State of the Union Open Thread

Although I tend to agree with my friend Paul Zummo, the Cranky Conservative, that the State of the Union address is our annual self inflicted ritual of boring torture, I did have the State of the Union on as background noise while I went about other tasks.  I was amazed at what a self-indulgent exercise in venting it mostly was.  Things haven’t gone Obama’s way, and last night he decided to engage in a little Presidential talk-therapy.  The tedious length, reminiscent of some of Bill Clinton’s efforts, indicated that this was an undisciplined opportunity for Obama to lash out at his opponents.  Three more years of this should be as much fun for the country as my last root canal was for me.

Two points struck me as particularly odd.  Obama telling Democrats in Congress that this was not a time to “head for the hills” in panic over the looming elections.  This is the type of statement that he might make to them behind closed doors, but certainly not in a State of the Union address so as to remind the nation that Democrats are in panic mode.  Doing so will not calm jittery Democrats in the slightest.  The second point was his reopening the issue of gays in the military.  I could just hear Blue Dogs from Republican areas thinking, “Well thanks Mr. President for driving another nail in my coffin in November!”  Obama has obviously decided that if he is going down, he will do so as a champion of Liberal orthodoxy.  I doubt if this will please the Democrat members of Congress more rooted in electoral reality.

Those are my thoughts, what are yours?

19 Responses to State of the Union Open Thread

  1. Zak says:

    I think “gays in the military” actually helps the Dems in senate races, because it’s one thing that might actually increase the turnout for urban libs.

    I missed the last third of the speech, so I can’t comment on the whole thing. The one proposal that really bugged me was student loan relief for going into “public service.” As if some bureaucrat in the General Services Administration is doing a great service to the country that needs an additional reward beyond job security, great benefits, a good salary, and a defined benefit pension. WTF! Why should we borrow money from China for that?

  2. cminor says:

    Dissed banks at least four times, by my count; insurance companies at least once.

    Blamed Bush at least twice.

    Not much in the speech that isn’t stock in every other speech he’s given since he started campaigning. Maybe a couple of attempts to recast himself as a centrist.

    Nice dodge of responsibility for TARP.

    “I am ending the war…in about the same time frame as it probably would have ended anyway” I know that strategy; it gets attempted almost every time I give my kids housework.

    Not a remarkable piece of oratory, though it coulda been worse. I’m assuming the Presidential Fan Club in the media will hail it as the new Gettysburg Address; would that he had taken a page from Lincoln and gone for brevity.

    VA’s Gov did a respectable job (definitely better than last year’s response,) but might have come down a little harder on the transparency issue and the locking out of the opposing party in drafting legislation.

  3. c matt says:

    I thought that Bobby Flay’s ribs should have won the throwdown, but then I am more partial to spicy rather than sweet pork ribs. It boils down to a matter of taste.

    And it was about time Marque got axed from Worst Cooks.

    What … there was something else on TV better than the Food Network?

  4. Kevin in Texas says:

    Amen, c matt! I’m glad I wasn’t the only one watching the Food Network instead of the SOTU! I agree, too, on spicy BBQ instead of sweet!

    By far the most offensive thing I’ve seen about the SOTU last night was the President’s unprecedented direct, frontal attack on the SCOTUS. It shows how petty and vindictive he thinks, and it shows an incredible lack of respect for the separation of powers created by the US Constitution. Some Constitutional legal scholar he is, eh?

  5. c matt says:

    It is amazing how regional BBQ is. I can’t believe these folks haven’t heard of the best smoking wood in the world – mesquite. They keep insisting on hickory or apple/maple.

    (To be precise, there are at least three different ways of cooking that people call BBQ – (1) using heavy sauces for basting while cooking, probably what most think of as BBQ; (2) grilling, where you use a hotter fire and open flame; and (3) smoking, where the fire is usually cooler (low to no flame) and the choice of wood is most important).

    Constitutional Scholar + Harvard = disaster in the making.

  6. Donald R. McClarey says:

    (Guest comment from Don’s wife Cathy): I let Don watch the State of the Union speech for me. I was at a financial aid workshop at the HS with my oldest, fetched home my youngest from CCD, and then listened to the President’s speech as “background noise” while retro-gaming on the computer via DOSBox. I did spot a link on Drudge that listed the longest & shortest State of the Union speeches for each President from Johnson on; Obama’s was right up there with LBJ’s & Clinton’s longest speeches.

  7. Tito Edwards says:

    Completely missed the State of the Union.

    I was attending a question and answer session with Cardinal DiNardo regarding the Anglican Ordinariate here in the U.S.

    Major points:

    1. Need to establish an Ecclesial Commission ASAP via the USCCB to begin the process of forming the U.S. Anglican Ordinariate.

    2. Then need a bishop appointed for said ordinariate.

    3. Many things that needs to be done would be made easier to accomplish if numbers 1 & 2 were done immediately, ie, begin the process and have a shepherd to guide that process.

    4. A bunch of other stuff that I will be reporting later on… lots of inside information that I need His Eminence to approve of before posting!

  8. Terry says:

    c matt — get Tito to ship you some pecan (that would be puh-cahn). It’s vastly underrated outside the Texas Gulf Coast.

  9. c matt says:

    It wouldn’t be very far to ship, since we live in the same city. Although I like mesquite better, pecan is good – and makes one heck of a pie!

    The O ran for over an hour I hear. I read the text of the speech so didn’t get the nonverbals, but I was shocked at the dig at the Supremes. I guess the O doesn’t like Marbury v Madison if it might mess with his agenda.

    Anchoress seemed to have a pretty good take on it. The speech itself was rather mid-level – not great, not a complete disaster in itself, but there were a lot of WTF? moments – he seemed to criticize the very things he himself has been doing for years as if he never did them. And that whole “Washington” thinks this, or does that and it has to change – as if HE isn’t the embodiment of DC. What was up with that? I’m beginning to wonder if he isn’t a bit schizophrenic.

  10. Gabriel Austin says:

    On gays in the military, why is it [I know why. I’m just asking] that no one addresses the question in real life. Thus, what of master sergeants who might be gay given authority over new recruits?

  11. Big Tex says:

    I was at Mass.

    Re: BBQ… Mesquite is king when it comes to wood choice.

    The regionality of BBQ is a curious thing. In Texas, beef reigns supreme. In the deep south, it’s pork. I’ve spoken to Alabamans that don’t view beef as real BBQ. (He has been forgiven for his transgression.) Additionally, sauces tend to vary regionally as well. Give me a spicy, rather than sweet sauce. Although, I respect the joint that offers no sauce, i.e. the attitude that “Our meat can stand on its own.”

  12. Terry says:

    Nice Houston contingent on this blog. I’m from Pearland, and the barbecue in the area’s one of the big things I miss most.

    As for what I guess we’re supposed to be talking about: And that whole “Washington” thinks this, or does that and it has to change – as if HE isn’t the embodiment of DC. He just told an audience, I believe here in Florida, how great it is to be out of Washington. I agree that it’s a bit contrived and disingenuous.

  13. Zak says:

    Gabriel Austen,
    Because male master sergeants already have authority over female recruits in boot camp, do they not?

    The criticism of SCOTUS by a president is not unprecedented. Jackson routinely flouted SC decisions (and was reputed to have said something along the lines of “John Marshall has decided. Let him enforce it.”). I don’t think Obama’s response, as immature and incorrect as it was, is quite of the same level. When a pro-life president criticizes Roe, he’s not disturbing the separation of powers.

  14. Mike Petrik says:

    I didn’t see the SOTU. They are seldom worth listening to. But my understanding is that the criticism directed toward the POTUS is not because he criticized the Citizens United decision, but because he unfairly mischaracterized what it said. Given the inordinate efforts undertaken in crafting and vetting the speech, it is not plausible to suggest the mischaracterization was unintentional.

    Andy Jackson had his attributes, but he behaved like an ass. His 200 year old example is pretty weak precedent.

    Finally, gentlemen understand protocol. A president does not use the occasion of the SOTU to take a misleading cheap shot at those who voluntarily present themselves as a demonstration of respect for your office.

    In other forums, go ahead and criticize SCOTUS opinions. We all do. But try not to lie about them.

  15. restrainedradical says:

    I’ve heard that mesquite imparts too strong a flavor.

    Besides the scolding of the SCOTUS, the bank tax, and possibly the education tax credit, I didn’t find anything objectionable. I noticed that when he spoke in favor of free trade agreements, only Biden and the Republicans applauded.

  16. Tito Edwards says:


    Biden only clapped because he wanted more light in the room.

  17. Donald R. McClarey says:

    Biden would have applauded Obama if Obama had belched.

  18. Donna V. says:

    I was engrossed in a book and did not watch the SOTUS. However, I have very strong feelings about barbeque – I favor spicy ribs, and prefer beef to pork. There, I have weighed in on a very important issue. 🙂

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