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In the wake

From last night’s state of the union address, it sounds like Barry got a personal coach.  Remember that meeting he had with the Big Dawg after the thumping the Democrats took last November?  The one where he had to figure out how he was going to eek out another stimulus package and extend the Bush tax cuts for the middle class?  I’m guessing it went a little like this:

BC: Whooo-weeee! You really fucked up. Fucked up good.
BO: {{rolling eyes}} So, can you help me sell this thing? And listen, I don’t have a lot of time, Michelle’s got some girl scout christmas party or something.
BC: Yessiree, that stimulus package was a *dawg*. What did Christina Roemer tell you?
BO: Do we really need to go over this? It’s in the past and I just want to move…
BC: {{louder and sterner}} What did Christina Roemer tell you?
BO: $1.2 trillion but…
BC: $1.2 trillion. And you had majorities in the Senate and the House. A *filibuster* proof majority in the senate. I never had that.
BO: It wasn’t that easy. Ben Nelson and Joe Lie…
BC: Know what? Excuses are like assholes; everyone’s got one.
BO: {{silently fuming}}
BC: I don’t know Barry. I spent the fall workin’ my tail off for you and the Democrats but I’m tellin’ you. People out there are ticked off.
BO: Yes and…
BC: And now you’re going to have to deal with Republicans in Congress. Shit, Barry, you can’t handle this job when you’ve got everything going for you. What are going to do when they’re probin’ your underwear drawer? You think Michelle’s got no sense of humor now, you ain’t seen nothing yet. Wait until your first congressional hearing.
BO: Can we just get on with it? We haven’t got time.
BC: Oh, I have all the time in the world. You’re the one with the ticking clock. We’re going to do this MY way from now on, you follow?
BO: {{nods}}
BC: You do exactly what I tell you. Because you’re forcing me to go out there and defend this piece of shit. From now on, when I say “jump!”, you say, “how high?” Got that?
BO: {{nods and rolls eyes}}
BC: Don’t you look at me in that tone of voice. I’ll just get up and leave you here. I’ve got people in Haiti who need me more than you do.
BO: {{Grinds teeth}} Ok. What do you want me to do?
BC: Grab a pencil and a piece of paper and write this down…

And so Barry wrote.  It probably sounded just like that SOTU.

There are a few problems though.  Like, where is the money going to come from now that he’s given Republicans everything they ever wanted.  And that math and science education would sound a lot more convincing if the R&D industry hadn’t just laid off more than 100,000 jobs in the last year or so.  Also, I kind of resent the notion that American scientists are not as good as our Chinese counterparts.  Chinese scientists are pretty good, don’t get me wrong.  They work hard and they never complain.  But they’re not better than we are.  They’re about the same.  I’ve known excellent, innovative, dedicated Americans scientists out there.  A lot of them are unemployed right now.  There are just a whole lot more Chinese and Indian scientists in Asia who will work for peanuts.  No science fair frenzy is going to change the ruthlessness of business.

So, that part of his SOTU was stupid.  You just might not know it if you haven’t actually worked in the R&D industry and are witnessing the devastation.  I mean, what middle class person who grew up after Sputnik wants to hear that our scientific infrastructure is being decimated by the machinations of the finance industry and poor labor laws?  Better to blame it all on teachers, who through no fault of their own, were not trained to be crack math and science geeks.  Not that teachers should get a free pass.

The rest of it was a pipe dream.  Sounds good.  Until you realize that this is Barry and those critters out there are Republicans.  So many opportunities have been missed in the past two years that this is all very anticlimactic.  It would take a politician a lot more skillful than Barry to carry this off.

One thing that did stand out to me though is that he steered away from cultural issues, especially those pertaining to women.  He did mention DADT, that his administration was dragged into, kicking and screaming.  But women weren’t on his radar.  At all.  We’re the biggest invisible majority  in the country.  Before the midterm, we heard a lot about Lilly Ledbetter, which while being a step in the right direction, was not anything like a paycheck fairness law.  Also, no mention of the conscience rule, which makes me wonder if it will be one of the rules that gets eliminated when Barry reviews the rule books.

What I did hear between the lines is that corporations are going to get a tax break, because, by golly, they still pay too much, even if they pay nothing at all.  And there’s going to be more deregulation because, well, I have no idea why.  It’s always been my belief that the corporations are not necessarily the bad guys here.  They wouldn’t be able to get away with so much bad behavior if the rules weren’t so lax.  But here we are, loosing more up.  Is Obama also going to deregulate stuff for working people and unions?  I mean, fair is fair.  And we haven’t even talked about tax reform, which I suspect will come in the form of dropping the mortgage interest deduction for the promise of something else that is new and shiny.

I can’t put my finger on it but something smells really evil here.  Barry talked about strengthening Social Security and not forcing people to put all of their money on the stock market, which sounds nice at first.  But couple that with deregulation and tax reform and what if we’re looking at dropping the employer contribution to social security?  Oh, sure, you can still have your contributions fully funded.  You just have to do it yourself.  Now, you have a choice!  You can make up the difference in the employer side contributions of social security or you can put that money in a 401K.  Doesn’t that sort of achieve the whole social security privatization goal that Republicans have lusted after without technically destroying social security?  If you’re older, you make up the diff in social security; if you’re younger, Wall Street it is!

I hope I’m wrong.

So, to recap: Barry taking notes from Bill.  Cleaning up his act and dropping the endless prepositional phrases.  He cut out the buzzwords when he saw that we were on to him.  Has been paying attention to what is important to Americans but can’t pull any of it off without simultaneously sticking it to us with more breaks to big business.

Well good luck with that.

As for Ryan, please, PLEASE, stop telling me how much better he was or better he was than you thought.  The guy has the hair and smarmy sincerity of a television evangelist straight off the 700 Club.  Basically his message was fear.  That’s because his target audience is older, conservative voters on fixed incomes.  He chided us for being soft and wanting to retire someday.  Nothing is free and we younguns are going to have to toughen up and build some character or we’re going to drag the old people into the gutter.  Is that what we want???

Divide and conquer.  We’ve seen this before people.  Spare me the nauseating adulation for Ryan.  He’s as transparent as a jellyfish but without the warmth.

42 Responses

  1. it’s snowing

  2. was some one praising Ryan? Where? I want to smack them.

    Erin Burnett said that Wallstreet liked the SOTU and gives it a B+. Now I am scared.
    Joe Scarborough keeps saying we have to cut Medicare and social security and Erin said he mentioned cuts and Medicare in one sentence so that was encouraging.
    not a word about cutting the war machine…..
    no democrats left that dare to give a good speech. They are all in thrall with the cool black guy who can appear to give a good speech, all fluffer-nutter, calories and no nutrition.
    And the republicans are all saying “look the guy can give a good speech Really, aren’t there any repugs who have the nerve to say he is boring and sounds like blah blah blah?

    • Yes, yes they were. I believe it was on the previous thread. You know, the usual suspects.

      • Oh I guess I have gotten really good at ignoring stuff, I have been doing it since november 2000.

    • His speech was a speech. Not all that exceptional. There were no memorable phrases, which was good if he was planning to roll out the bizspeak before the last minute editing.
      Like a lot of Barry’s rhetoric, it sounds doable at first. But there’s just enough vagueness to give everyone the impression that he is speaking just to them.
      Like I said, you’d think that this country has an emergency shortage of math and science geeks when nothing could be further from the truth. We have PLENTY of them. They’re unemployed. Pumping out more of them is not going to make the problem better. What we need is the set of conditions that were present during the past century that made great advances and entrepreneurship possible. And I didn’t hear a whole lot about that except making it easier for big companies to get out of their tax obligations.
      There was no discussion of more pell grants, a stronger safety net or leveling of the social hierarchy and pay inequities that make starting new ventures doable.

      • you make a good point about the math and science geeks, I never would have thought of that. The only geeks I thought we were short on was IT geeks and they are only sort of related.

        • There’s no real shortage of IT geeks– there may be a shortage of IT techs with Master’s degrees but that is crap perpetuated by the priests in the IT temples. To do anything– anything– involved in keeping a computer and a LAN running– takes two years of training at most. The military gets the job done with even less. The best IT people I’ve known were either ex-military, self-taught, or community college grads. The advanced degrees spent a lot time going to meetings, talking about business functions, or in some cases, distracted by the rigors of advanced mathematics– none of which will get your mouse to work or your printer to print.

          • I have no doubt that you are completely correct. What you say makes sense.

          • Exactly.

            The part they don’t tell you is that they can’t find “qualified” technical talent with expensive degrees willing to work for low salaries.

      • Agree with you RD. The idea that there is a shortage of math/science geeks is so ridiculous it hurts to laugh about it. Countless engineers have lost their jobs and just waiting for some to open up while still competing with immigrants (mainly from India) for the jobs here.

        Anywhoo, you are wrong about there being no memorable phrases — “Win The Future” , aka WTF

        h/t to Uppity Woman for pointing that out.

        • “Win The Future” , aka WTF
          h/t to Uppity Woman for pointing that out.

          lol. I love it.

          • When it comes to BO and social security I’m way more comfortable with “Fight The Future”

            h/t Mulder & Scully

  3. Thanks for the assessment, RD.
    Goals are important. But this “being number one” (again?) is not helpful. Number “one” is a by-product of doing something well. Our goals need to have something to do with the public welfare. We don’t need to be # 1 to meet our needs. The American obsession with being number one may indeed have something to do with our failure to meet our needs.

    • Our goals need to have something to do with the public welfare.
      I agree completely.

    • that could be the short version of Obama’s speech. “we don’t need to be number one, we just have to think so”.

    • I don’t mind the idea of us needing to be number one. I guess that makes me a bad liberal. But I think much of the world depends on us to protect them from bad actors that we have no choice to be number one in military and other measures that other liberals aren’t fond of. I have no mistaken high opinion about the ME or Russia to name a few areas of the earth that don’t like us. So I think being number one is useful in all kinds of areas. It would be nice if that included job availability, healthcare, class mobility, and a decent retirement for those of us who are not of the bonus class. And by a decent retirement I mean not having to live in low class housing and choosing between cat food and medicine.

      • There is a lot more to defense and peace than military might. Our misuse of military might can jeopardize peace and goodwill. We need work a lot smarter. We aren’t doing that well with “hearts and minds” work despite Hillary’s good efforts. If our leaders don’t care that much about our own citizens, they lose credibility everywhere.

        I’m not against being number one per se. But our goals need to be much more substantive.

  4. And that math and science education would sound a lot more convincing if the R&D industry hadn’t just laid off more than 100,000 jobs in the last year or so. …

    I mean, what middle class person who grew up after Sputnik wants to hear that our scientific infrastructure is being decimated by the machinations of the finance industry and poor labor laws …

    What I did hear between the lines is that corporations are going to get a tax break, because, by golly, they still pay too much, even if they pay nothing at all.

    It’s always been my belief that the corporations are not necessarily the bad guys here


    And there’s going to be more deregulation because, well, I have no idea why.

    How about they paid Obama, Pelosi, Reid, and just about every republican legislator wheelbarrows full of cash to make it that way.

    • Isn’t that a bit like blaming the candy for being sweet? Lawmakers don’t need to do everything a corporation says just because a company or industry hands them money.
      That’s why the accusations of corporatism especially against Hillary never rang true. What evidence was there that she was selling herself to them in exchange for anything?

      • there was no evidence she sold herself for anything, but she was also spitting in to the wind any time she tried to do anything in the way of protecting the people from gouging etc…
        Both politicians and corporations are too blame. While it is true that you can’t blame corporations for congress being greedy. But corporations can be good citizens. They don’t have to be unimaginative dolts who can only squeeze the that drop of productivity from a terrified labor force and take their millions are run before the shit hits the fan. They don’t have to buy politicians they don’t have to try and cost fix with other corporations.
        They are run by people who make choices and those choices are no more difficult than the ones that congresspeople make to take money so they can be reelected again two years later. Hillary Clinton is extraordinary. Most politicians are not.

        • well I will be surprised if anyone makes sense of what I just typed. That’s the problem when you change the sentence in your head while being in the middle of typing it.
          never mind.

      • Candy can’t help but be sweet – it’s like being gay, it’s not a choice. But politicians and businesses can make choices and for the most part, they are ones that don’t help the middle or working class.

  5. When push came to shove, I couldn’t listen to it. At the moment of decision, I switched off NPR on my car radio and plugged in my audible book about the life of Walt Disney, which had accompanied me through my gym workout. I can’t imagine wanting to hear anything that comes out of such a deficient character.

  6. The media loves it to pieces – all the headlines are enamored with “Sputnik”

  7. “. Also, I kind of resent the notion that American scientists are not as good as our Chinese counterparts. Chinese scientists are pretty good, don’t get me wrong. They work hard and they never complain. But they’re not better than we are. They’re about the same”

    This is the same meme that my computer anaylst/architect husband has been hearing for several years – the Indians are just smarter than we are; that’s why they pay them cheap and bring them over here to work; they are so smart that Microsoft built a huge campus in India. They are not smarter than we are. We have fine universities and colleges in this country. It doesn’t make sense. It’s a m eme to get out of paying proper wages to Americans.

  8. Robert Sheer of Truthdig called the speech : platitudinous hogwash .
    I have to agree.

  9. http://gunshowonthenet.com/2ALEGAL/Senate01081790.html

    Washington’s SOTU of Friday, January 1790 (they were smart back then. They gave the address on Friday night so everyone could be drunk or out whoring….well, except the women (of all races) but we didn’t count being even less human than male slaves.

    If you can get past the olde American speak, it is really quiet good and not just because it is very short.

  10. This is my favorite one sentence summary, from Firedoglake:

    Obama Ignores Actual State of the Union, Makes Nice Speech

  11. Well said, RD. And thank you for pointing out all the American scientists and engineers who are unemployed right now. They are as good as those from other countries, or better.

    And your comment about Paul Ryan was spot on!

    President Obama’s speech reminds me of the frosting some grocery stores use for the ready made cakes they sell. The frosting is sweet but you can tell it was made with Crisco and it leaves a bad after taste.


  12. The New Republic praised Obama’s speech as being so short on substance that it has confused the Republicans who were hoping for something to fight against.

    Dear lord, is that what we’ve come to? Praising a president for mouthing oatmeal?

  13. Just read that as of 12/30, there have been 729 waivers granted for companies and unions so they don’t have to follow the law regarding Obamacare. Looks like Obamacare is being being repealed for more and more “special” folks, next we’ll have extensions, then more extensions, probably depends on how long these “special” folks can afford to keep donating to the right political party.

  14. Did anyone else catch that Ryan said the Republican health care plan would have MORE health care for LESS money. Pay less and get more. Imagine that.

    I’m sure a politician would never lie to the American People…..

    /snark font

  15. I didn’t even think about listening to it, let alone watching it.

    I almost choked when I read the part about cutting things and using the money for – tax breaks for corporations. It was almost surreal.

    • He truely is a Republican. I’ve thot that since the primaries. Goddess help us if the Republicans figure that out.

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