SotU – Good Speech, Bad Policy

Following up on my own post from yesterday, here’re my quick thoughts on the President’s State of the Union address last night.

  1. In general, I thought the speech was solid — rhetorically, not a masterpiece, but it accomplished what it needed to.  I was most impressed by the President’s solid instinct to generally avoid the rhetorical cliches that too frequently pepper our political discourse; early in the address, I thought to myself “he’s giving someone else’s speech”, but then he moved past it.  Good job.
  2. I was disappointed by the lack of focus on infrastructure investment.  $8bb for trains in Florida and California is great, but that will about pay for the environmental studies, and not much else.
  3. Likewise, I was disappointed by the promise to cut spending starting in 2011 (with the exception of defense spending, of course — I mean, how could we POSSIBLY feel safe with fewer F-22s?).  I’ll do Paul Krugman’s work for him and say again that SPENDING CUTS IN A RECESSION ARE THE WRONG ANSWER!!!  [There, I used 3 “!”s, so you know I mean it.]
  4. Last, I though the “guilt-trip-them-into-submission” approach to dealing with health care and the loss of the Senate supermajority was novel, but, yeah, when pigs fly. it’s sad how deeply cynical the GOP has become, but there it is.

As a special bonus, I’d like to offer a shiny new Sacajawea dollar to anyone who cares to produce a MST3K-style voiceover to Bob McDonnell’s GOP response.  I pretty much tuned this out after the “Sportscenter” reference.  Matski’s official fiance didn’t appreciate me, in my best North Carolina accent, trying my own soundtrack, so I need some help.   Here’s the line I started with: “He watches Sportscenter too! He must be a good man jus’ like me!” Really, Republicans?  Really?  America desperately needs a functioning opposition party that, you know, like, has ideas and stuff.  If you must have a sports reference, the GOPs current approach is something like “let’s show up at the field and just not play – that way, it won’t really be a forfeit, but we can’t lose the game either!”

So, all in all, a good speech, although I’m concerned at some of the specifics.  Probably most of them are throwaways anyway, so I won’t worry about it too much.