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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.