Saturday, January 29, 2011

Raw Hands Applaud Obama's State of the Union Address

A Critical Overview of the Peculiarities of the State of the Union
According to ABC News, the president was "interrupted" 79 times by applause during the State of the Union Address (SOTU), but there were probably more than 79 episodes of applause since one NuPo correspondent counted about 50 in a half hour. The president usually wasn't "interrupted" by applause; he more or less paused expectantly and the audience clapped; the exchange was sort of like a dance in which Obama was the leading partner, who cued audience members as to the next move; and they in return, cued him to start speaking again as their applause died down.

Frequently, the applause lasted longer than Obama's actual statements. It was almost as if Democrat audience members thought the applause would somehow make his statements more true.

The whole ordeal seemed like a performance for those who like the romance side of politics. Indeed, political speeches are often frilly, lacy things done for ornamentation that are primarily concerned with pretty rhetoric and ideals rather than facts or reality.

Obama sounded like he was crying wolf when repeated a campaign promise that he'd remove earmarks from legislation--something he hasn't done at all his first two years in office. During the stimulus debates his defenders even suggested that earmarks were a necessary evil. Indeed, earmarks help monster bills get passed through Congress and thus help advance the progressive (agressive?) agenda.

Near the beginning of the speech, Obama said of the recently passed Healthcare Bill:
If you have ideas about how to improve this law by making care better or more affordable, I am eager to work with you. We can start right now by correcting a flaw in the legislation that has placed an unnecessary bookkeeping burden on small businesses.
One small business owner told WILK's Sue Henry that complying with the Obamacare regulations cost him $10,000 and 100 hours. But Obama's "offering" to reduce these burdens seems a little ridiculous. It's like having someone steal your wallet and then promise to give you back some of its contents. Economist Steven Landsford in his book More Sex Is Safer Sex notes that state governors do the same thing when they support debilitating regulations, and then act like a hero when they give certain persons or companies breaks on them. It's amazing the mind games politicians play with people to make them dependent upon them.

As a point of local interest, Obama explained that it was due to the American Dream that even "a working class kid from Scranton" (Joe Biden) could become Vice President. I'm not sure whether that was more of a compliment to Biden or an indirect insult to Scranton. :-D

There was, of course, the part where Obama joked chummily about public discontentment with TSA's aggressive pat-downs:
"Within 25 years, our goal is to give 80 percent of Americans access to high-speed rail. (Applause.) This could allow you to go places in half the time it takes to travel by car. For some trips, it will be faster than flying — without the pat-down."
The implication is that angst over TSA is overblown, which it isn't.

Finally, a refreshing point in the speech was at the closing, when he extolled Americans' can-do spirit. This was worded in a collectivist way, suggestive of a sort of hippie commune menatality, but was nonetheless refreshing.

Complete Speech

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