Obama’s brief moment of SOTU honesty

Wait -- you thought I was serious? (AP Photo / J. Scott Applewhite)

Wait — you thought I was serious? (AP Photo / J. Scott Applewhite)

President Obama spoke for about an hour last night. If you’re the kind of person who reads this blog or others like it regularly, chances are you watched it. If not, chances are you didn’t (check the trend).

Anyway, the president updated the Congress as to the State of the Union because the Constitution says he has to, and he outlined a bunch of ideas that won’t go anywhere because that’s the way presidents typically choose to fulfill this mandate, particularly when their party is out of power, and especially if their party is out of power because their ideas got a lot of them defeated in elections held just a couple of months earlier. All this took Obama, in his penultimate State of the Union address, about an hour.

And for a few seconds out of that hour, we got to see what he really thinks.

It came toward the end, after paeans to not being “sorted into factions and turned against one another” and “recaptur(ing) the sense of common purpose that has always propelled America forward” and embracing “ideas that are practical, not partisan” and a “better politics” focused on “issues, and values, and principles, and facts, rather than ‘gotcha’ moments.” It came after he made a reference to having “no more campaigns to run,” and a few Republicans in the audience offered their predictably mocking approval, and Obama went off-script to jeer back: “I know, because I won both of them.”

(Democrats, you’ll be glad to know, responded with disapproving looks and gentle reminders about the uniter-in-chief language they’d been applauding all night. Or awkward, silent reflection about their colleagues who used to sit with them at these speeches back when they held the Senate … and the House.

Just kidding!)

For all Obamas’ talk about a “better politics” and memories of his now-10-year-old speech about there not being “a liberal America, or a conservative America … but a United States of America” — a speech to which he paid self-referential homage a couple of minutes before his ad-libbed dig — the campaign, the expressly partisan fight, is the only aspect of the presidency for which Obama has shown anything approach zeal or relish. He seems to regard the periods of governing in between elections the way former NBA player Allen Iverson infamously regarded practice: as something other than the event itself, something other than the reason he stands before us in the first place.

It is instructive that curtain-raising pieces previewing the speech by national news media, no doubt based on how Obama’s advisers had been framing the address, indicated the purpose of the speech was not to set the tone for two final years in office working on “practical, not partisan” ideas, but to frame the election, still more than 21 months away, to choose his successor.

That’s Obama, to a tee: the hyper-partisan indulging in partisan agonistes.

Reader Comments 0

146 comments
DirtyBird-Rise-up
DirtyBird-Rise-up

Some of these comments make me want to throw up! Are you folks working for the devil? I cannot believe how easy it is for so many folks to lie. This country suffers because you are weak and selfish and look to blame someone else for your problems.o

BSNBC
BSNBC

Obama has done more harm to this country than any of the recent wars!

PudHead
PudHead

RLOL Who is the party of "NO"......The loser left shows it's true colors.... again

lvg
lvg

Obama spoke to the needs of the middle class and how life has improved under his administration and how Congress could make things better for the middle class by giving more tax credits for childcare and more educational opportunities with better trade treaties with china nd less out sourcing. The hog castrator who responded for the GOP hardly mentioned the middle class but did say they could limit their wardrobe to one pair of shoes by using bread bags as shoes and can always get a job at Hardees like she did.Then she said GOP could get nothing done for last six years due to recession and obstruction by Obama. That was biggest pile of BS I have heard from the GOP in a while. 

AvailableName
AvailableName

"That’s Obama, to a tee: the hyper-partisan indulging in partisan agonistes."


Yeah, that Obama is so undeserving of his office, responding to disrespectful derision with sarcasm.

Bumper15
Bumper15

My favorite feature of the Obama SOTU speeches is watching Boehner. You know it takes every ounce of resolve he has not to roll his eyes.

Tiberius-Constitutionus
Tiberius-Constitutionus

He perfected his technique by staring into the lights whilst in his daily tanning bed time.

Jefferson1776
Jefferson1776

Fear still rules the GOP creature's mindset.

MarkVV
MarkVV

"Barack Obama is no Bill Clinton." 

Considering what the conservatives were saying about Bill Clinton, the above is a compliment.

InTheMiddle2
InTheMiddle2

Do you still need permission to share your thoughts?

FIGMO2
FIGMO2

One thing's for certain...

Barack Obama is no Bill Clinton. 

straker
straker

I Whine


You get your political information from right wing outlets that will never give Obama credit for anything, and then try to peddle them here as the Gospel truth.


No sale, sporty.

IReportYouWhine
IReportYouWhine

@straker straker, so you're telling me that the labor workforce really isn't lower than when jimmy carter was in office and the wages aren't really lower than when Reagan was in office?


Think.


about.


it.

Nobody_Knows
Nobody_Knows

@IReportYouWhine @straker


Labor work force percentage and wages for the bottom 75% or so have been trending down or stagnant for years.

It just didn't start with Obama.

Now you have the Paul Harvey and not just the Obama's fault reality. 

HeadleyLamar
HeadleyLamar

@IReportYouWhine @straker That labor work force thing might have a little to do with the baby boomers. 10,000 retire each day. 


Wages are lower. Democrats are fighting hard to raise them and the minimum wage. 



Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

For NorthAtlanta, who asked:

I've never figured out why people change their screen name.

I agree it can be annoying when overdone, but I had been "stands_for_decibels" for about five years, and had tired of the name, and changed it.

It was just a screen name, and not a new account. Thus my older posts reflect the switch.

MarkVV
MarkVV

The claimed lack of real good news about the US economy must be the reason why the President’s approval rating has gone up from 44% to 50%.

IReportYouWhine
IReportYouWhine

 That’s right, President Obama’s main theme was to declare how awesome it is to live in the wonderful new era of peace and prosperity that no one but him has noticed.


This delusion of adequacy applies to his whole description of the state of the domestic economy. We had one quarter of 5% growth, and he is declaring that it’s morning again in America. Reagan did that after five straight quarters of 7% growth.


Under Obama, unemployment is low mostly because people are withdrawing from the workforce, giving up on seeking work. Wages are stagnant and there is zero sense out in the real world that we are all living in a land of opportunity.


Yes, a little modesty would be in order. 


http://thefederalist.com/2015/01/21/obamas-state-of-the-union-delusion-everything-is-awesome/

MarkVV
MarkVV

“Obama touted the increases in U.S. oil production, but then talked about fighting climate change.”

It is sad when somebody is so doctrinal that he believes that those two statements are contradictory.

DontTread
DontTread

@MarkVV It's funny how he touts the increases in oil production when his party has done everything they could to shut oil production and refining down at the behest of their "environmentalist" base.


So oil production has not risen because of him, it's in spite of him.

Mandingo
Mandingo

Congress can't over ride a veto in 2015 or 2016. When Clinton is elected Congress can't over ride a veto in 2017, 2018, 2019 or 2020. In the mean time , they will keep on doing what they do. Win re-election and cash paychecks while right wing nuts and left wing nuts fight over crumbs that never seem to materialize.

HeadleyLamar
HeadleyLamar

Im just glad we didn't give in and go down the disastrous austerity route that has prevented Europe from recovering.


They learned that lesson the hard way and are ready to apply Obama style stimulus reforms which should work for them too. 

IReportYouWhine
IReportYouWhine

I agree, if you are in the top ten of net worth, things couldn't be better.


(So much for stealing from the rich to feed the poor, huh? "Robin Hood" my rear end.)

DawgDadII
DawgDadII

I had heard all this talk about "middle class economics" and taxing the rich to benefit the middle class, so I tuned in to hear the liar-in-chief explain what to expect and how all of this would come to pass. As the head of a decidedly middle-class family I heard NOTHING that would benefit us, only promises to veto legislation I support and vague proposals for taxation and programs that would NOT benefit the middle class, and would likely burden us further.


Obama clearly conveyed his hard-left socialist viewpoint and disdain for the people that go to work in the private sector, pay taxes, raise families, and volunteer to protect our nation, taking credit for things he had nothing to do with and citing economic and international conditions that stretch all measure of credibility. He is a master deceiver and propagandist, and he remains very dangerous.

HeadleyLamar
HeadleyLamar

@DawgDadII “At every step, we were told our goals were misguided or too ambitious; that we would crush jobs and explode deficits. Instead, we’ve seen the fastest economic growth in over a decade, our deficits cut by two-thirds, a stock market that has doubled, and health care inflation at its lowest rate in 50 years.”


- Barrack Obama


Your welcome 

Finn-McCool
Finn-McCool

@DawgDadII Ok, please list out all the Republican proposals that will benefit your middle class family.

We will wait...

HeadleyLamar
HeadleyLamar

Id have given ten bucks to see the look on Mittens face when Obama said that line.



Finn-McCool
Finn-McCool

Tax and spend liberals this...

Tax and spend liberals that...


Conservative: Oh, hey, let's give people who don't have to work some welfare and tax breaks!

Kyle_Wingfield
Kyle_Wingfield moderator

@Finn-McCool "people who don't have to work"

Who said the people who are second earners "have to" work? If they simply work for the intellectual stimulation, would you disqualify them?

There's logic neither to the proposal nor to your response to it.

kitty72
kitty72

@Kyle_Wingfield @Finn-McCool 


Wow, Kyle, you sure overshot that one. Not having to work is the 1% who seems to get all the benefit from this Congress. Welfare is good as long as you don't need it to survive then we will give you all you want because you are going to fill my election coffer. Come on.

consumedconsumer
consumedconsumer

so only Obama is suppose to bite his tongue and be the civil guy, eh? seriously, if this is the issue y'all want to talk about after that speech, the next 2 years are going to be quite painful for conservatives. An ad hoc line thrown out in response to some giddy clapping by 'the other side' and y'all have gone to pieces. Don't get it. You're just telegraphing that the dig got to you big time. 

consumedconsumer
consumedconsumer

@Kyle_Wingfield @consumedconsumer perhaps, but when someone takes the bait, sometimes you just have to go with the flow. mr. teleprompter apparently has some free style skills that folks who don't like him failed to remember. 


sounds like it was refreshing. too bad i missed it in real time. silly me, i thought the Pens and Flyers would have more fights than the SOTU. 

Tiberius-Constitutionus
Tiberius-Constitutionus

@Kyle_Wingfield @consumedconsumer Rather than taking a swipe at a brief, non substantive part of the speech, I'd be curious to get your thoughts, Kyle, as to why supply-side economics is still a good idea in light of the evidence to the contrary.  If Obama and the Dems have so destroyed the nation you claim to love, how is it that we seem to have dug ourselves out of the worst economic period since the Great Depression?

kitty72
kitty72

@Kyle_Wingfield @consumedconsumer  The Republicans didn't have to walk into that trap either, but he knew they just could not help themselves. Punked big time. :)


Can't blame Obama for having a little fun frankly. lol

Kyle_Wingfield
Kyle_Wingfield moderator

@consumedconsumer "so only Obama is suppose to bite his tongue and be the civil guy, eh?"

Well, he did spend much of the speech calling for just that. Seems like that would've been a prime moment to set an example of how he wants things to be.

Finn-McCool
Finn-McCool

We warned you it would take years to dig our way out of the hole Bush left us in when he left office and now, after getting out of it, the cons want to claim it was all due to them.


That's rich.

GMFA
GMFA

@Finn-McCool They did it by doing nothing, as history will duly note. Worst Congress ever.

Kyle_Wingfield
Kyle_Wingfield moderator

@Finn-McCool Obama's "middle class economy" has "turned the page," but the middle class apparently needs more public money to make ends meet.

Obama would expand a tax credit for day care, but do nothing for families with a stay-at-home parent.

Obama would make community college "free," but also tax people's college savings.

Obama claimed credit for ending two wars, but also asked Congress to approve an AUMF for the new war against ISIS, which he said we are winning even though most military analysts say ISIS continues to gain ground.

Obama touted the increases in U.S. oil production, but then talked about fighting climate change.

And so on.

Finn-McCool
Finn-McCool

@Kyle_Wingfield @Finn-McCool A stay at home parent needs a tax break? If a family can afford for one of the adults in the household to not work, then I would think the family isn't doing too poorly.


So, let's give them a tax break? 


Cons talk incessantly about cutting off help to people that ACTUALLY DO NEED HELP, but then want to give help to people who don't really need help. Go figure that one out.

Kyle_Wingfield
Kyle_Wingfield moderator

@Finn-McCool There are plenty of families that make do with less money because they feel strongly about it (e.g., those that home-school), and there are plenty that don't have a second earner because they can't pay the expense (e.g., a family with three kids, in which the second earner might have to bring home $45K after taxes just to cover the day-care bill). Why would we favor other families over those? If it's a matter of "needing help," means-test it the way other tax credits are means-tested.

GMFA
GMFA

@Kyle_Wingfield @Finn-McCool Fact is that the Republicans have no clue how to help the middle class, but plenty of tax breaks for corporations and people like the Koch Brothers. They want to take money off the table for Social Security but not put any taxes on over the top capital gains. Ernst says they want to help the middle class but gave no concrete ideas.