The way forward

I had every intention of writing a scintillating review of the State of the Union and the dueling GOP responses to it. Really, I did. I had plenty of time to read the president’s speech — the National Journal published a draft copy someone leaked to them, which may or may not have forced the White House to do the unheard of: It released the “as prepared for delivery” text more than an hour before the speech and with no embargo. Last year, we got the “as prepared” text at 8:52 with an embargo for the start of the speech at 9:01:30.

So I read the speech and pronounced it nothing the Republicans could whine about without looking even more idiotic than they usually do, not that that would stop them. I watched the speech, comparing the “as prepared” text with what was actually said so my staff could get the words right (not much difference, in case you’re wondering) and pronounced the speech not very well delivered.

But still, I wanted to write about it here. I wanted to tell you how John “Orangeman” Boehner scowled and didn’t applaud when Obama mentioned things like not being careful, as we cut unnecessary spending, not to do harm to our “most vulnerable.” Guess Boehner doesn’t give a shit about the most vulnerable. He also didn’t seem to care for Obama asking for millionaires to “give back their tax break.” Quelle surprise.

I watched neither the Paul Ryan response nor the Michele Bachmann response because, frankly, there is nothing new they could say. Ryan repeated the same Randian bullshit he usually spews and Bachmann, well, as a friend of mine says, she makes Sarah Palin look like William F. Buckley. And honestly, who has the time to rebut the lies, misinterpretations and just plain ignorance that seems to be her cause celebre.

But alas, when I arrived home last evening, I had no Internet! The horror of it all! And since I was dog tired, I watched an episode of Brad Meltzer’s Decoded (Confederate gold, if you must know) and promptly fell asleep.

And now that my Internet has returned, I find I really don’t care anymore. I glanced through a few blogs to see what my fellow conservatives were saying, and it was mostly “he’s no better than a Republican,” “Obama calls for a return to the glory days of 50 years ago” and my personal favorite “SOTU was the speech of a man who has given up.” That’s my favorite because, ironically, I thought most of these blog posts were the blog posts of poseurs who have given up.

One blogger even said that s/he didn’t like the speech but it will probably be “well-received” by the public.

And that’s a bad thing? It made my head spin, and frankly, I have not had enough coffee yet for head spinning.

Others condemned it as a “motivational speech.” Excuse me, but I think we need one about now. The lunatics have taken over the asylum, and the rest of us are inclined to bury our heads and wait two more years before we come out and see what damage they’ve caused, and that’s the exact opposite of what we need to do.

OK, so I think a 5-year freeze on non-war spending is a stupid idea too, but there are places to cut waste. Let’s start there.

The president spent a lot of time on education and innovation — and believe me, these are the only two things that will save us. In fact, here’s my favorite bit from the entire speech:

And if we truly care about our deficit, we simply can’t afford a permanent extension of 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.

Now, asking is just too nice. We should take it back. They. Do. Not. Need. It and it doesn’t create a single job. Educating our children does. Innovation does. Rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure does. And those are all things the president promised to fund. We must keep our eyes on the prizes and hold his feet to the fire. Even if Republicans continue to obstruct — we must make that obvious and not let them grab the national narrative for their lies and half-truths.

My other favorite lines were these:

We need to teach our kids that it’s not just the winner of the Super Bowl who deserves to be celebrated, but the winner of the science fair. We need to teach them that success is not a function of fame or PR, but of hard work and discipline.

Boy howdy, that’s true. Maybe this year, instead of inviting the Super Bowl winners to the White House, Obama can invite the science fair winners.

In fact, to every young person listening tonight who’s contemplating their career choice: If you want to make a difference in our nation, if you want to make a difference in the life of a child — become a teacher. Your country needs you.

Boy howdy, again. Notice a theme here? Education. Our lousy education system and damage already done to it by conservatives is the major cause of our decline. It has produced large quantities of people whose knowledge base is severely limited in every subject. Only the very motivated student gets past that. And that’s on purpose — believe me, the conservatives would like to stop the motivated students from advancing, but so far they’re doing a good job of getting them labeled as crackpots instead of the congresswomen who think that John Adams ended slavery.

Sure, the president said some things aimed to appease the not-so-crazy Republicans, of which I think there are probably only 2 or 3. But that’s not the point. He wasn’t speaking to you and me, the peeps who know the score and want to get on with it. He was speaking to “the public” that blogger derided.  And I for one hope that public got the message.

If not, we really are doomed.