Firstly, the State of the Union always seems too long. I suggest future presidents shorten them by taking out puffy, wasteful phrases, which do not tell us anything about the direction of the country and the current administration’s plans.
Obama’s speech was moderate. For those looking for words about gun control, disappointingly moderate. I would classify myself as being disappointed with the speech in this regard. After the shooting in Tucson, the State of the Union would have been an appropriate time to suggest the tightening of gun laws and regulating the industry as much as the toy industry. A simple suggestion of reinstating the assault weapons ban or suggesting there is no need for a Glock to hold 20 plus rounds would have been good enough, but Obama ignored the issue. He, like many Dems, is afraid of the gun lobby and what they can do to future election prospects. I think, if positioned confidently, a suggestion to make it harder for people to buy a gun would be widely accepted. A gun gives anyone the power to kill. I don’t understand why, in America, that power is so easy to come by.
The unique seating arrangement, which the media made a huge deal about in the days leading up to the speech, made for more interesting TV, but it was only an artificial show of unity between the two parties. I am sure the next day leading politicians in both parties went back to pointing the finger across the aisle. Either way, I think it should be required for politicians in one party to be seated with their opposing politicians. It is wishful thinking, but maybe the forced amalgamation of the two parties would start to be something greater than a show.
The Republican response was as expected. Let me paraphrase: The country is screwed if you and I, the decent Americans in this country, don’t stop Obama before it is too late. We will overcome this deficit by never asking for you or your company to give more money to the government than you currently do. Even though we have an unsustainable budget, what we need is not more money. We need to cut spending where we can, but overlook the biggest military and defense spending in the world. And raising taxes on households that make more than $250,000 a year would be too big of a burden for those homes to bear. Paraphrase over. Really, this response came as no surprise.
Did I watch the Tea Party response? Hell no, but I did see clips of its awfulness. Michelle Bachman didn’t look at the camera and it looked like her whole face had been injected with botox just a couple minutes before she stepped in front of the camera.
A couple highlights for me:
Watching Boehner fighting back the tears when Obama congratulated him, twice, at the beginning and end of his speech.
The teacher, Kathy Proctor, who was mentioned in the speech, turning to people on either side of her and saying, “That’s me.” The Daily Show did a hilarious couple minutes about this last Wednesday.