Wednesday, January 25, 2012

State of the Union

President Obama’s third State of the Union speech was pretty much what I expected it to be: a lot of ideas and proposals with a lot of the soaring rhetoric that is required for such an event, but it was also the formal kick-off of his re-election campaign. He touted the successes of his administration, each one meant as a push-back to GOP campaign talking points, specifically those from Mitt Romney; they say he’s failed to add jobs, he pointed out where the number of jobs have increased. For all their claims about how the president has “apologized” for America, he went on the American Exceptionalism sales pitch. He threw out a lot of challenges to Congress, but most of them were aimed at the voters and the remaining Republicans out on the campaign trail.

The biggest pitch was on taxes and, as he put it several times, leveling the playing field between the wealthy and the middle class.

Now, you can call this class warfare all you want. But asking a billionaire to pay at least as much as his secretary in taxes? Most Americans would call that common sense.

And the timing was perfect; this was on the day that Mitt Romney released his tax returns for 2010 and revealed that he made $20 million dollars last year and paid less than 15% in taxes. Karma smiles.

I didn’t hang around to watch the GOP response from Gov. Mitch Daniels (R-IN) or the Tea Party two cents from Herman Cain. Before he got the gig in Indiana, Mr. Daniels was the Budget Director for George W. Bush, so right there you know his credibility on fiscal policy is shot to hell.

All in all, State of the Union speeches rarely make a lot of news, and last night’s was no exception unless you were looking for the poignant moments like the president giving a bear hug to Rep. Gabby Giffords (D-AZ), who is resigning this week. The one thing that I did take away from the speech was the stark contrast between President Obama and the clown show that has been the GOP nomination process and the debates. The tone and the optimism from the president as compared to the hatred, anger, pettiness, childishness, and vitriol from the Republicans is stunning.

If the election was based on that alone, he’d win in a landslide.