Please take a look at my analysis of the full speech, which was released about an hour ago. Also, if you want to look at a scorecard from last year’s State of the Union, look at this HuffPo checklist from 2010.
Let the liveblog begin.
…OK, just got the penetrating Chris Matthews insight of “women like to wear red at events like this.” It’s going to be a long night.
…This is not a bad speech, it’s just one that is about a country I don’t really recognize. It uses a JFK-style rah-rah pose on American greatness, but it basically declares the recession dead and makes the financial industry invisible (literally three references, all backwards-looking). It’s an “accentuate the positives, eliminate the negatives” speech.
…This will be a typical Presidential address. He believes himself to be pragmatic, doesn’t think that anything positive can be done, and so he makes his fights on protecting the worst ravages of what a Republican House can do. Hence “don’t cut the budget on the backs of the most vulnerable.”
…The cabinet filing in now. Rep. Al Green has arrived at the address from 1973.
…The President makes his way, with Cantor and McConnell behind him. Cantor still didn’t find a date. Just like high school.
…The President thanks the Supreme Court justices who managed to break away from Bingo night and show up.
…Obama congratulates Boehner, and the 112th Congress.
…Quick acknowledgement of the empty chair for Gaby Giffords, in the Arizona section.
…This is the Reader’s Digest version of his Tucson speech. And really, it’s a throwback to his 2004 DNC keynote. One people, one nation, and all that.
…And everybody pretends that really they want to work together by applauding the line about working together.
…Weird energy at the beginning, nobody seems to know when to jump up or applaud.
…Yay, the stock market is back, corporate profits are up! And Obama does say that the measure doesn’t and shouldn’t end there.
…And now, our Democratic President launches into praising an extension of the Bush tax cuts. Incidentally, 50 million Americans are worse off after that tax cut deal.
…This is a very strange address, in terms of the energy in the room.
…Obama is trying to strike an optimistic tone here, after the sobriety of the realities of a working class with a changed future.
…Finally, a standing ovation on “we have to be better than everyone!” Ah, exceptionalism.
…If you can explain how reducing our deficit helps us “win the future,” well, OK. Tell it to Britain. How did their deficit reduction work?
…Here’s the “Sputnik moment” passage. The science actually was there in America when Sputnik launched, FWIW.
…The clean energy piece is the closest we’ll get to a mention of mitigating climate change, but of course it’s completely around frames of beating the crap out of every other country.
…Seriously, what the hell is going on with this speech? I’ve had open mic nights like this.
…The oil subsidies bit was the first time Democrats and Republicans had to part ways.
…Here’s the “clean energy standard” piece. 80% by 2035 is an aggressive standard, but as I said, “clean energy” is a really broad set of energy technologies.
…Even the education stuff going over like a lead balloon.
…Here comes the Race to the Top piece. Race to the Top was a way to bribe states at a time when they didn’t have the funds to sustain themselves. As a result, that money didn’t go to states that had to fire lots of teachers.
…I wish that Race to the Top actually was the work of “local teachers and principals.” It really wasn’t. Teachers unions were told they would lose thousands of members if they didn’t comply.
…I appreciate that he said we have to treat teachers with respect, but Race to the Top really doesn’t reflect that. And “reward good teachers and stop making excuses for bad ones” assumes there’s some kind of AP ranking for teachers, or a Sagarin computer.
…Here comes the only time “banks” gets mentioned in the whole speech: “That’s why we’ve ended the unwarranted taxpayer subsidies that went to banks, and used the savings to make college affordable for millions of students.” We sure showed them!
…Education is important, but the belief that it’s all that ails our economy is really just not true. It’s a dodge.
…That’s a very good defense of the DREAM Act. Sadly, it comes a month after the vote.
…I’m happy that infrastructure gets its entire piece. There’s not one Republican who will clap for this, which is abominable.
…There actually is no specific call for an infrastructure bank here. That’s what Obama proposed last year.
…”Without the pat down.” Haha sexual violation LOLZ!
…”Lobbyists have rigged the tax code” is pretty strong.
…Corporate tax reform here gets a very strong response, but the devil is in the details.
…says South Korea trade agreement would “support” 70,000 jobs. Note the phrasing.
…here’s the “reduce government regulations” two step. He will eliminate regulations that “put an unnecessary burden on businesses” but he won’t touch anything on any law passed on his watch, essentially. The “reduce regulations” thing is a press release.
…the olive branch on health care is to reduce 1099 reporting requirements. Which gets bipartisan applause. But that’s as far as Obama will go.
…At least he’s consistent: on health care, Obama says to “move forward.” Just like torture!
…Here comes the budget crap. There’s no sense that we needed deficit spending during the recession, that it’s the only thing that kept the country out of depression.
…Nobody applauded the five-year spending freeze. Savvy!
…Boehner just got the joke-bomb about the engine.
…This is the key part on the actual budget deficit:
The bipartisan Fiscal Commission I created last year made this crystal clear. I don’t agree with all their proposals, but they made important progress. And their conclusion is that the only way to tackle our deficit is to cut excessive spending wherever we find it – in domestic spending, defense spending, health care spending, and spending through tax breaks and loopholes.
This means further reducing health care costs, including programs like Medicare and Medicaid, which are the single biggest contributor to our long-term deficit. Health insurance reform will slow these rising costs, which is part of why nonpartisan economists have said that repealing the health care law would add a quarter of a trillion dollars to our deficit. Still, I’m willing to look at other ideas to bring down costs, including one that Republicans suggested last year: medical malpractice reform to rein in frivolous lawsuits.
To put us on solid ground, we should also find a bipartisan solution to strengthen Social Security for future generations. And we must do it without putting at risk current retirees, the most vulnerable, or people with disabilities; without slashing benefits for future generations; and without subjecting Americans’ guaranteed retirement income to the whims of the stock market.
And if we truly care about our deficit, we simply cannot afford a permanent extension of the tax cuts for the wealthiest 2% of Americans. Before we take money away from our schools, or scholarships away from our students, we should ask millionaires to give up their tax break.
It’s not a matter of punishing their success. It’s about promoting America’s success.
…How many times has the President mentioned medical malpractice reform in passing as a meaningless “solution” to health care spending?
…That’s the key line on Social Security, one I’ll be quoting again and again. We should fix it “without slashing benefits for future generations.” Now, maybe there will be a redefining of “slashing.” But that’s important.
…”Simplifying the individual tax code” is another funhouse mirror for the parties: they see what they want to see.
…best smoked salmon reference in the State of the Union since William Howard Taft’s “Lox-a luck” in 1909…
…I’d entertain an option to get rid of the Commerce Department, I’m not sure why it exists…
…”if a bill comes to my desk with earmarks inside, I will veto it.” That takes care of far less than one percent of the budget, President McCain!
…America’s standing has been restored… because we say so! I’m not sure where the proof of this came from.
…”we are responding with the strength of our communities, with respect for the rule of law, and with the conviction that American Muslims are a part of our American family.” Um, Gulet Mohamed?
…”Begin” doing a lot of work in that “we will begin to bring our troops home” from Afghanistan line
…I don’t even recognize the foreign policy he describes in these paragraphs.
…I do appreciate, however, the parts on South Sudan and Tunisia. Note that dropping bombs on Iraq didn’t spark a revolution against authoritarian regimes.
…This country loves them some troops.
…”Starting this year, no American will be forbidden from serving the country they love because of who they love.” Then there’s the part on bringing military recruiters and ROTC to campuses.
…”And yet, as contentious and frustrating and messy as our democracy can sometimes be, I know there isn’t a person here who would trade places with any other nation on Earth.” After a speech that basically says we have to catch up to the rest of the world which is leaving us behind. UStotheA!
…This is the part where I got the sense that this was a speech from some CEO at Davos. It’s just not the reality of where America is in 2011. Upward mobility is far behind other nations. We can pick out one or two people to embody the American dream, but the truth is that dream is dying for millions upon millions. And “winning the future” without acknowledging that reality won’t get it back.
…I understand this “national greatness” shtick, but it speaks of a credibility gap. It doesn’t reflect the experience of a lot of Americans. They may have tricked themselves into believing it, but this is mythology.