On the Recent SOTU

Nothing against President Obama, but I tried resisting the State of the Union (SOTU), but as if the Borg were assimilating me, resistance was futile. Upon reflection, below are some random notes.

For the record, I didn’t watch either of the opposing responses because, no matter the party, they don’t deserve my time. Besides, most reality shows (which I don’t watch) have more credibility than Representative Michelle Bachmann (R-MN). Nonetheless, here are some random thoughts about the event.

At both the beginning and the end, watching my representative work the center aisle demonstrated her self-centered nature. She is often critical of President Obama, yet accosted him as he entered and left – plus even asking him for three autographs.

No SOTU is loaded with details, so the detail-mongers predictably criticized the speech. Plus I challenge them to identify a SOTU that contains details.

The speech wasn’t about policy; nor was it a pep rally. The tone was about a vision of the future, but predictably, less about the actual plan on how to get there. Nonetheless, President Obama squarely put the monkey on the back of Congress.

He’s going to veto any bill with earmarks? A noble cause, but I wonder if this is do-able? By the way, budget a replacement bridge through the DOT instead of through an earmark.

With little red meat for the rabid, President Obama continues his recent triangulation mode, thus is relying on a partisan Congress to prove a point that their ideologies are more important than finding solutions.

How Congress passed the health care bill without including tort reform still amazes me. Oops, I momentarily forgot the legal lobby.

Education reform is an item that could gather bipartisan support. The major questions are twofold:  Can those who are products of an industrial age education system they praise able to create an environment for educational innovation? Are schools about to change their entrenched behavior?

Congratulations to Mr. President for continuing the time-honored tradition started by President Nixon in talking about the country’s need for energy independence.

I caught this one: President Obama said, “We are living with a legacy of deficit-spending that began almost a decade ago.” Sorry Mr. President, the deficit started its upward movement during the Ford Administration (1974-76), and has increased annually many more times than not.

What does a leaner, more efficient federal government have in common congressional ethics? Both are oxymorons.

Overall, I heard more about spending than about cutting. Interestingly, government spending should increase to stimulate growth during down times (anti-GOP), but government needs to be cut spending during times of growth (anti-Dem).

Here’s something I don’t believe either party heard – You aren’t going to get everything you want. Oh my, those February budget talks will be interesting.

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8 thoughts on “On the Recent SOTU

  1. Just a quick aside, then the full broadside. It’s more reliable to budget a bridge through earmarks. Tie it to a Social Security COLA, and it’s virtually veto-proof. Ask money for a bridge through a regular appropriation, and everybody and their brother vetoes it in favour of their own bridge. Or you negotiate – DC-speak for prostituting yourself to get a bridge.
    Okay, the full broadside. SOTU replies have been BS since they started – no argument there. And I agree that despite the “leaner meaner” statements, cuts are mighty thin on the ground. My biggest problem is the lack of commentary on the military. Everybody is screaming about domestic spending and entitlement programs, education and manufacturing. Problem is, we’ve still got two wars going on (all those of you who think Iraq is shut down, think again!), and a MESS of gear that is getting worn out FAST. Problem is, everybody keeps second-guessing what we need for the future, and as usual, are hung up on the “sexy” projects like F-22, EFVs, and Bradley replacements. The cutback people are trying to eliminate these, stating we have perfectly good gear. Problem is, our Air Force is 1970s vintage (even I got rid of my 70s vehicles!), our Army is 1980s vintage (good for Cavaliers, not for tanks and APCs), and the Marine Corps is 80s vintage upgrades of 60s vintage stuff. Ouch! F-15 wings are cracking, the Marines AA7V amtracks are BARELY bulletproof, the Bradleys have fuel and maintenance costs to make a dozen Ferraris look cheap, and the Navy’s getting stuck with not one, but TWO flavours of the same type of ship (the LCS), NEITHER one of which’s modular combat systems fully work! Military hardware is one of the few things we haven’t outsourced yet (SHH – don’t mention the Strykers), and yet everyone’s talking cutbacks. Yes, modern weapons systems are expensive – but what price do you put on an F-15 whose wing shreds in flight? What price getting your Marines safely to shore? The Dems want to massively cut the military (another phantom “peace dividend”), and the GOP wants cheaper options (the F-35, among others – a good plane, but not an air-superiority fighter). Tie the manufacture in with science programs in schools that emphasize math and science – key to many different vocations, not just defence. AND GIVE FERMILAB MONEY TO DUEL WITH CERN! (High-horse moment.) We’re surrendering science across the board. Find particle physics research – medicine, defence, nanotech, computers, materials sciences, even spaceflight tech all pull from physics. Or teach our kids how to speak Indian and Chinese – keep cutting, and they’ll be our bosses all too soon!

    • John,
      Military cutbacks is an interesting quandary. I think the majority of people would agree in replacing aging equipment … of course the double-edged sword is that the people want it to be cost efficient. On the other hand, fulfilling military procurement can be an employment boost! Thanks for the good points.

    • The problem with military equipment is all the political nonsense surrounding weapons systems. The smaller F-35 is being pushed heavily, as it will be a big export item. But current equipment can cover its’ areas of expertise, whereas the F-22, while hideously expensive, is the type of high-end superiority fighter we need, since the current one (the F-15) is literally falling apart. Ditto with bombers – everybody wants something high-tech and sexy, with export possibilities, when the likelihood of needing a cutting-edge defences penetrator is low, but we could still use a good old “bomb truck” like the venerable B-52. The Army wants tracked vehicles, but we’re far more likely to fight in quick-deployment semi-urban environments where wheels are fine, and lighter (and thus easier to transport). I won’t even go into the clusterf*ck that is the Littoral Combat Ship – that thing has more political ties than the RNC and DNC put together. The military rarely gets the best weapons – they get the best political deals. The M-16 in Vietnam is the poster child of that – it was far from the best tech, but it was issued because the politics were right. Such is life in Washington – the technicians answer to the accountants, the accountants answer to the politicians, and the politicians answer to the lobbies. Pity the PEOPLE of the US got lost in there somewhere!

      • John,
        And many forget the marketing angle of the weapon … that is selling it to other countries throughout the world. Although the GE-Rolls engine for the JSF is the alternate engine, some ‘clients’ will prefer that engine.

  2. I am neither a repub or a dem, so I didn’t watch the statements, either. I did think it was ingenious, having them all sit together. Made me laugh, actually.

    I will say, too, that the President’s joke about salmon made me laugh as well. Hahahah.

    I thought the atmosphere was odd. It wasn’t happy, and it wasn’t angry. It was…indifferent? I don’t know. I liked the 2nd half of the speech more than the 1st, though I only take it all with a grain of salt. When it comes to the government, I’ll believe it when I see it.

    • McSmall k,
      These words say a lot – only take it all with a grain of salt. When it comes to the government, I’ll believe it when I see it. …. and I agree, I appreciated the salmon info. Both funny and sad at the same time.

      Maybe the atmosphere was odd since the partisan pep rally nature was less apparent. Of course with me, outside of several statements, I wish our elected officials would do like most of us do at home – that is sit and listen.

      Nonetheless, thanks for stopping by … and of course of the work you do on your site.

  3. I just adored the “Dem-Rep-Dem-Rep” seating routine. As if that is really going to change anything. It’s like making you shake hands with the bully who’s tormenting you in school. Neither one of you mean it, and he’ll be right back on your case as soon as the teacher walks away. Maybe if several of the gallery shots hadn’t looked like coach-class airplane seating, with opponents squaring off over the common armrest…..

    • John,
      I do believe that their ‘date night’ helped change the tone, but your bully analogy is a good one. Then to top it all, off-camera, many of these people get along very well. I didn’t realize how close Ted Kennedy & Orin Hatch were until Kennedy’s passing. Thanks for the analogy.

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