state of the union

Ok, I’m going to give liveblogging the state of the union address a crack.  Folding laundry at the same time…

How rare is it not to begin with “the state of the union is strong?”

Mention of “those who were already facing poverty” and “the challenges of American families” in the first few minutes.

Immediately points out that the problems are not new since his presidency. “Change has not come fast enough.”

Ok, here it is: “Despite our hardships, our union is strong.”

Boo, banks.  Yay tax cuts.  Yay recovery act.

Need a new jobs bill.  Yes we do.   I’m really skeptical about the small business job creation tax cut.  Infrastructure, high speed rail.  Ok.

Some red meat language about the need for financial reform, and how the lobbyists are trying to kill it.  We’ve already agreed that the banks are an easy target, right.

Energy discussion.  Interesting to start off with the parts that the R’s like the most — nuclear power plants, additional drilling — and then move to comprehensive climate change.

Goal of doubling exports over the next five years!  Wow — not clear how we do this.   Seek new markets.  Are we going to get the Chinese to allow the dollar to fall against the Yuan?

“best anti-poverty program is a world-class education.”

Revitalize community colleges — hey, that’s the bill my colleagues have  been working on (SAFRA).  $10k tax credit for 4 years of colleges — wonder if that is supposed to be refundable.  Capping loan repayment — that’s a good idea, because loans are on average a good investment, but they’re a lot more risky than generally acknowledged.

9:43 and he finally mentioned health insurance reform.

Wow, Michelle’s smile is tight.

Good strong language on health care.  Talks about what it does — vast improvement over the status quo.

Switching over to talk about deficits.  Points out the surplus in 2000.   Deficit caused by two wars, two tax cuts, and the prescription drug benefits.

Threatens a veto to enforce spending caps.  The claim is this is to offset the increased deficit since start of Obama administration.  Repeats call to extend middle class tax cuts, cancel others.  Bipartisan spending commission.  PayGo.  Freeze won’t start until next year.

“common sense — a novel idea.”  A bit snarky here.  I wonder how that plays to the public.

Campaign finance reform. Earmark reform.  “Reform how we work together.”

Stop the holds on nominations.  That would be good.  Republicans can’t just keep saying no, need to share responsibility of governing.

Somewhat awkward pivot to national security.  All our troops are coming home from Iraq.  Didn’t  hear a date there.  Support troops when they return.

Arms control, disarmament.  G-20.  Bioterrorism. This is important stuff, but the rhetoric is pretty dull.  Is he losing people?  Helping the people of Haiti rebuild.

Civil rights division that actually does something.  End don’t ask don’t tell.  Enforce equal pay laws. Good stuff, but I missed the transition — why is this coming after the national security stuff?  immigration reform. This is feeling like a bit of an afterthought.

I like the content, but think it dragged too long.  Need to see what’s actually in the budget next week.

David Brooks seems to like it, which is probably a bad sign.  “General tone of moderation.”  But I just don’t see the R’s giving an inch.

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