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Tag: state of the union


Civility and symbolism at the State of the Union speech

This editorial will appear in Tuesday’s print edition.

When President Obama gives his State of the Union address tonight, something will be a little different: Dozens of Republicans and Democrats will be sitting with each other, not with their own party.

It’s a symbolic but nonetheless welcome gesture, one meant to help defuse the highly partisan atmosphere that has often tainted this annual speech and others when the president addresses a joint session of Congress (remember last year when Rep. Joe Wilson, R-S.C., yelled “You lie!” when Obama spoke to Congress about his health care plan).

The president’s speech is usually met with cheers, applause and even standing ovations from members of his own party and stony silence from members of the other. With legislators sitting by party, the division isn’t just apparent, it’s glaring. Only occasionally – say, when the president praises the military or makes some other “Mom and apple pie” comment – does everyone applaud, regardless of party affiliation. Read more »


Breaking the ‘duh’ meter

From MoveOn: A representative ;) public response to Obama’s energy options:

Last night over 10,000 MoveOn members participated in the group’s first real-time dial test of the President’s State of the Union Speech. By a considerable margin, the portion of the speech that got the worst response was … the reference to more nuclear power and oil drilling.

Check out the chart hyperlinked above. The left end of Democratic Party doesn’t like the proposed spending freeze or the Afghan surge, either.


Obama ticks off enviros, too

Listening to Wednesday’s State of the Union speech, I wondered how some of President Obama’s references would play with environmentalists – specifically his call for more nuclear power, “clean coal” and offshore oil drilling.

Here’s the reaction from Friends of the Earth President Erich Pica:

Obama Speech a Kick in the Gut to Environmentalists

While we welcome President Obama’s call for comprehensive climate and energy reform – as well as his focus on job-creating high-speed rail and solar power – it was alarming to hear him refer last night to a variety of dirty energy sources, including nuclear, coal, offshore oil drilling and biofuels, as clean.

President Obama’s support for all these dirty energy sources was a big win for corporate polluters and their Washington lobbyists, but it was a kick in the gut to environmentalists across the country. The President was essentially telling these Americans that their voices don’t matter.

It’s a shame that while in so many other areas President Obama is calling for an end to the influence of corporate special interests and lobbyists, when it come Read more »


Sharing the podium: Obama and Scott Brown

This editorial will appear in tomorrow’s print edition.

Meet the post-Massachusetts Obama.

In his State of the Union address Wednesday night, the president was all bipartisanship, all political unity, all transcendent American values. All because a single Republican candidate in Massachusetts has punched a hole in what had been an airtight, filibuster-proof Democratic majority in the Senate.

The address was front-loaded with Obama’s concern for “men and women who wake up with the anguish of not knowing where their next paycheck will come from” and a call for the Senate to approve a job-creation bill that has cleared the House of Representatives.

Despite the optimistic tone, Obama’s report of retirement funds that have “started” to regain “some of their value,” and of businesses “beginning to invest again” and “starting to hire again” didn’t sound like vote of a confidence in imminent economic recovery.

Persistent financial pain is one of the forces that put Scott Brown over the top last week; Obama well understands that it could cripple his administration come November if his party isn’t at least perceived as easing the anguish.
Read more »