I enjoyed watching the State of the Union address on Wednesday night. (Picture stolen from Darren’s Facebook page. It made me laugh.) I liked the President's mixture of confidence and resolve and feistiness (you all know I love feisty!). I thought he got back on track with his message of what he wants to undertake in our country, and in the process, sent a clear message to the GOP that if they continue to obstruct every single item that he proposes, they will own part of the responsibility when the American people say that nothing is being done in Washington. Calling out the Supreme Court on their recent decision concerning corporate campaign donations was also a nice touch. (I understand that it is a free speech issue; I hope they can pursue this a little further and make sure there are limits.)
I was happy enough with that speech and his performance. Last night, I read the transcript and watched the video of his meeting with the Republican Caucus on Friday, and I cannot begin to express my sheer delight and utter glee at his response to their questions! This is why your supporters voted you into office, Mr. President, and I'd like to say "welcome back!"
It was masterful. With every lame question thrown his way, each question seemingly designed to make the questioner appear knowledgeable and ready to take on the Evil Socialist, he showed how much the GOP has underestimated him. The thing I liked about him from the very beginning was his incredible grasp of not only facts, but all the nuances of various issues; the guy really does take the time to study the issues and learn about all sides of them. Everyone knows that the most effective debater is one who studies the other side as well as their own, right? Well, not everyone, as was apparent in the stunned response from the right wing. Mike Pence, the moderator (he's from Indiana, but he's not my Congressman, and I don't claim him), actually stopped the session after Obama had gone a half an hour past his scheduled time; Fox News cut their broadcast of the session short. I think that was quite telling.
As much as many of us would like to see more of these sessions, I'm guessing that it will be a long time before we see another one...if we ever do. Somewhere, someone is asking "Whose bright idea was it to allow a fucking camera in there? Someone's head is going to roll!"
As each questioner approached him with talking point after talking point, he thoroughly dismantled their argument; when they threw out platitudes that we've heard time and time again from ClusterFox and their imbecilic talking heads, he threw them right back in their faces, even calling out one Congressman, Jeb Hensarling of Texas, by telling him, "I’ve just got to take this last question as an example of how it’s very hard to have the kind of bipartisan work that we’re going to do, because the whole question was structured as a talking point for running a campaign." The President was also quick to point out that this is happening on both sides, and I also acknowledge that--I see it happening with some of my own legislators (which reminds me...it's time for more emails to them).
By the way, I wonder if from here on out, all of Jeb Hensarling's friends are going to start calling him Jim? I sure would.
I also think it's time to give the teleprompter thing a rest, folks. People came to him with their questions they had thought about and written out beforehand; he answered them off-the-cuff, with no teleprompter and no notes. The guy knows his shit, you have to give him that.
With the State of the Union and this question and answer session, I believe he has shown that he is willing to listen to ideas from the GOP, but they obviously have to be good ideas, and the numbers have to add up. He outlined some of the ideas that came from the GOP that have been incorporated into the health care reform bill. The GOP continues to say that he is ignoring everything they are saying; that is simply not true (if I may quote Justice Alito). Of course, he's not going to give across-the-board tax cuts, so that someone like Warren Buffett gets a tax cut. Even Warren Buffett has said that he shouldn't get a tax cut! Wealthier Americans can afford to pay more in taxes proportionately, and I believe they should. If middle class Americans believe that a billionaire is entitled to the same kind of tax cut that they are getting, you might want to see your doctor about that brainwashing you have apparently received. That's just sad. Oh, and stand up straight, and get rid of that Vaseline. It's embarrassing to see you beg for it.
The President has effectively placed the onus on the GOP by showing that he's a reasonable guy willing to listen, willing to talk, willing to take phone calls, and willing to compromise in order to reach a consensus in order to get things done. If the GOP continues to block every attempt by this administration to enact legislation, they will only solidify their reputation as the "party of no." Remember, it was GOP Senator Jim Demint who said this about the President's health care reform efforts: "If we’re able to stop Obama on this it will be his Waterloo. It will break him." That doesn't sound like much of a willingness to cooperate to me. That sounds like someone who wants nothing more than to ensure that our President fails in whatever endeavors he undertakes, even if it is to the detriment of the American people. (It also sounds like someone who has their own excellent health insurance.)
There were flashes of humor, and moments of sarcasm. Whether it was backing off of a compliment in order to not hurt one of the attendees' reelection bid, or ridiculing the portrayal of health care reform as a "Bolshevik plot," the Pres was on a roll, and he was having fun. Why wouldn't he? Each attempt to shoot him down (and I give them credit for being a respectful bunch...I guess Joe Wilson wasn't invited) was unsuccessful and was repelled with skill and precision. Why? Because the guy knows his shit.
This is the Barack Obama who engaged and motivated a large segment of the population; this is the Barack Obama we elected.
I have never regretted that I voted for him. After this week, I am even more happy and proud to say that I did so.