I am disappointed that he appeared to pander to the right by suggesting off-shore oil drilling and clean coal (an oxymoron if I ever heard one) rather than emphasizing alternative energy solutions. He deserved the laughter from both sides of the aisle when he said that:
"...we’ve excluded lobbyists from policy-making jobs or seats on federal boards and commissions."But he completely lost me when he suggested a partial freeze on government spending. Everyone knows that you do not freeze spending during a recession and saying that:
"...I know that some in my own party will argue that we cannot address the deficit or freeze government spending when so many are still hurting. I agree, which is why this freeze will not take effect until next year, when the economy is stronger. "I'm sorry, I would love to think that the economy will be strong enough in one year to handle addressing the deficit, but I do not think it will.
The real kicker for me, however, was his continued quest for bipartisanship. In various media appearances leading up to and since the SOTU, White House officials have said that now that the Republicans have 41 votes in the Senate, they have to work with the Democrats. They can no longer be obstructionist because they now bear some responsibility for what happens in Washington.
In an interview today, David Axelrod said:
"They [Republicans] either work with us or they have to pay the price for working against us."WTF? What price? Later in the same interview, as reported by Ezra Klein at the Washington Post, he said that:
"If they want to block everything, they will be held to account."He also said that:
"We are going to very visibly seek their support moving forward, and we will shine a bright light on them when they don't."
Excuse me. Pay the price? Held to account? Shine a bright light? This from the administration of the President who in his speech last night also said:
"...Look, I am not interested in punishing banks, I’m interested in protecting our economy. A strong, healthy financial market makes it possible for businesses to access credit and create new jobs. It channels the savings of families into investments that raise incomes. But that can only happen if we guard against the same recklessness that nearly brought down our entire economy."
The President's entire economic team was a part of the Wall Street culture that created the mess we are in. He spoke of "a small fee" to recoup some of what bailing out the banks cost this country, but the CEO's and other executives remain on Wall Street. Bernanke was just approved for another term. Geitner is his Secretary of the Treasury. The SEC has no teeth, no one has been charged with a crime, levied a fine, or forfeited their Hamptom estate.
Accountability? In discussing defense and security, he says that since 9/11 we have lost the sense of unity that we shared, saying that:
"...I am not interested in re-litigating the past. I know that all of us love this country. All of us are committed to its defense. So let’s put aside the schoolyard taunts about who is tough. Let’s reject the false choice between protecting our people and upholding our values. Let’s leave behind the fear and division, and do what it takes to defend our nation and forge a more hopeful future – for America and the world."Why on earth would anyone care about paying the price, being held to account, or having a bright light shone on them? Torture and other war crimes, assassination squads, unlawful detainment, unlawful wiretapping, kidnapping, and on and on and no one has been held to account. We are to move forward.
We don't get to pick and choose rules to abide by, what laws to follow. We don't get to decide whether or not we like how our taxes are spent and thus whether or not to pay them. We don't get to decide which tasks or chores we will or will not do while at work, but apparently political officials do. That being the case, why would members of the Republican Party reach across the aisle when, according to a Pew Poll released today--as reported by Ezra:
"...only 26% of Americans could correctly identify 60 votes as the numbers needed to break a filibuster. Another 25% thought 51 votes was sufficient, and 37% had no idea.
Similarly, 39% of Americans have no idea how many Republicans voted for health-care reform. Only 32% know that zero Republicans voted for health-care reform, at least in the Senate. For that matter, only 39% of Americans know who Harry Reid is."If most of the country has no idea or interest who is responsible for what is going on and sees only who is currently in office, then the Republican Party has no incentive to work with the President and in fact, has every reason to continue obstructing his efforts and ensuring that the country continues on a downward spiral not only until the mid-terms, but through 2012 as well.
Thanks for stopping by. Come back soon.