How refreshing to have such an erudite and honest assessment of the true state of the union, even if it wasn’t called that since Obama has only been president of the union for a little over a month.
I’ve been watching these addresses since I was a kid, and I don’t remember any other one where almost all the applause and standing ovations were bipartisan. There was only once when the Republicans pretty much unanimously sat out an ovation and two other times by my count when a majority of them did.
That’s because Obama put his plans and vision in terms that both parties could accept, even if they have different methods for accomplishing them. But once again he’s proven that he can rise above the usual politics of Washington.
In the rebuttal from Louisiana Republican Governor Bobby Jindal, he was only speaking to and for the wealthy, because he talked about Obama raising taxes even after Obama made clear that his stimulus package and his budget do not raise taxes on over 95% of us (in fact we get a tax cut, one of the things rightwing Republicans always clamor for, but can’t seem to get behind now, maybe because Obama’s cuts are for working people, not corporations and the wealthy).
Obama made it clear again and again that only if you make over a quarter million dollars a year will you see any increase in taxes, and then only to what they were before Junior’s last bone to the rich.
I have plenty of friends who make more than that, some a whole lot more. The Republicans among them don’t want any tax hike. The Democrats are split between those who don’t want a hike but know it’s necessary to cut the deficit and pay for two wars (that Junior and the Republicans began) and get the economy moving again (that tanked under Junior and the Republicans after creating the largest deficit in our history) so are willing to accept it, and those who actually want a hike because they know they are not paying their fair share.
I only made that much once in my life and ended up paying a lot of it back in taxes because I was single and didn’t own a home. Some rich people I knew tried to make me feel foolish for not finding a good accountant to get me out of paying all the taxes I did.
But I thought about the decades of driving on interstate highways, or the over four years I spent in the service with other guys who didn’t come from money, willing to sacrifice our lives for our country and the benefits I received afterwards, like going to college on the G. I. Bill, something I wouldn’t have been able to do without it, and so much more that the federal government has provided for me over my lifetime, and concluded that all the money I paid in taxes that time I was rich for a short period, was just me paying my dues for all the benefits this country has given me.
So when Jindal said Obama and the Democrats were going to raise our taxes, he obviously was talking about the less than five percent of our fellow citizens who make over 250,000 a year, and was dismissing the rest of us.
But he had already made that clear when he took what his fellow Republicans are calling a courageous stand against the stimulus bill by saying he will refuse money from it that will extend unemployment benefits for workers in his state. But he’ll take everything else. Which means he’ll be taking a little over 3.7 billion dollars from the stimulus package instead of the 3.8 the government marked for Louisiana. How brave.
And as for the media bias and the influence of Obama on the market, I woke up this morning to NPR news, supposedly “liberal” public radio, which offered one phrase from Obama’s speech about emerging stronger from these trying times and then countered with a much longer section of Jindal’s speech about how Democrats in Washington are raising our taxes and after him other rightwing Republican objections to Obama’s plans were cited!
Out of a three minute segment I’d say Obama got thirty seconds and the Republicans got two and a half minutes. And that’s the way it’s been since he took office. Once the hoopla of the inauguration was over, the media has been bending over backward to give every rightwing Republican extra time to criticize Obama’s policies and then blame him for the falling stock market.
What I want to know is how come nobody is blaming the rightwing Republicans for the falling stock market which began it’s descent under them as a result of their deregulation policies and since then has fallen every time they get negative about Obama’s economic recovery plans (when they voted against the original bank bailout, one of the steepest declines yet occurred that day, and since they voted against the stimulus package and have spent every day since dissing it).
I notice that yesterday when Obama’s budget was leaked and Bernake had some positive predictions before Congress the market rose, but I also notice that none of the rightwing Republicans were given much play in the news yesterday because they hadn’t come up with their talking points against Obama’s speech yet, since it hadn’t been fully leaked.
Obama won the election, Obama’s stimulus package passed and is law. Many Republican governors backed it and accept it, and most Republican mayors do too, because they are dealing with real world on the ground problems. The rightwing ideologues in Congress can afford to act only as obstacles to Obama’s policies because they gerrymandered districts when they were in power so that they could be insured of a “conservative” Republican voter base for their reelection. Maybe it’s time to find a fairer way to map the boundaries of Congressional districts, so that the majority of the people can have a government that fully represents them, which according to all polls shows that they reject the Republicans in Congress and back Obama and the Democrats three to one or more.