach" was as close as she came.

But Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-FL), who delivered the Spanish-language GOP response, did bring it up. Democratic opposition research firm American Bridge pointed out the discrepancy in an email to reporters.

"We should also work through the appropriate channels to create permanent solutions for our immigration system," Curbelo said, as translated by American Bridge.

Remember, Curbelo was originally supposed to just translate Ernst's remarks into Spanish. When that got them some negative press, they backpedaled slightly, but it was still supposed to be her speech. And she didn't mention immigration reform at all.

Funny, huh? Here's Mother Jones:
On Tuesday morning, Mother Jones reported on an incongruity in the Republican plan to respond to President Obama's State of the Union speech Tuesday night. The headliner for the GOP is Joni Ernst, the new Iowa senator and rising conservative star. The party also scheduled Rep. Carlos Curbelo—another new member joining Congress this month and a Cuban American [of course!] hailing from Miami—to deliver a Spanish language translation of Ernst's response.

The problem? Republicans were not letting the Latino guy say anything of his own. And there's this: Ernst has a long record of opposing Spanish in government communications. She endorsed making English the country's official language during her 2014 campaign, and as a county auditor in 2007 she sued to prevent voter forms from being offered in any other language besides English.

Immediately following the publication of the article, Republicans tried to change course. ..

In recent days, National Review, USA Today, Slate, MSNBC, the Miami Herald, and Tampa Bay Times all reported that Curbelo's remarks would be a translation of Ernst's rebuttal. And Curbelo's office confirmed on Tuesday that the congressman would be reading a translation of Sen. Ernst's remarks.

The House Republican Conference notes that Curbelo will replace references to growing up on a small town Iowa farm with anecdotes from his own life. But, according to Curbelo's office, when it comes to policy and politics, he will be speaking Ernst's words—just in a language she doesn't want to be used by the government.

Apparently, Republicans think that they can say something different to Hispanic-Americans than they say in English, without anyone figuring that out.

1 comment:

jeff725 said...

I didn't get a chance to watch the SOTU (working), but I heard about the crack-back Obama laid down on the Republicans:

"“I have no more campaigns to run,” Obama started to say, but was cut short when Republicans in the audience began cheering the remark – each one undoubtedly hoping that Fox News would pick their face to focus on triumphantly in the days to come. But then everything went hilariously wrong for them.

Not missing a beat, Obama ad-libbed, “I know because I won both of them.” A line that brought Democrats to their feet and an even greater applause."

Congratulations, Mr. President. You just won the Blake Griffin Award:

Predictably, the conserva-trolls are all butt-hurt over the retort. Typical; they can dish it out, but they can't take it.

And he's still got ONE MORE SOTU to go... :)