« The governor's speech | Main | Downtown, again »

January 27, 2011


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

When Obama was elected, I had a naive idea that he would be transformational by the simple fact of his own uniqueness. Against all odds, America elected a biracial cosmopolitan, someone who by his very appearance challenged centuries of cultural and racial norms. If he accomplished nothing else, the fact of his election changed us forever.

As I said, the idea was naive.

Republicans seized the opportunity Obama wouldn't. The sheer brazenness of their lockstep opposition, the incessant demonization, and hysteria bordering on psychosis kept them in control of events. Obama catered and compromised, he curried favor with their base and lashed out at his own. He did everything but change party registration. It wasn't enough nor would anything ever be enough. Because there's a central fact in our politics today that Obama's biography cannot change. It's the control of our political institutions by one class, the rich. And if the rubes who vote for the interests of the rich ever figured this out, the jig would be up.

I'm not sure if the rich knew Obama would more gladly be their courtier than scourge but they weren't taking any chances. The sheer ferocity of their attack left nothing to chance. And so, here we are, both sides demanding spending freezes in the worst recession in modern history.

Of course, most politics is just theater. The entire SOTU address was little more than a high school pageant where toga-wrapped deities and beloved bromides compete for our uncomprehending attention. Obama said something about salmon and we wondered if we should eat more of that. Omega 3 oils or something.

At several points, Obama was nearly pooping rainbows and sparkles in extolling our fractious extended family, America. He didn't utter the word but the gist was clear: we are exceptional. We can do anything! We're number one! And behind him sat the glum weeper, John Boehner.

Let's be sober for a moment: we can't do anything we want. We can't even do what is minimally responsible. Because if we did, if we found out that government can actually make our lives better, we might break the hypnotic spell that binds untold millions to the fairy tale of benevolent, job-bestowing billionaires.

By the end, it was clear that "exceptionalism" is merely a cover for something much darker. It's the crazy glue of Americanism itself, paranoia. Because without jihadists to fear and French to mock and Mexicans to hate, who are we? We're simply ordinary humans whose lives are getting demonstrably worse while our media instruct us to look at bright, shiny objects. So the rich simply spook us with absurd tales from the crypt, and we cower and beg for their protection.

And Obama knows the score. He knows his second term depends on keeping this machinery running. And if the rich get even a hint of disrespect from this upstart, he knows he'll be toast.

Way to go soleri, you scared everyone off.

I liked the speech because of its soft brutality and hard expediency. America has but two choices in 2012. It is either Obama, or a cave of soul-sick moonbats scatting up the digs...

So yes Jon, Obama is playing defense.

Trying to hold on to the gains made in health care. He has no choice. There aren't any progressives in the streets nosily demanding single payer. There aren't any socialists marching on Washington demanding economic equality. The only vocal ire out there still issues from the oligarchs and their teabag stooges...

And that is what made this speech so brilliant. He played softly to the middle and did it a hard heartless way: By stealing Republican thunder.

And he stole it a lot...

No finer example of this exists than when he pounded the podium and said: Know this: I will not sign any bill that contains earmarks.

Anybody with a brain knows earmarks are a red-state herring. And that their abeyance will hurt red states as much as blue, if not more so. So by prime-timing this non-issue Obama launched a straight right-hand to McCain's face. Funny to see the old man stand and clap, not overtly realizing apparently, that he had been expediently excerpted. (Say goodnight John.)

So the game has moved on.

We are talking about two years of gridlock. And Obama is totally + totally right to steal the Right's talking points (and do nothing with them, just steal them (return is fair play)), and run like hell to the middle. The game now is to hold on to the small victories, let people grow to like The Affordable Health Care Act, and then hope he gets a Congressional majority again for another push...

Like it or not this is how progress is made in America. Because of the south, and the legacy of slavery, and the hate of the black man, the ship can hardly be turned at all.

So really....

The astounding thing about a waltzing confederacy of dunces, is not that it can't be lead brazenly about the dance floor, but that it can waltz at all.

Be grateful for small things...
After all, it could be raining bat scat.

Interesting to note that while the American government is insisting that Egypt keep the internet open during this uprising, the administration is pursuing the option for the American President to have a kill switch on the internet, should it become necessary here in the U.S. It is this type of two-faced lying that we have to deal with, which kept me from even watching the SOTU speech. He lied to me last year. Why on earth would I bother watching him this year? There are so many easy solutions to our problems that it is sad that, in the end, we'll do it the hard and painful way.

Instead of SOTU, it should be: HSFMFYG.

Here's Some Fresh Manure For Your Garden

I was never inspired by Reagan. He just seemed a doddering old fool to me, full of platitudes and good speechifying.

"We need to out-innovate, out-educate and out-build the rest of the world." - Barack Obama

Low expecatations. We need to put ourselves into a position of strength from where we can help the world to innovate, educate, build sustainably, and communicate honestly.

I dont see a future for the planet much less the inhabitants. We are all animal farm talking heads. All the stuff in DC is baloney. There isnt even a hint of sustainability for us. Hang on for a lot of foul air, scarce resources, more overpopulation,and everything that follows. There will be rioting in the streets. Off with the Kings head.
From the producers of "The Company."
cal and his dog spot in their motor hoke somewhere in the great Sonoran desert, whats left of it.

From the sweet season
I want to thank U all for the info.
But it all seems a little much as I travel down Abbeys Road seeking Ed's spirit. It's good to know that there are folks out there with big brains and imagination. I am re-reading City by Clifford Simak, where the dogs sit around the campfire and ponder if man truly existed. Look for me on the high plains where U can C for miles and not a house or pole in sight. Mas Tarde.
cal lash and his dog spot from their motor home somewhere in the vastness of space and time

A long time ago, in a country no more, the term "True Liberal" had a different meaning. It was a time when the populace understood that Liberalism was to the right of socialism and communism and not a leftist political philosophy at all.

True liberalism reared its head during the State of the Union speech. Words of progress were uttered, however, large corporate power has been maintained and enhanced the past two years. Reference was made to major health care reform passage, alleging help to middle America, but mostly enriching the health care industry at the rank and file's expense.

Meet the new boss same as the old boss.

I half understand the realpolitik of Obama co-opting right-wing talking points. I wish he did it less fervently, with perhaps a few hints of irony, and with a view to correcting some of the more toxic myths of our discourse. As a Geiger counter for the national mood, Obama excels. But this isn't leadership. It's pandering.

When Obama tells the nation that he's open to whittling away ACA to benefit corporate interests, he's waving a white flag in advance of the actual battle. This further confuses a nation that is already hopelessly confused about the actual legislation. Single-payer is not even on the table here. ACA is just modest reform that gingerly posits a few humane reforms and maybe somewhat effective cost containment. You don't expect the average citizen to man the barricades in its defense but you need to keep the rhetorical higher ground for the sake of the underlying principle. It's only government that can do this. Corporations have no incentive because their purview is the maximization of their own profits. Their interest and the national interest have never been more different.

Obama wants to play Reagan but Reagan had the benefit of a rich nation to loot on behalf of corporations and the rich. Reagan did enormous damage but he was twinkly-eyed and well-scripted. The absurdity of his lionization needs the corrective lenses of hindsight but Obama wants us to remember only the romance and technicolor, not the incoherent story-line.

Obama's Reaganesque vow to veto any bill with earmarks fails even as theater. There is no chance that any appropriations bill will be completely free of these minor add-ons. So, when Obama inevitably signs the bill, the right wing will scream jubilantly: Obama lied! Another news cycle will be dominated by their cynical hysteria and our collective tolerance for partial success will further weaken.

I understand how the right dominates with their huge megaphone differential. I understand the corruption of our national media. I understand the dispirited and marginal left. But I don't understand a president who capitulates as quickly as this one. Agree or disagree politically, Americans still want a president who fights from core principles. Obama not only doesn't fight, he appears bereft of any actual core. What does he believe? The presidency is a hard-fought prize. You either ride this bronco or you die trying. History is going to judge us regardless.

Set low expectations and your accomplishments will be guaranteed. Congratulations will be scant.

The President didn't say anything unexpected. I was hoping to be surprised but for some reason I felt as if I had read the script prior to his delivery.

What I hope for is that the Pres is pandering to the majority of Americans, giving a light hand job for Republican interests even, but behind closed doors is working for our country's future. This would include funding high speed rail, education (k-12 especially), and continuing the funding of intercity rail projects.

There already is talk that the President's doublespeak could spell trouble for very important rail projects in Mesa (light rail extension east) and Tempe's Mill Ave. street car rail project connection to the METRO light rail line. This would be devastating to continued transit ridership growth and dense, sustainable development. Similar projects around the country are on the same troubled course.

The President must find a way to prevent such devastating blows to the nation's infrastructure by, say, deep cuts into the defense budget. I say that even while contemplating re-entering military service after the DADT repeal is finalized (actually, I've pretty much already made up my mind).

I find current Republican representation, and anyone who calls themselves a Republican these days rather frustrating.

I just watched an episode of Real Time and one Republican (Rep. Jack Kingston) rejected another panelists view of evolution by saying that she was merely defining adaptation and not evolution. Unfortunately, many ill-educated repubs will take this and run with it, failing to understand that evolution is a form of adaptation.

This is an example of Republican wordplay - semantics - that fuels American ignorance. Particularly that which runs rampant in the Tea Party and other evangelical cults. Trying to explain global warming (climate change) to Rep. Kingston and other Republicans is just as befuddling; after all ya'll, it's snowin' like the dickens ova yonder on the right coast of the ol' U.S. of A.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Your Information

(Name is required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)

My Photo

Your email address:

Powered by FeedBlitz