Thursday, January 28, 2010

State Of The Union

Of course if I stream the State of The Union address on my blog, I'm going to do a post on it. Watching the SOTU address has always made me feel like a grown-up and a good citizen, especially when I've been paying attention to the new before hand and know what's going on enough to have some thoughts about it. I noticed that Mr. President dropped a number of bombs last night, aimed at bipartisan participation in the Senate, primarily the cooperation of Republican senators. He says, "...what the American people hope -- what they deserve -- is for all of us, Democrats and Republicans, to work through our differences, to overcome the numbing weight of our politics...," touching on the efforts of bipartisanism that he strongly spoke on during both his campaign and his early days in the Oval Office. He also acknowledged those attempting to work together, like Judd Gregg and Kent Conrad. Some of that effort towards cooperation has paid off, but there is still a lot of work to be done it seems. And Obama was not shy about calling unacceptable behavior out the Senate. He also proposed a number of reforms and presented a few ideas that I would guess he's been pushing in Washington for a while but either no one outside of Congress had heard them or he didn't think they were getting appropriate traction without being mentioned to the national audience. Some of these ideas include:
  • $10,000 tax credit for 4 years of college + Pell increases
  • Strengthening trade relations in China, South Korea and other parts of Asia and also Doha, Qatar
  • Increasing exports of American agricultural goods
  • A budget freeze in 2011 for "discretionary" government programs
  • Tax increases for wealthy and cuts for middle class
  • Requiring lobbyists to disclose contact with administrators AND congressmen
  • And repealing "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."
President Obama was not without his faults last night, often catering to the room which by design was probably mostly Democratic (you could see only half the room standing at certain time, while the other half never seemed to have their chance to stand) by calling out pettiness and hinderances to progress. He addressed Sotomayor's proceedings, "The confirmation of well-qualified public servants shouldn't be held hostage to the pet projects or grudges of a few individual senators, "and recent Congressional election campaigns, "Let's reject the false choice between protecting our people and upholding our values." He also addressed the securing of nuclear weapons, mass-media corruption and economic and innovation competition with countries like China, Germany and India.

There were certainly some things I disagreed with last night (1 trillion spent in 1 year and recovered in 20???) but overall I pretty much get that what we've elected Barack Obama to do, he's attempting to do. And I can respect that. Plus the ending of his speech was like something straight out of a movie, "We don't quit. I don't quit," and I like movies. :)

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