Tuesday, January 25, 2011

State of the Union (part 1)

So.  My first comment on the State of the Union:


Seriously, this is arguably the least interesting or engaging Obama speech I have ever seen.  Whoever he fired on his writing team needs to come back, or something.

Some other things that pop out at me:

Winning the Future! This may be the single worst piece of political rhetoric ever produced.  I will do Science later to find out for sure.

There was little to no agenda.  I think this has something to do with the "laundry list" that (apparently) every previous state of the union gave and this one wasn't going to.  I'm not sure when serious discussion of policy became a boring chore better replaced with bland feel good rhetoric, but whatever, okay.

The few concrete items addressed by Obama were hilariously awful ideas (HAIs from now on)

HAI 1:  Veto everything with an earmark

I used to think the awfulness of this idea was self evident, but it appears that I was incorrect about the base competence of America once more.  Here is why earmark's are good:  They are the only effective mechanism for compromise in Washington.  Essentially, elected officials are beholden to the people who elect them.  Those people have broad political views (Conservative, Liberal, Libertarian, Marxist, whatever), but they also have direct interests (local jobs, food on their tables, access to utilities, &c).  Earmarks allow elected officials to sacrifice the broad political views they generally espouse in favor of some direct benefit to their constituency.  That way, a centrist republican can get re-elected in a highly conservative district by doing well by his constituents and voting slightly left of them (obviously this works for any political configuration).  I can think of no better incitement to compromise.  Vetoing every bill with earmarks is akin to vetoing every bill with compromises.  Also, as my friend Andrew pointed out, promising to veto bills with earmarks is roughly akin to giving everyone a veto.  Get an earmark in and you kill the bill...

HAI 2: Magical extension of social security:

I have trouble imagining that anyone truly believes that the sentiment expressed here has any relationship with the realms of the possible, foreseeable, or even vaguely real.
To put us on solid ground, we should also find a bipartisan solution to strengthen Social Security for future generations. And we must do it without putting at risk current retirees, the most vulnerable, or people with disabilities; without slashing benefits for future generations; and without subjecting Americans’ guaranteed retirement income to the whims of the stock market.
Let's list the words and word combinations which are innately impossible.

1. bipartisan
2. Social Security + future
3. "without slashing benefits for future generations" + "without putting at risk current retirees"
4. "without putting at risk" + "the most vulnerable" (BY DEFINITION... come on people)
5. That bit implying that anything to do with money could be protected from the movement of the economy

I have to say, there are more stupid things in that paragraph than there are sentences.  I bet I could come up with more stupid things in it than there are independent clauses.  That is sad.

I'll do a more cogent summary tomorrow, and make some less snarky comments (maybe not that much less snarky), but for now let's call it a generally boring speech broken up with moments of intense awfulness.

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