Friday, January 29, 2010

The State of the Union

One thing I'm sure we can all agree upon - the man can control the room. I can't remember ever seeing a President so relaxed in the pulpit. And that was the thing of it - he was preaching, and not only to the choir. He had something to say for and about everyone, the right, the left, the voting public and the elected officials.

It was refreshing to hear a call to excellence, and to have that call framed in thoughtful prose.

Still and all, there were a lot of laughs last night, at least by those of us sitting on Douglas. Stick around, and listen to what we were thinking/saying/wondering:

TBG had David Gregory and his friends at NBC on the screen while we waited for the show to begin. I miss Tim Russert. He never made me want to pull my hair out by the roots. But Mr. Gregory has an annoying tendency to speak in uber-phrases.... making giant pronouncements that cannot be refuted because he's moved on to the next topic without a backwards glance. Wednesday night was no exception. What do you make of his statement that : "Unemployment is 10% but everyone knows it's much higher." Really? Certainly, there are those who are no longer applying, those who've given up, those who are underemployed, but everyone doesn't agree on the figures.... and anyway, who the hell is everyone????? Can you tell that these blanket statements make me nuts??

TBG and the Big Cuter and I love noticing Obama's continuing homage to Aaron Sorkin and West Wing. As Mr. Obama began to quote the Constitutional mandate that, "From time to time, the President shall address the Congress" TBG and I smiled, remembering the Secretary of Agriculture remaining behind in the Oval Office in the episode entitled "From Time to Time". Even the cadence was the same.

As nasty as this may sound, and don't think I haven't considered that before including this next note, I really think that Barbara Mikulski looks like a muffin.


Did Nancy Pelosi have a cold? First she's wiping her nose with a daintily folded white hanky. Then she's screwing her face up, trying not to sniffle. Then she's sucking on a lozenge. Did she forget her flu shot?


Watching her behind the President was only slightly less annoying than Vice President Biden's constant head nodding and perfectly capped teeth.


And then we had to wonder, was there a sign held up by a Democratic page, ordering the minions to CLAP, the way production assistants do on game shows? It was kind of eerie the way they were in lockstep, at least at the start of the speech. Of course, every once in a while the Republicans were up too. Could there be bipartisanship? Be still my beating heart.


I really think that the camera should stay on the President all the time. If they're going to focus in on individual legislators, then I think the network ought to have the decency to tell us the names of the camera's darlings. Some we recognized: Joe Leiberman's nodding away.....DiFi looking elegant.... Boehner and his spray on tan. But who was the skinny dark haired guy in the blue suit on the aisle? And what about the large woman clad in yellow? Did she not look in a mirror before she left home? And the fellow who was texting or tweeting or checking the scores.... didn't they make the same announcement they make in the movies about turning off electronic devices?


There were actually some policy issues that hit us directly. We'd have benefited from a 65% cut in Cobra premiums – and we're in a demographic that doesn't usually get help from policies proposed by Democrats.

I love that he's not abandoning health care reform, and that even the Republicans stood up for that line. I'm confused. Didn't they just kill it?

"The best anti-poverty program around is a world class education" was probably my favorite line in the speech. Using Junior Colleges' support as training facilities is brilliant. As blue collar jobs vanish, parents can't teach what's needed as perhaps they could in the past. The JuCo's fit that niche quite nicely, and at an affordable cost. And Arne Duncan's plan to reward successful schools, setting our sights on excellence, is a wonderfully novel concept.

Of course, the chanting of "We're #1" in the halls of Congress was somewhat upsetting.

Spurring manufacturing strikes a chord in this daughter of a manufacturer. Americans do well when we create product instead of wealth.

His call for true transparency by posting all earmarks on-line is a brilliant melding of technology and outrage. Give the geeks something really important to do – pore over them and give us something real on which to focus our outrage.

I like ending tax breaks for companies that send jobs overseas, even though, in general, I think cutting taxes on businesses large and small will result in more and better jobs.

Of course, the Republicans couldn't clap for that - those companies are the ones who are funding them. They sat during the call to make clean energy profitable, and when Mr. Obama called out the lobbyists.


Mr. Obama was an equal-opportunity scold. He spanked the Supreme Court and the Joint Chiefs in the same speech. That takes chutzpah.

And speaking of the Justices, didn't Ruth Bader Ginsburg looked pissed? G'ma makes that same face, and frail observers quake in its wake.


I didn't know the blimp could get inside the Capitol; the overhead shot, thought vaguely vertiginous to some, reminded us of the June Taylor Dancers, without the legs. I thought it was pretty.


Did anyone else notice a noise in the chamber at 11 minutes after the 2nd hour he was speaking? Nancy and Joe looked to their right..... but the camera didn't follow.


And so, once again, President Obama has explained himself to me, has taken on the big challenges, has faced the consequences and continues to move on. I'm falling back in love.


  1. "...falling back in love." Me, too! Well, I never fell out, really. I wonder, did Nancy Pelosi tear up a couple of minutes into the speech? I was watching her and I think that's what happened. That makes three of us in love. And Uncle gotta love him; I think he sincerely loves his job as a public servant and he's entirely comfortable in that room. It's too bad about his scalp problem. It's mostly just squalid watching our government operate, isn't it? Good post! Were you blogging as you watched?

  2. Did she tear up or was she stifling a sneeze? That was the exact moment I wrote about; you are good! Loved watching Barack and Joe at the Georgetown/Duke game today; they are "real guys" and I love it.

    I was typing notes as the speech went on, then worked on them on Thursday for your reading pleasure on Friday. My brain is too feeble these days to hold all those thoughts and remember them later to post.


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