Thursday, January 28, 2010

More on SOTU. Still Looking for the Impossible.

It was, truly, a good speech. I did not agree with everything the President said nor did I agree with everything that he proposed. I am glad that he finally emphasized the condition that the country and the economy was in when he took office, and I am glad that he discussed some of the accomplishments and successes of his presidency to date, and I am delighted that he pointed out the responsibility of the Republican Party for holding up legislation essential to this country.

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.

1 comment:

  1. Well Kyra, you seem to be starting to understand the problem but if you think many Americans are going to understand that disjointed rant then you're sadly mistaken.

    However, when you start to hit on the idea that the people are the problem you do make some sense. I'll try again to lead you in the right direction on that issue. The mindset of the American people is hugely different from that of Canadians. The American people are conditioned right from the cradle with old glory up their collective asses. They don't have the propensity to be critical of the status quo and therein lies the problem. America's ideals are old and worn out ideals which can't work anymore in this 21st. century. Socially responsible government is essential and as long as Americans see that as socialism then there will be no progress.

    There is no commitment to appropriate and common sense ideals. The reason I know this is true is because even the good and rational ideas Obama trumpeted were not enough to get a huge majority. Rather than a candidate squeaking in with a 55% majority after the country has nearly been destroyed, he should be coming in with perhaps 70% or even 80%. Another way of seeing the truth is in the fact that the people are so uncommited to change that it's entirely possible that the Repubs will sweep in with a huge majority the next time.

    Something needs to be done about the American mindset obviously. If you read my earlier post on what is wrong with your country and where it stands in relation to the rest of the world's rich country, you should be getting the message by now. Your country is heading in the direction of Mexico and there is a point of no return. The middle class disappears and then the power is placed in the hands of the upper classes and the poor lose any ability to change the downward spiral.

    In my opinion the best thing you can do is try to educate the American people to the plain facts that you are no longer a nation to look up to. Your majority have simply become second class citizens. When Americans start understanding that then maybe their anger will be reawakened. Short of a revolution, which is next to impossibe, nothing is going to change until the people take to the streets.