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Posted by on Jan 28, 2010 in Politics, Society | 17 comments

A Scolding State of the Union

Until his peroration “to start anew, to carry the dream forward, and to strengthen our union once more,” the President spent more than an hour last night calling out everyone in the chamber, including himself, for “a difficult year.” Congressional Republicans, Democrats, even the Supreme Court came in for their share of scolding.

The unusual tone of this State of the Union came from both directions. Below each outburst of applause, there was an unprecedented hum of disapproval from stony GOP faces.

“Throughout the raucous House chamber,” the New York Times reports, “scattered boos echoed in the air.”

As the Times and Washington Post lead off with his assertion that “We face a deficit of trust,” there is Barack Obama’s acceptance of the fact that the Washington political atmosphere has turned toxic and his literal pivoting from health care to jobs and the economy as the main issue, along with a figurative shift from bipartisan outreach to bare-knuckles conflict in his political stance.

“At the beginning of the last decade, the year 2000,” he said, (noting that he was “just stating the facts”), “America had a budget surplus of over $200 billion. By the time I took office, we had a one-year deficit of over $1 trillion and projected deficits of $8 trillion over the next decade.

“Most of this was the result of not paying for two wars, two tax cuts, and an expensive prescription drug program. On top of that, the effects of the recession put a $3 trillion hole in our budget. All this was before I walked in the door…

“Now, even after paying for what we spent on my watch, we’ll still face the massive deficit we had when I took office.”

Outlining his spending freeze and other efforts at deficit reduction, the President noted that the Senate had blocked his effort to empower a bipartisan fiscal commission but promised to create one by executive order and clamp down on lobbyists who stand in the way.

The Supreme Court justices seated in front of him came in for their share of tongue-lashing for their decision last week that “reversed a century of law that I believe will open the floodgates for special interests–including foreign corporations–to spend without limit in our elections” as he promised corrective legislation.

The President finished his scolding SOTU by observing that “what frustrates the American people is a Washington where every day is Election Day…

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  • Silhouette

    The Supreme Court justices seated in front of him came in for their share of tongue-lashing for their decision last week that “reversed a century of law that I believe will open the floodgates for special interests–including foreign corporations–to spend without limit in our elections” as he promised corrective legislation.”***********I hope part of the Congressional remedy is to call out one or five of them into impeachment proceedings for gross incompetance if not outright malignancy in “interpreting” the Constitution. What they did was effectively revoke the 14th Amendment by saying noncitizens could not only influence elections, they might even be able to buy them outright. Any corporation owned in whole or in part by foreigners [including stockholders] is not a US citizen by definition. I would like to say it was just gross incompetence but the fact that five of them voted to overturn the 14th, I’m leaning towards malignancy.Either way, someones’ heads should roll..

    SCOTUS may interpret the Constitution, but may not effectively revoke any of its provisions. It is the clearest case of judicial overreach I’ve seen. To let the action go unpunished is to encourage its use in future politically stacked and prejudiced SCOTUS .

    The one thing my GOP friend was very angry about was that it was his belief [duh] that those justices not be politically bent and instead would use blind logic to reach their decisions. He is a manic anti-illegal alien promoter and was livid at the idea that now mexican nationals could just as easily buy politicians via proxies as Bin Laden et al can. I really think it was an eye opener for him on who is running his party. Really seems like an open ended and ever-more-disturbing question the deeper you look. The same people denouncing our involvement in the UN are the same people letting the darkest forces of foreign influence in the back door.

    Pretty unnerving. Then you consider how they’re now trying to downplay the recent terror-promise from Bin Laden. Thinking of 911 conspiracy theories, that shocking 180 really makes me take another look at them?
    Is/was everything pre-911 to present day just a GOP strategic stunt to get corporate agendas across?…

  • dduck12

    O is in between denial and anger, and his “scolding” speech showed it.

    • Axel Edgren


      Obama’s predecessor made Carter look like Lincoln, and your party has not made *one single movement towards moderation, self-reflection or humility* since the laughably bad 43rd administration. Two pathetic wars, no fiscal responsibility, a dumb and ideological soc. sec. reform plan – that’s all you and your crowd. Obama’s addition to the deficit was small, and you know as well as I do that McCain would have called for stimulus as well.

      Have you made any signs of actually wanting to improve upon your offerings to the American people after the rebukes in 2006 or 2008? No, you are just waiting for a chance to achieve power again, without looking ahead. Rather than attract new voters, you rely on economic downturns and periodical swings of the pendulum coupled with conscious sabotage of the legislation process to make gains. You don’t seek to earn power, because it’s obvious you think you are *entitled* to it, the way left-wing professors seem to think they consider their views to be some kind of norm for academia.

      You are a more destructive and cowardly minority than democrats ever where and you show no signs of being more useful as a hypothetical majority than you were in 2000-2006. You are still the party that admired its reflection itself in W’s shiny boots. When you try to be “modern”, you bring Palin, Jindal and Steele onto the field. You could always try out vaudeville next.

      The GOP of today is the same as the one that brought the US into this fiscal, economic and political slump, and Obama belongs to the part of the DNC that didn’t tag along for the insanity.

      A commenter like you does not deserve something as awesome as a Duckman avatar. Howard the Duck or Duck Dodgers, maybe.

      • TheMagicalSkyFather

        dduck12 is not a Republican and not a supporter of doofus in any way. I may disagree with his opinion of the speech but he is not a right wing apologist. Just a rather funny commenter that sometimes falls on the left and sometimes the right with his opinions…in other words he is a moderate. We have plenty of those apologists around to kick, and I spend a good amount of time doing so, but dduck12 is not an ideologue just opinionated like me.

        • dduck12

          but dduck12 is not an ideologue just opinionated like me.”

          I am happy to join your group. I know they won’t try to make fun, or say you are unworthy of, your icon.

  • Silhouette

    How about “daffy duck”?…lol

    “Daffy”: –adjective, -fi?er, -fi?est. Informal. silly; weak-minded; crazy.

  • DLS

    “O is in between denial and anger”

    He did a good job overall in the speech. There wasn’t that much scolding; did anyone really take what he said to heart? (Talk about children looking at their federal government and President like a parent!)

    He didn’t neglect Bush-bashing, and tried off-loading most of the responsibility for fiscal problems on his predecessors, and I was amused by how he said he was willing to do what was needed to address the problems that occurred during his past year in office, and it’s Congress’s turn (including that bipartisan panel set up to provide political cover for tax increases; nobody intelligent believes entitlement reform is going to happen until and unless it actually happens) to take care of the rest. (Never mind that spending under Obama and the Dems is the greatest since World War II and it dwarfs anything Bush and the GOP did.) The freeze is a gimmick (while lefty children are irrationally angry about it, at the same time!), and doesn’t even take effect until after another year (of monstrous spending, and more likely misspending).

    Whining about the Supreme Court defense of the constitutionally protected right to free speech (which set the corporation-haters aflame) was a detraction, as was the loserish expressed desire to find ways with Congress to subvert it, and try to infringe on free speech rights nevertheless. (The smarter lefties are also probably angry that it was an anti-activist ruling, as they demand activism from the judiciary.)

    Also earning a demerit was the blind insistence on “proceeding” with health care “reform” (though trying to save face is understandable), and the silliness about insisting on what the smarter public rejected, the seeking of economy-crippling silly environmentalist-politics-based (misuse of “science,” again) “climate change” energy legislation.

    Now we have to see what Congress as well as this administration does. Will they keep pushing for the worst things, will there be more massive mis-spending, will they defy the mainstream public as well as logic and propriety and sanity with some of what they are seeking, as they have been doing for a year?

    Prior to the speech, I listened to various radio stations to listen to commentary ahead of time, and on one (a local channel) one announcer was noting aloud that whereas years ago Bill Clinton had been our most corrupt and worst president ever, Obama and the Dems in Congress (which have tainted Obama’s first year badly, especially the lib Dems in the House; he tainted himself by aligning with them on things like the “climate” legislation, speaking of “urgency” to rush to pass bad legislation, and so on) have made people now sometimes wonder if we wouldn’t be better with Bill Clinton back in the White House.

    Hopefully Obama’s speech ameliorated some of the concern. (Scolding the children? That’s their problem.)

  • DLS

    “Obama’s addition to the deficit was small”


    That reminds me of RFK, Jr., talking about the new tax being levied on banks. (The banks who took TARP money said they paid it back already, with interest. The tax falls on banks that never took TARP money. The name of the tax, “Fiscal Crisis Responsbility Fee,” is an appeal to the trash of society.)

    He called it a “tiny, tiny tax.”

    What Obama has done this year has not been a “tiny, tiny” or merely a “small” addition to the deficit.

    “Mr. Obama’s major contribution to deficits has been a record spending spree. In 2007, before the recession, federal expenditures reached $2.73 trillion. By 2009 expenditures had climbed to $3.52 trillion. In 2009 alone, overall federal spending rose 18%, or $536 billion. Throw in a $65 billion reduction in debt service costs due to low interest rates, and the overall spending increase was 22%.

    In one year.

    CBO confirms that Democrats have taken federal spending to a new and higher plateau: 24.7% of GDP in 2009, 24.1% this year, and back to an estimated 24.3% in 2011. The modern historical average is about 20.5%, and less than that if you exclude the Reagan defense buildup of the 1980s that helped to win the Cold War and let Bill Clinton reduce defense spending to 3% of GDP in the 1990s.”'s_Most_Popular

  • dduck12

    Thank you all. Like the dentist told me during root canal, “it won’t hurt for much longer”. I see i hit a liberal root that like O is between denial and anger.
    P.S. all the ducks are aligned against you, so quack off.

  • DLS

    “root canal”

    Obama used that analogy once in his address. He also mentioned the bipartisan panel he wants to have formed to make the really tough decisions about most of the fiscal mess we’re in (he off-loaded it from him to Congress, in other words). And that’s a warning. As with root canal work, get ready — for more taxes, coming perhaps as early as next year (after the need for them is established after elections in November).

  • jchem

    Scolding? Maybe last night, but today is a new day:

    Some lobbyists say they are extremely frustrated with the White House for criticizing them and then seeking their feedback. Others note that Democrats on Capitol Hill constantly urge them to make political donations. One lobbyist said, “Bash lobbyists, then reach out to us. Bash lobbyists [while] I have received four Democratic invitations for fundraisers.”

    • ProfElwood

      One lobbyist said, “Bash lobbyists, then reach out to us. Bash lobbyists [while] I have received four Democratic invitations for fundraisers.”

      And again, The Onion proves that it isn’t satire, it’s prophecy!

      • dduck12

        The Onion proves that it isn’t satire, it’s prophecy!’

        Not as good as MouseLand (measured by Laughs per Minute: LPM), but very funny.

        Thanks Prof.

      • jchem

        that is pure awesome Prof.

        “If they don’t like the legislation that a politician is passing then they need to find a different politician who will do what they want and accept tens of millions of dollars to fall in line with the lobbyists”

  • DLS

    “Some lobbyists say they are extremely frustrated with the White House for criticizing them and then seeking their feedback.”

    I wonder, too, how the “banksters” (to use Thom Hartmann’s jewel of a term) feel about the new tax.

  • NewThoughts

    2010-01-30 Was Obama offering a deal on Gays in the Military?

    I thought it was odd during the State of the Union address that after lot of talk about “lets govern together” with the Republicans, Obama turned around 180 degrees and came out strongly for gays in the military. Now I think that he was offering this deal to buy a few more votes for health care reform:

    “Vote for Health Care Reform
    and I will agree to keep gays out of the military for as long as I remain President.”

    Obama would take heat from some fellow Democrats, but he has never been a strong gay advocate.

    Enough Republicans might feel more strongly about that issue than about stopping health reform. And Obama was making it clear (with a threat) that this is the only alternative those Republicans have to keep the gays out.

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